Registration as a PVO / Trust

HIV and Health CSOs need to be legally registered as a Non–Governmental Organization with the government of Zimbabwe under the Private Voluntary Organizations Act 5:17 ZAN registered as a PVO in 1994 and the registration credentials are (PVO WO 5/94). To comply with registration procedures; CSOs need to have a mission statement and goals that clearly outline its mandate and these are enshrined in the organization’s constitution, strategic documents and policy documents and frameworks namely the Board Charter, CSO Constitution, Code of Conduct, Decentralization Policy (if relevant), Membership Policy, Human Resources Policy, Finance and Procedures Manual.

Guidelines to register as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Private Voluntary Organization (PVO) in Zimbabwe

Non-Governmental Organizations in Zimbabwe are registered as either a private voluntary organization (PVO) or a Trust. PVOs are registers under the Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare. Trusts are registered under the Ministry of Justices through the Deeds Office. For Trusts organizations have to engage the services of a lawyer who assists in drafting a Notarial Deed of Trust which the lawyer submits to the Deeds office. PVOs are registered in terms of the Private Voluntary Organization Act (PVO, ACT), with the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare.

For easy reference for the registration process, ZAN has produced the following guidelines for organizations that want to register as PVOs. It is our hope that the following guidelines will provide clearer information on the registration process.

When applying for registrations as a PVO, bring the following with you:

  1. A draft constitution
  2. Detailed CVs of all Board Members (Chairperson, Vice- Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary)
  3. Legal Notice advertised in any of the national papers.

Step by Step:

  1. Application for registration as a PVO should be made through a District Social Welfare Office.
  2. A representative from the organization must, personally, go to the local District Social Welfare Office and present the application for the registration as a PVO.
  3. The organization should also request for a checklist form, to ensure that the constitution of the organization includes all the required clauses.
  4. Any further assistance in respect of establishing a PVO should be obtained from the District Social Welfare Office.
  5. The District Social Welfare Office should confirm in writing that the organization intending to register as a PVO has a constitution that is aligned to the PVO ACT requirements.
  6. The organization is obliged to advertise a legal notice in any national/regional paper that it intends to be registered as a PVO.


  1. After submitting the organization’s draft constitution; the District Social Welfare Office will review the constitution and advise the applicant accordingly. If the draft is satisfactory, the District Social Welfare Office will request for 18 copies of the constitution.
  2. In the event that the organization constitution is not aligned to the PVO ACT; the District Social Welfare Office is to advise the applicant on the relevant amendments and provide a checklist to be used as a guide.


  1. The Application Form (1 copy only)
  2. Constitution (18 copies)
  3. Detailed CVs of all Board members (4 copies)
  4. The local District Social Welfare Office will acknowledge receiving the application and open a pending file and give the applicant a reference number. The local District Social Welfare Office will then submit the application to the provincial social Welfare Office (PSWO), which will check the application for abnormalities.
  5. In case of discrepancies, the PSWO will advise the District Social Welfare Office, which will contact the applicant.
  6. In case of no discrepancies, the PSWO will submit the full application to the registrar of PVOs.

Registration Process:

  • The decision to register all PVOs lies with the relevant Private Voluntary Organization Board.
  • The Board consists of the following 9 representatives: PVO Board comprises of:
  • A legal advisor from the Ministry of Justice
  • A representative from the Ministry of Health
  • A representative from the Ministry of Finance
  • A representative from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
  • A representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • A representative from the Ministry responsible for cooperatives
  • 5 representatives from the umbrella body

NB: The successful applicant will receive the information through the local District Social Welfare Office and a certificate of registration.


A registered PVO has an obligation to:

  • Yearly submit Audited Accounts (by a registered public auditor)
  • Yearly submit an Annual Report of activities.

NB: If the PVO fails to do so, the registrar of PVOs can de-register the PVO, if the organisation is in arrears 3 years and above. NB: Many organizations engage lawyers and business consultants to produce a constitution. The problem with is that; many times the lawyers or consultants are not constitutional experts on issues concerning NGOs. Often an application is rejected, due to the fact that the constitution is irrelevant or too commercial to be registered as a PVO. Normally District Social Welfare Office advises applicants to consult with a social worker, who will advise on constitutional issues.

For any problem, clarity, queries or further questions on how to register as a PVO, please contact:


See also