The University of Washington (UW) has been conducting research and training in Kenya for over 25 years. UW faculty, staff and students have worked closely with Kenyan colleagues and institutions to further public health and medical improvements in Kenya through the integration of research, education and service. Over time the UW’s activities in Kenya have grown in size and complexity. Millions of U.S. federal and non-federal research dollars awarded to the UW have been used to run complex research studies which require a multitude of processes including purchasing equipment and supplies, and hiring staff. UW central administration encouraged leadership in the Department of Global Health to establish a legal UW presence in Kenya that would ensure compliance with UW, State, Federal and Kenyan law. To achieve this goal, the UW central administration, the Department of Global Health, and Kenyan colleagues combined efforts to establish an NGO, known as UW-Kenya, to serve as a legal representation of the UW’s activities.
Since its establishment in July 2011 UW-Kenya has been working closely with the UW’s central and departmental administrators, UW faculty, and Kenyan colleagues to slowly “roll in” existing projects under its administrative umbrella. In addition to legal compliance, an enormous amount of work is invested in administering a field study in this resource-limited setting. UW-Kenya supports Project Offices by offering training in computerized accounting and financial internal controls, and providing feedback to Project Offices on how to improvement the financial management of their operations. Ultimately, UW-Kenya hopes to also serve as a centralizing body and facilitate coordination among the many UW research activities that are being conducted in Kenya.
The main objectives of UW-Kenya are:
- To ensure UW’s research and training activities in Kenya operate in compliance with UW regulations, and State, Federal and Kenyan law.
- To strengthen and support Project Offices to standardize operations policies and procedures to be able to maintain an efficient and compliant computerized financial management system with frequent review of internal processes, fiscal monitoring and external auditing.
- To transfer ownership of assets held in Kenya from individuals to UW-Kenya
- To hire project personnel in accordance with Kenyan law who are unable to be hired through a subcontract with the partner institution
- To route Field Advances through UW-Kenya bank accounts and avoid the need for UW faculty and staff to accept field advances to their personal bank accounts.
- To apply for and get exemption from paying VAT and customs and import duties mostly on procurement from within the country or from importation of equipment/ vehicles into the country.
- Facilitate applying for work permits for UW-Kenya personnel working in Kenya.
- To assist in any legal matters through the legal counsel at UW and their appointed fee-based legal counsel in Kenya that arise for the various projects being conducted in Kenya.