• Southern African Water Wire expands co-operation

    The Southern African Water Wire, produced by Inter Press Service (IPS) Africa, has entered a second phase with expanded support to focus on climate change and river basin management in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

    AusAID is the latest donor to support this programme, which promotes integrated water resources management in the SADC region through the production of radio and print stories for use by community and mainstream media, as well as capacity building for regional reporters.

    “The expanded co-operation reflects donor commitment to the principles of the international harmonization agenda as laid down in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action. This also means to align donor modes of delivery to the needs of partners,” said Dr Horst Vogel, Head of Programme of GTZ Transboundary Water Management in SADC.

    In line with its focus on river basin organisations in the region, IPS Africa led a regional training workshop at the recent Limpopo Basin Permanent Technical Committee's (LBPTC) meeting during 2-4 June in Francistown, Botswana.

    “Large parts of the SADC region are water poor,” said IPS regional director Paula Fray. “The story of water is the story of life for many citizens in the region. How we share those resources will play a critical role in how we cope with climate. Telling those stories in a way that reflects its impact in a human way is critical.”

    The Southern African Water Wire is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in delegated cooperation with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Australian Government (AusAID) on behalf of the SADC Secretariat. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) is implementing the partnership programme.

    The wire service can be accessed from

    For more information on receiving content, media and water NGOs can contact Abdullah Vawda at

    For more information on the ‘Transboundary Water Management in SADC' programme, contact Björn Richter at
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  • Resource Mobilisation Strategy for NGOs/NPOs

    Workshops in Organisational Growth and Sustainability


    NPO/NGO’s today are challenge with meeting their critical resources and extensive fund mobilisation for sustainability. To support with an inadequate planning techniques, the changing trend of donor funding NPO/NGO. This workshop seeks to strengthen the danger of survival/sustainability. This workshop seeks to help in developing critical strategies for NGO/NPO’s, in meeting these trends and aligning to their organisational objectives for funding and sustainability.
    The global challenge of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 2015 has brought about the shift in Donor funding. This emanate from governance of the triple line reporting, international development agencies requirements, and community participation and beneficiary interest. Based on this our team will use this workshop to support your direction on resource mobilisation and sustainability of your organisation.

    You are invited to attend a two days workshop, with an experience facilitator who has developed strategies, and programmes for various NGO/NPO’s.  Developing sustainability strategies in critical areas of risk, faced by various organisations.

    Detailed programme available on registration,

    An area of concern includes;

    The NGO/NPO environment,
    • Strategic planning and creative thinking
    • Current Funding trend
    • Donor requirement
    • Fund management strategies
    • Budgeting strategies (funding request)
    Dates: 23- 24 September 2010

    Cost per Delegate: R3 500 (VAT excl.)

    Location: Orion Hotel Braamfontein, Johannesburg

    The workshop will be conduct upon enrolment of 10 to 15 delegates. We offer Special case on request by the beneficiary organisation. 
    For more details:

    Contact: 011 33 165 69 / 073 1153594  

    Registration: Email
    Facilitator’s Profile:
    • BBA (Development Studies and Management)
    • ICSA-Strategic Management & Governance
    • ACCA-Level II
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    Orion Hotel Braamfontein, Johannesburg
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  • Who’s Feeling It? Informal traders and the World Cup

    As the whole country gears up for the quickly approaching 2010 FIFA World Cup, not everyone is happy. Informal traders are waiting for a response this week from FIFA to demands made last week at a demonstration outside ‘Soccer City’ protesting their exclusion from World Cup commerce. In the shadow of the Coca-Cola tower, over 100 informal traders presented a memorandum to FIFA executives, who promised a reply within seven days.

    This is not the first such protest in the country. Since FIFA passed by-laws preventing informal traders from selling near stadiums during the World Cup, reserving these sites for FIFA affiliates and corporate sponsors, this marginalised group has hit the streets, literally.

    Many of these individuals host their businesses and earn their livelihoods on the streets. However, on this day they transformed this space to a place of protest. These "hawkers," as they are commonly known, are trying to reclaim their basic human rights in their own way and on their own stomping ground. At the foothills of the massive state of the art soccer stadium, one wondered if these Davids could trump the FIFA Goliath that they say has hijacked what was once their South Africa.

    Historically informal traders have had to be crafty, utilising unused spaces to offer convenient services and goods. Usually strategically placed near transport hubs and other attractions, from a social perspective, their services are key. They offer freshly cooked food and cold drinks appealing to people on the move for nominal fees. This would seem to fulfil the utopian ideals of community and labour power espoused by Karl Marx. However, when ideals enmesh with big business, the story changes.

    Everyone wants to profit from the World Cup, from the small business owner to the taxi driver to the CEO of Vodacom. However, informal traders who have had to conduct their business informally because they do not have the means to form established businesses are even further off the grid as now FIFA has taken back the parking lots and sidelines they once occupied, to say "all mine."

    Article 4.7.2. of the FIFA by-laws state: No Person may undertake any event or a Special Event at a Public Open Space or in its surrounding vicinity, which will or may be used for the purposes of the Competition unless specifically authorised by the Municipality.

    A middle-aged man held a sign reading ‘Informal traders support football but FIFA by-laws promotes poverty’. In this context, how could a company that profits millions of dollars be concerned about such competition?
    Another sign read "Where is the government I've worked for? Is FIFA now my new government?" South Africa is a country with a tumultuous history, yet has made great strides to achieve democracy. And now, on the cusp of the largest global event to hit her shores, why is FIFA replacing the government structures that support the people of South Africa?

    From Freedom Tours to Freedom Fries

    The South African tourism website offers catchy slogans like, "South Africa: It's Possible," and featured tours like "KwaZulu-Natal Freedom Route." Many tourists come with Hollywood dreams, and want to see the Big Five and African tribes, even if these enforce stereotypes. While FIFA does buy into some Orientalist fantasies, by attempting to promote legalised sex work, it would appear that they would rather promote brands like McDonalds to feed the masses exactly what they would get at home.

    One trader at the protest questioned whether they thought such food sold on the streets was unclean, while another suggested maybe tourists would not want to eat pap, and FIFA is serving their taste buds and digestive tracts. However, many South Africans have also purchased tickets to the matches, and prefer their own local food, and surely when foreigners arrive, they too will want a taste of the local culture.
    In an attempt to make this country more palatable, FIFA and its affiliates are serving up a South Africa which is pre-packaged, wrapped in cellophane and arranged five to a shelf. Whether or not the public will buy it is yet to be determined.

    Behind every strong stadium is a strong woman

    To date, the voices of informal traders, primarily female, have been all but ignored. On May 3rd, 2010 Gender Links, in partnership with ESSET and NCRF, hosted a seminar to discuss the role of community radio in "giving voice to the voiceless" during the World Cup.

    During the event, an informal trader, Cecilia Dube, mentioned her role in 2010. She felt that like the construction workers who have built Soccer City, she too has had her hand in the construction. She spoke of all the female informal traders who have fed and nourished the workers who toil day in and day out. Her reasoning was mathematical.

    The closest store to the stadium is a fifteen-minute walk from the construction site. By selling right next to the site, she helped FIFA with time management. If one construction worker saves thirty minutes each day during his lunch hour, multiplied by hundreds of workers and hundreds of days, it equals thousands of hours of saved people power.

    Another point made by informal traders has been on the myth that their food is unclean. They buy their meat and produce fresh every day and it is never frozen and reheated, unlike fast food. These women, who are often caretakers and mothers, cannot understand why their services are considered risky.

    Recently, FIFA granted tickets to the construction workers who built the stadiums, but not informal traders, and therefore, not women. Aside from the fact that women also want to see the games, this gesture is offensive to this marginalised group. It is as if their work is inconsequential, when they regard themselves as part of the backbone of the stadium.

    A woman held a sign scribbled on cardboard that read, ‘Will my children eat soccer balls?' This is an astute observation, grotesque, but true. Women who depend on the income of trading, who are less likely to obtain bank loans, and who require flexible working hours and the ability to nurse their children could very well suffer the most.

    Wide open spaces

    Across the street from Soccer City is an empty field. In fact, next to the various entrances of the stadium are plenty of spaces to accommodate informal traders. There is yet no valid explanation as to why FIFA will not allow them to be present, to chance their business ventures, and then let the public decide.

    Informal traders have carved away a niche for themselves as entrepreneurs, and they had hoped that the World Cup would give them the leverage to begin setting up more "formal" establishments. Counting down seven days from the day of the protest, 12 May, traders are focused on this expiration date, which may mark the final blow to their dreams.

    - Jennifer Elle Lewis is the Manager of the Gender and Media Diversity Centre. This article is part of the GL Opinion and Commentary Service. It is republished here with the permission of Gender Links.
    Jennifer Elle Lewis
  • Namibian Elections: Why the Results are Disputed

    The controversy surrounding the voters’ register and a pending court case in which opposition parties dispute the outcome of the November 2009 presidential and national assembly election results in Namibia, is bad news for democracy in that country, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and for the African continent in general.

    In 2004, the opposition parties, led by the Congress of Democrats (CoD), approached the High Court to have the votes recounted. Unfortunately, the recount produced the same outcome – due to lack of human resource capacity.

    Similarly, the 2009 elections are disputed by opposition parties, led by the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP). These parties launched a second court case arguing that the elections be nullified, its results be set aside and/or order for a recount.

    The biggest question at the moment is whether the elections were held under free and fair conditions, or whether they were a reflection of the will of the people. No matter how you look at this problem, the following are some of the reasons to believe that the elections were not free and fair - the voters’ register is not accurate because there’s no proof that it was updated; the voters’ register contains about 90 000 Namibians who are dead; and over 50 000 voters have cast their votes even though their names are not appearing on the voter’s register.

    In addition, there are activists and opposition parties who argue that the voter registration process was flawed and might have created an opportunity for certain voters to vote twice. The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) is empowered by the Electoral Act of 1992 to register voters using their identity cards and/or a sworn statement. Namibians who vote using sworn statements are issued with voter cards, which can be produced when voting. However, a person could register more than once at different locations since the voter’s roll is not computerised and centralised. This is one of the reasons why people’s names are duplicated on the voters’ roll.

    Despite warnings from the opposition parties and CSOs, including the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), that the voters’ register was flawed, the ECN went ahead to have it gazetted. In fact, the NSHR observer status was withdrawn and later lifted when the organisation went to court, arguing that the ban was illegal because there was never a hearing before the decision was made, as required by the law.

    Lack of punitive measures on the code of conduct for political parties also makes it impossible for politicians to play by the rules. The current code of conduct is nothing but a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ because it is not part of the Electoral Act. This is one of the reasons why placards and political party colours were visible in some of the polling stations during the elections. And no action has ever been taken against politicians or members of political parties who violate the code of conduct. It will be in the interest of Namibia and Africa in general for the electoral code of conduct to be legalised.

    What role did SADC, African Union, European Union (EU) and other observers played during the elections? What made all these observers to conclude that the elections were free and fair? Clearly they did not do their homework properly. They must be embarrassed wherever they are for declaring the elections free and fair even when they knew that certain problems existed prior the polls. Are they impartial when declaring whether the elections were free and fair? Are some of these observers, the EU in particular, pursuing certain agendas against certain African countries?

    We stand tall in arguing that the November 2009 elections were not free and fair and that they never reflected the will of the people of Namibia. There’s no smoke without fire. An interesting example is the Okatyali constituency in the Oshana region where 2 000 votes were casted in an area with a population of 2 000 people. This is a 100 percent voter turnout, which means even the underage children voted.

    It is therefore premature for SWAPO Party’s secretary-general, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, to urge political party officials to prepare themselves to take up their parliamentary duties while there is a pending court case. Maybe some of us are interested in knowing how she plans to clean up the mess, including putting systems in place to enable the country to hold free and fair elections in future. ECN and SWAPO Party have all confirmed that ‘administrative/human errors’ were committed, so, there were problems.

    The Department of Home Affairs & Immigration also does not have a plan in place to help the ECN to update the voter’s roll.

    The ECN initially announced that 1.3 million people registered to vote. The announcement soon became a laughing matter when the ECN revised the number to 1.1 million and then to 900 000. Activists and political analysts argue that the number of voters exceeded the number of those who appear in the voters’ roll.

    Some of the lessons we learned are that the ECN should be independent in a true sense, the voter’s register should be computerised and centralised and that the National Planning Commission should work together with the ECN, using the updated population register. Why is the ECN only allowed to function when the country prepares for elections? Does the ruling SWAPO Party take democracy serious or not?

    Only free and fair conditions make free and fair elections possible; only free and fair elections can produce credible results; only credible and binding elections can produce a legitimate government; and only a legitimate government can guarantee conditions of peace and stability.

    - Steven Mvula is public relations officer at the National Society for Human Rights and Butjwana Seokoma is information coordinator at SANGONeT.
    Steven Mvula
    Butjwana Seokoma
  • Few Top Media Posts for Women

    Women may be well represented in newsrooms, but they struggle to find a place in senior management or on boards and they still earn less than their male counterparts. This is according to a 2008 report conducted by Gender Links in South Africa and the South African Development Community (SADC).

    The study found that South Africa is at the top end of the scale (50 percent), beaten only by Lesotho (73 percent) when it comes to the percentage of women in media for the region.

    South Africa leads when it came to top-management positions. Even so, the results were dismal, with only 38 percent of South African women on boards, 25 percent in top management and 35 percent in senior management.

    The research took place in the context of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, which urges the media and all institutions in the public and private sectors to achieve gender parity in decision- making positions by 2015.

    To read the article titled, “Women struggle to get into top media posts,” click here.
    Business Day
  • Fundraising Symposium for NPO/NGOs

    Is your NPO/NGO struggling with funding/financial crisis, are you surviving the current global changes, global financial crisis, the recession, and lack of committed volunteers to support organisations sustainability:

    You are invited to attend a two-day workshop which will critically address the issues affecting your organisation and its survival in the current trends or dispensation.

    The workshop will cover:
    • The Business Environments & Corporate Social Responsibilities;
    • Donation/Fundraising and Donor Requirements;
    • NPOs/NGOs role and financial & fund managements;
    • Mobilisation of Resources/Fundraising Best Practices.
    Who should attend:
    • Administrative Assistants, Executive Assistants, Project managers, Office Managers , Project Evaluators, project leaders;
    • Success-minded Executive officer of NPO/NGO, at every level who value career advancement and share our intensity for sustainability;
    • Experienced fundraisers, professionals who already understand the core competencies and aspire to take their organisation to a higher level;
    • Sharp, bright individuals who love to be challenged for the work they do.
    Benefit of the Workshop for the NPO/NGO:

    Delegates will gain the skills and knowledge of how and why corporate South Africa are willing and ready to support the survival of the NPO/NGO even in time of difficulties, and what should the NPO/NGO do to gain the support.

    Delegates will be coached on the critical requirement from donors, what they are looking for, before funding, and the NPO/NGO/CBOs' role.

    Participating delegates will learn the trick of convincing, why their sponsorship letters and proposal are not accepted.

    They will also gain understanding of their own organisations' mission and vision in compliance with governmental and donor requirements. Understand the critical disbursement of donor fund during and after project periods, fundamentals of financial management. Delegates will gain fundamental principles for top critically Tips for Writing a Fundraising Letter or a proposal to a potential donor. Delegates will also gain and acquire the skill, as well as the understanding on fundraising and be able to forecast the process of corporate donation.

    Date: 2-3 November 2009
    Location: Johannesburg
    Rate per delegates: R3500.00 (excl VAT)

    Discount policy, all organisations that send two delegates qualify to send an additional delegate at no cost.

    Registration closing date: 26 October 2009

    To register, contact Natalie on Tel 011 331-6569 or

    Information about the venue, directions and all supporting facilities will be send to you upon registration.
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  • SADC Integration Timeframe Needs Rethink – Carim

    Political leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have tacitly acknowledged that the aim to create a customs union by 2010 is too ambitious.

    Department of Trade and Industry deputy director-general, Xavier Carim, argues that while SADC ministers agreed that regional integration should be prioritised, it is now recognised that the timeframe for integration needed to be rethought and that alternative models for integration should be considered.

    Carim says that, “There is now recognition that you cannot talk about a common external tariff if you have no common policies.” He further states that members would never be able to agree on the setting of tariffs if some only see themselves as consumers and others see themselves as producers.

    To read the article titled, “SADC integration timeframe needs rethink,” click here.
    <br /> Business Day
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  • Thetha Project Overview

    In March 2003, the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT) introduced Thetha: The SANGONeT ICT Discussion Forum to assist South African civil society organisations (CSOs) in responding to various challenges and opportunities presented in their day-to-day work by information communication technologies (ICTs).

    Thetha is a Nguni verb meaning talk, discuss, debate and share opinions/ideas.

    Thetha forums provide an opportunity to both CSOs which are ICT-enabled, as well as those organisations which are considering introducing ICT solutions to their work, with an opportunity to discuss issues of common concern and learn from one another’s experiences. Since March 2003, SANGONeT has organised more than 20 Thethas throughout South Africa.

    With the assistance of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the Embassy of Finland (South Africa), SANGONeT expanded the Thetha project to five Southern African countries (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland) in the period November 2005 - March 2007.

    The first regional Thetha project contributed to increased awareness and understanding among CSOs in the respective countries about ICT policy and application issues relevant to their work, as well as national and regional development processes.

    Based on SANGONeT’s experience during the past five years in implementing the Thetha project, and the specific outcomes of the first regional project, SANGONeT, OSISA and the Finnish Embassy agreed to expand the project to a further five Southern African countries.

    Started in 2008, the Phase Two regional project includes a number of new features which will ultimately result in more tangible outcomes compared to the first project. From discussing general ICT issues relevant to the CSO sectors in the countries covered during the first regional Thetha project, the Phase Two project focus specifically on key issues that will inform the regional “ICT for Development (ICT4D)” process in the next ten years.

    The objective is to develop a comprehensive understanding of regional ICT4D issues through in-country research processes, stakeholder consultations, discussions of these findings on a country level through Thetha forums, and comparing the respective country lessons and experiences to identify and assess common ICT trends and issues facing the Southern African region.

    During the research and consultation process the project will draw on the collective expertise and knowledge of various people and institutions involved in shaping the role and contribution of ICTs in the Southern African region.

    The overall goals of the project are to raise awareness and inform a wide range of national, regional and international stakeholders through Thetha forums about the expected ICT challenges and opportunities that will face the Southern African region in the next ten years, build their capacity to engage with these issues in an informed and strategic manner, and ultimately, in the post-project phase, inform local and regional ICT decision-making and development planning processes.

    The five countries covered by the Phase Two project are Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • SADC Convene to Discuss Madagascar

    The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has urged Madagascar's political rivals to commit to peaceful negotiations and refrain from violence three months after the ouster of President Marc Ravalomanana.

    The 15-member SADC called the extraordinary weekend summit over the lingering political crisis on the island after Andry Rajoelina seized power in March.

    The summit urged all stakeholders to commit themselves to a peaceful negotiated settlement through dialogue and desist from any violent solutions and inflammatory statements that could jeopardise efforts at constitutional normalcy.

    To read the article titled, “Concern about Madagascar,” click here.

    <br /> News24
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  • At the Coalface: Gender and Local Government in Botswana

    'At the Coalface - Gender and Local Government in Botswana' is part of the second phase of a research project that led to the Gender Links publication At the Coalface: Gender and Local Government in Southern Africa. The aim of the second phase is to extend the research on gender and local government to all of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.  The first phase of the research was conducted in four countries: Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia and South Africa.

    For more information or to place an order, click here.
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