How to register an orphanage in Cameroon


A Non – Governmental Organization (NGO) simply put means an organization that has no affiliation to the government and which exists to help orphans or provide educational, scientific, religious and artistic assistance to members of the needy. This article will focus on how to register an orphanage in Cameroon and it is important we define what is an orphanage before delving into orphanage registration proper?

An orphanage is a home where children with no known or responsible guardians willing to take care of them are kept. The orphanage helps to provide a family-like environment for these children. Orphanages also play major roles in nurturing children and assist in putting them up for adoption in the proper ways. An orphanage is a non-profit organization. It should not be set up with the intention of making money. It should be set up with the sole aim of catering for needy and vulnerable children. Orphanages may be funded by the United Nations agencies, corporations or any individual donors, and the donations are used to support their costs and humanitarian activities of the organization.


Orphanage registration procedure in Cameroon is complex but surmountable. The steps on orphanage registration in Cameroon are almost the same as registering an organization or any other charitable foundation in Cameroon. However, the promoters must further obtain a provisional approval to enable them commence operation of the orphanage and later a final approval.

How to register an orphanage in Cameroon and requirement can be summarized as follows and must be in conformity with prescriptions of Article 7 of Law No 90/053 of 19/12/90 relating to the creation and functioning of associations in Cameroon.

  1. Reserve a name for the proposed orphanage.
  2. Three copies of Applicant’s constitution of the orphanage.
  3. Three copies of the application letter signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the body
  4. Extract of the Minutes of the general meeting appointing the trustees of the orphanage, listing all members present, members position of responsibility, members voting pattern, members term of office.
  5. National Id card or passport data pages of the Trustees
  6. Residential Addresses, phone number and Signature of the Trustees on the Application form, constitution and minutes of meeting.
  7. Extract of the Minutes of the meeting where the special clause rule was adopted into the constitution of the organization; signed by Secretary and Chairman.


Having discussed on how to register an orphanage in Cameroon, there is need to proceed and secure a provisional approval to enable the promoters operate the orphanage in conformity to Decree No 75/723 of 19th November 1975 on the organization of the Ministry of Social Affair. The provisional approval will be given after a study of the following dossier comprising of;

  1. A stamped application
  2. Non conviction certificate of the Director of the orphanage not less than 3 months from the date of issue.
  3. Medical certificate of the Director of the orphanage
  4. A report showing the nature, content and organization of the activities envisage.
  5. Plans and estimated costs of the building approved by the competent services of the Ministry of construction.
  6. Internal draft rules and regulations of the orphanage
  7. An attestation showing whether the premises belong to the promoter, rented or given free.

This provisional approval or permission enables the promoter to commence work in case he/she has not yet gotten a suitable building for the orphanage. It is interesting to note that 60% of orphanages in Cameroon operate with is approval.


The Final approval concludes the process of how to register an orphanage in Cameroon . The permits authorizes the  effective opening of the orphanage. However, to obtain this approval, the promoter must constitute a dossier comprising of;

  1. A report on the state of the premises established by the competent services of the ministry of construction
  2. Draft annual budget for running of the orphanage
  3. A list of administrative and technical personnel
  4. A bank receipt showing that one quarter of the annual expenses is deposited in the name of the orphanage
  5. An appraisal made by the ministry of Social Welfare on the specialized equipment and social organization.
  6. A report on sanitary situation of the environment submitted by the ministry of public health.
  7. An attestation of fire insurance
  8. A report given a total appraisal of the promoter’s realization, prepared by the head of the competent external service of the Ministry of Social Affair.

In conclusion, it is worthy of note that due to the charitable purpose of orphanages, some incentives are statutorily accrued to such organization.

First, tax incentives are granted to orphanages in form of exemption from most forms of taxes i.e. no tax may be levied on any money paid to an orphanage such as donations, aids and grants. Orphanages are also exempt from payment of import duty on certain goods meant for charitable or humanitarian purposes as approved by the Minister of Finance.

Second, registration of an orphanages or charitable foundation establishes trust between the public and the organizations, which encourages the public to support the cause of the orphanage through donations, foreign aid and grants.

The cost of registering an orphanages or charitable foundation in Cameroon will be differed on a case-by-case basis and the roles of any lawyers assisting to incorporate such organization would take in completing the entire process.

Above all, the procedure on how to register an orphanage in Cameroon is tedious, and engaging the services of an expert for such incorporation is most advised.

Article By Bar: Mafany victor Ngando

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Kinsmen Advocates Law Firm