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Partnerships the way to go for NGOs

Fri, 2 June 2017 15:06
by Kelvin Chiringa

Amidst dwindling donor funding and inexperience in drafting accountability reports by European standards, smaller Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been advised to consider partnering with bigger NGOs.

This was said by the European Union Delegation’s Press Officer Susan Lewis ahead of a one million Euro worth of a European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDH) fund. The fund’s disbursement to Namibian NGOs was announced late last year by the European Union ambassador to Namibia Jana Hybaskova yet information coming from her offi ce has it that allocations have not started yet.

However, the ambassador had tersely warned that civic organisations and NGOs whose accountability reports are not in conformity to the EU standards would be elbowed out. In that regard, Lewis exclusively told The Villager that NGOs without proper accounta-bility experience should consider amalgamating with well-established and more pro-fessionally run NGOS to gain experience as far as the EU accountability model is con-cerned.

“Nothing has been done yet with regards to that fund (EIDH) but we will have to see what happens then you will have something to report about. Smaller NGOs have to consider partnering with bigger NGOs in order to learn the EU standards,” she said when visited to her officer by this publication.

This seems to be a turn-around from the EU offi ce as last year the ambassador had pacified fears by saying that officials would be tasked to teach on how this EU standard of accountability is carried out.

“Those who will not be able to submit the concept notes properly will not get money, I know it’s harsh and it will be very tough for you, yet we will be teaching you so that you will be able to keep asking for European money,” the EU ambassador to Namibia was quoted by The Villager as saying late August of last year.

The project was aimed at teaching at least 50 Namibian Civic Society Organisations to be able to understand this EU standard yet some of them were already frowning at this advice. A number of NGOs have closed down or scaled down staff due to dried out donor funding caused by a number of factors of which poor management and accountability have been part of them.

A civic society expert based in South Africa was quoted by the Daily Maverick as saying “We often just mourn an organization’s closure while forgetting to look at their management. We do it with companies, but often not with NGOs. There are major questions that should be asked about the way in which organisations are run, and their financial management, and their accountability.” Namibian NGOs are no exception as issues of poor accountability have risen every now and then and are thus faced with the option of adapting to these new trends or risk dying.

Yet former Namibian Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (Nangof) Trust chair-person Sandi Tjaronda still affirms that the EU standards are being “Forced on Namibians,” which should not be the way to go. Meanwhile the EU ambassador has been in the media lately breathing fire against the basic education Ministry for delaying the submission of documents which are a pre-requisite to getting funds from Europe.