What is AORC?

The African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) is the resource and archive centre of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) situated at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus.

To be a Centre of excellence in Ombudsman studies and practice, and in providing support to the Ombudsman institution in Africa

To support AOMA by promoting Ombudsmanship; developing capacity and professionalism within the Ombudsman institution and generating quality knowledge and information in furtherance of good governance, the rule of law, and human rights in Africa


The AORC seeks to offer:
A responsive, efficient and professional service to all AOMA members; and.
Equality, impartiality, human dignity, accountability, integrity, transparency, justice and fairness.

Article 12(2) of the Constitution of AOMA provides for the establishment of the African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC). The mandate of the AORC is to promote the study of the activities, obligations and problems of Ombudsman institutions in Africa through research, training, publications and dissemination of information.

Aim of AORC
The aim of the African Ombudsman Association Research Centre serves as a focal point for Ombudsman offices in Africa, by coordinating their activities and supporting them with the provision of information and training, and acting as a point of liaison with all participants involved in enhancing corporate governance in Africa.


The AORC, therefore, is the research, analysis and training wing of the AOMA and its primary role is to:

  • Promote the study of the activities, obligations and problems of Ombudsman institutions in Africa;
  • Organize training, seminars and short courses on special issues relating to the work of the Ombudsman
  • Establish standing committees for research and documentation on issues relating to the Ombudsman field, human rights and public administration in general;
  • Publication of occasional papers, Ombudsman profiles and a journal promoting the development of Ombudsman activities;
  • Distribution and exchange of documents;
  • Catalogue, store and disseminate relevant information concerning the Ombudsman institutions including books, periodicals, reports, court cases, speeches, media responses, annual reports, etc.

AORC’s mandate is also informed by the MOU between the PPSA and the UKZN by which AORC implements the RICA model:

  • Research: into the history; processes; best practices; trends; ethics; and effectiveness of the Ombudsman institution. Research aims not only to enhance understanding of the philosophical underpinnings and innovations of African Ombudsman institutions but also to glean and share practical best practices.

  • Information: comprises a communication strategy to assist and inform AOMA members and also to increase awareness amongst regional, continental and international bodies as well as the public, civil society and media about the value of the Ombudsman institution. This includes Best Practice Briefs developed from research, periodic newsletters, a robust website and social media presence.

  • Capacity building: offers training as the key component. This includes continuous professional development, guidelines for basic Ombudsman structural and operational standards, and, eventually courses of study accredited by the UKZN from the paralegal to masters level. Capacity-building also entails exchange study programs; facilitation of meetings and conferences if directly related to deliverables; membership and networking forums; consultancy services (for establishing Ombudsman offices and other challenges); and encouraging mutual understanding and assistance by and amongst Ombudsman.

  • Advocacy: includes outreach to promote the Ombudsman concept and development; and, advocacy for the independence, effective structure and adequate resources for Ombudsman offices. In particular, activities of both AOMA and AORC aim to entrench links between local Ombudsman institutions with regional, multi-lateral and global human rights institutions such as the UN, World Bank, African Development Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions and the International Ombudsman Institute.

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