In the past few years we have worked with various Non-Governmental Organisation focusing on various organisational functions such as fundraising, developing Monitoring and Evaluation systems, Human Resource Management, Governance, strategic planning and others. Whatever the functions, we have always started processes with building a comprehensive profile and audit of the organisation across all aspects of organisational functioning.
When requesting information from organisations on whatever subject we are continuously referred to the dreaded TPA (Transfer Payment Agreements as signed with Department of Social Development –DSD).
- When requesting job descriptions of for example social workers we are forwarded of list of activities and targets as detailed in the TPA.Quite often there are no other job descriptions that reflect Key Performance Indicators and results based outcomes.
- When requesting organisational Bussiness plans we are forwarded a number of separate bussiness plans for the various DSD Priority areas within a province, or across provinces.Quite often the organisations do not have an incorporated or combined bussiness plan for their organisation, or a plan for where they see the organisation going in the future.
- The same applies when requesting budgets – a number of separate, project based budgets according to the requirements and formats of DSD. There is limited evidence of organisational financial management and growth, but rather post management and limited operational financial management according to the TPA.
- When one starts talking about strategic development and needs based services, you are informed that DSD does not fund this or that – and that is quite often the end of the discussion.
- Going on to Monitoring and Evaluation and attempting to build a comprehensive M & E system, the requirements of the TPA, and the onsite M & E Assessments of DSD most often guides and limits discussion
- Geographical service delivery is limited to where funding has been allocated by the TPA.The same applies to the development of new services and program development
The establishment and development of the Non-Governmental field was based on the fact that they could be innovative, flexible, independent, as well as responsive to the needs of the community on grassroots level. In the economic world, the era of big bussiness included the forcing out of the competition, and gaining control of the market. It seems that the same is happening in the social development field, with the less powerful NGO’s merely being Mini Me’s of the DSD department.
It seems that the original vision, mission and objectives that led to the establishment of many Non-Governmental organisations, is now fully guided and limited by their TPA stipulates. It further seems that the identity of various organisations are being gobbled up by the larger Big Brother who controls the purse strings. Many NGO’s are not adhering fully to the purpose of their founding, but rather to the vision of Government’s Social Development goals. If we don’t reverse this trend, we will optimally be in a place, where one question the continued existence of, and need for, NGO’s.