Find out about groups of like-minded individuals who have formed associations that are active throughout Zambia. The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) is the governing body of football in Zambia is an example of a national association. Some of these groups listed here include Corporate Heelz, Zambia Motor Sports Association and Zambia Sports Fishing Association. Any group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose, ranging from social to business and usually meant to be a continuing organization. It can be formal or it can be a collection of people without structure. An association is not a legally-established corporation or a partnership.
National associations are formed to fill a gap that might be identified as a collective voice. National policies are not developed or influenced by a single organisation, hence the need for the formation of national associations. The coordination of the sector helps prohibit the government from being able to handle their affairs.
National associations are country-based membership networks whose main objective is to represent the collective interests of members and the not-for-profit community more generally. They play a critical part in bringing the sector together. They exist to strengthen the voluntary sector; create an enabling environment for civil society; convene the sector; serve the needs of civil society organisations, and advocate on behalf of the sector on specific industry-wide issues.
As representatives of the civil society community at a national level, national associations serve as vehicles for a constructive and coordinated voice for civil society. They are well placed to play the role of interlocutor between governments and civil society and are in a position of strength to influence public policy.
National associations generally play a lead role in addressing issues that have a reverberating impact on the sector as a whole (e.g. not-for-profit legislation). In issues that are more specific to a sub-sector (e.g. children’s rights), national associations play more of a facilitating role by providing a forum for members with similar interests to collaborate, and by supporting member initiatives.
Why are national associations set up?
There are a number of motivations to establish a national association. Some of these may include:
The need to establish a national association varies from country to country. It may be civil society leaders responding to favourable conditions, or civil society leaders wishing to protect the sector from external threats, or it may be in response to a request from a donor or government; or some combination of these factors.
Regardless of the specific motivation, the goals behind the establishment of a national association are likely to include advancing citizen participation and opening up spaces for civil society engagement. In some countries this is the sole mission, while in others it is linked to other goals such as ending poverty or promoting democratisation.