The BioGuinea Foundation is an independent and non-governmental institution registered in the United Kingdom and headquartered in Bissau.
The Foundation operates under:
- A Protocol with the Government of Guinea Bissau
- Charity regulations of the United Kingdom
- A memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation Board of Directors and the Donors’ Circle.
The General Assembly is the highest level of governance of the Foundation. It consists of permanently appointed Members who have the responsibility to monitor the operations of the Board of Directors. The General Assembly is uniquely authorized under English and Welsh law to dismiss Directors or liquidate the Foundation. The General Assembly meets at least once every year to be briefed on the status of the Foundation by the Board of Directors and Executive Secretariate and take decisions as required.
The Board of Directors is responsible for setting policy, ensuring fiscal rigor, approving annual workplans and budgets, providing annual reports to the UK Charity Commission and backstopping the Executive Secretariat. Directors (or Trustees) are elected for 3-year terms which can be renewed only once before having to step down for at least a year. The Board meets at least twice annually although during the COVID pandemic meetings are held virtually every quarter. The Board receives valuable guidance from both the Advisory Council and the Donors’ Circle. Board members are selected to ensure broad technical skills and diversity in background.
The Advisory Council is an informal consultative body consisting of a broad spectrum of local stakeholders including Government, NGOs and Communities as well as Donors and the National Parks Authority (IBAP). The Advisory Council meets at the annual IBAP consultative meeting.
The Donors’ Circle is a forum for the Foundation’s principal funders. It receives an annual briefing from the Executive Secretariat and focuses on harmonizing and coordinating the approaches of the various funding institutions to strengthen efficiency and effectiveness. It provides critical guidance to the Board and Executive Secretariate on new funding opportunities and, under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Board of Directors, nominates an individual to serve on the Board of Directors.
The Grant Review Committee is an organ of the Board of Directors. It works closely with the Executive Secretariat to assess the quality and pertinence of grant requests and provide recommendations to the Board concerning the allocation of grant funds.
The Investment Committee is also an organ of the Board of Directors. It provides guidance to the Board concerning the structure and performance of the Foundation’s investment portfolio. It receives and analyses performance reports from the Foundation’s investment managers and keeps the Board informed on the status of the Foundation’s endowment fund and makes recommendations to the Board concerning potential modifications to the portfolio and/or its management.
The Executive Secretariat, headed by the Executive Secretary and headquartered in Bissau, is the main interface of the Foundation with the public, the Government of Guinea Bissau, and the Foundation’s grantees. It is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, liaising with Donors, and ensuring the smooth operation of the Foundation’s on-the-ground operations.