Wednesday, March 30, 2011

About being an NGO in Peru

There really aren’t that many steps involved in becoming a legal NGO (non-governmental organization) in Peru. The trick is to get each of them accomplished within a reasonable amount of time and effort…something that’s easier said than done.

An NGO begins with “el libro de actas” - the book of minutes/records/acts. The primary purpose of this book is to record minutes of each meeting, but it also contains the organization’s constitution plus any official documents relating to the organization’s activity. Pages 2 – 7 of Promesa Peru Chiclayo’s book contain our constitution, spelling out in detail who we are, what we intend to do and how we will do it. The 1st page is reserved for a statement by a notary decreeing that we have met all legal requirements.

Following the notary’s okay the next step is to register at SUNARP. In our case our application was initially rejected because we weren’t specific enough about what we wanted to do, which is why we ended up with a 6 page constitution. Contrast that with the one page necessary to register Promesa Peru Inc. as a corporation in the state of Wisconsin. The rejection meant starting the process over again…drafting a new constitution, getting a notary’s approval and resubmitting to SUNARP. And each step requires the fee be paid again. The document in the photo conveying legal status (document numbers and individual names have been deleted) on us seems so simple when compared to all of the time, effort and expense to get it.

A final step, registering with SUNAT and parallel agencies is not obligatory as I understand it, but carries with it a tax exempt status which would allow us to receive donations of physical property from outside Peru without paying a tariff. Several of our board members are sorting through the regulations to see if registering with SUNAT would be worth the effort and expense.

Now that we’re a legal entity throughout Peru, there’s nothing left to do but help people…right? Well…it’s not that simple. Technically before we can consider sponsoring a project we need to receive a formal proposal, similar to the one we were given by the director of the Jorge Chàvez Dartnell School in Monte Hermoso.

At the conclusion of a project we are required to receive for our records an official document from the organization we have helped acknowledging our assistance. This example document is signed by all three school directors at the school in Collique Alto and recognizes the school supplies recently given to students.

As we become better known in the area there is no shortage of proposals coming to us. In fact this morning Maribel and I were invited to visit a school to learn about several projects they would like to implement. We need to discuss this situation with all of our board members, but Maribel and I are inclined to pass on this one. Perhaps in a future entry we’ll discuss the school and why we don’t feel it is a fit for us.



  1. Hola Tom, soy una narradora peruana. El 3 de abril comentare en Tarragona (España) mi ultima novela "Moby Dick en Cabo Blanco" que recrea la estadia de Hemingway en esa caleta del norte de Peru.
    Acabo de ver tus fotos tomada en el Cabo Fishing Club. Son muy buenas! Queria pedirte permiso para proyectarlas (dos) como marco de fondo en mi conferencia. Seria posible? Por supuesto, mencionando los creditos del fotografo (que nombre debo consignar)?
    Quedo a la espera de tu amable respueata.
    Irma del Aguila Peralta (

  2. Hola Irma...Maribel has responded to you via email. Feel free to use the photos.