NGOs to Face Bleak New Year

Many NGO employees face a new year without work and others have to tighten their belts this festive season as essential European aid funding dries up, leaving the future of a number of civil society programmes in jeopardy.

The South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) Western Cape says the NGO sector is facing a crisis as long-time European donors curtail aid to South African organisations, partly due to the deepening global financial crisis, and partly due to South Africa’s own economic development.

Funds Setback for War on Diseases

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has introduced a stop-gap measure to keep essential services going, but has cut off a lifeline for civil organisations counting on new grants.

Board chairperson, Simon Bland, states that the fund hoped to have nearly US$12 billion available, but fell short by US$2 billion, adding that this forced the board to cancel the 11th round of its funding for programmes aimed at treating the three diseases.

Reservations About Green Climate Fund

Some Latin American countries, the United States and Saudi Arabia have voiced reservations about signing off on the Green Climate Fund.

These reservations broke the broad consensus that the draft fund, while imperfect, could be adopted and operational soon after next year’s talks, in Qatar.

Developed nations have pledged US$100bn a year to the fund by 2020, but many are balking at actually putting money into the fund to help developing nations pay for their adaptation and mitigation actions.

Idasa to Close Cape Town Office

As previously reported by West Cape News, Western Cape-based organisation Rape Crisis has had to pull back its operations, and now the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) is being forced to lay-off almost half of its long-time staff in their Cape Town and Johannesburg offices.

The organisation's executive director, Paul Graham, says that they are on the downstream of the ‘massive economic slump’ in Europe and North America where the majority of their funding came from.

TAC Faces Closure Over Lack of Funds

AIDS lobby group, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), faces possible closure in January 2012 because of a lack of funds.

In a press statement, the TAC points out that as a grant-funded NGO, it cannot afford to run a deficit.

It says that, “...besides the fact that over 230 activist organisers will lose their income, the closure of TAC would be a setback for South African democracy."

Donors Cut Off Funds to WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks, whose spectacular publication of classified data shook the world and exposed the inner workings of international diplomacy, might be weeks away from collapse, according to its leader.

WikiLeaks leader, Julian Assange, says that as an emergency measure, they will cease what he called ‘publication operations’ to focus its energy on fundraising.

Though its leaks spread outrage and embarrassment across military and diplomatic circles, WikiLeaks' inability to overturn the block on donations imposed by American financial companies might prove its undoing.

Funding Policy Changes Push Non-profits into Business Field

The recent flare-up between the government and the nonprofit sector over changes to policies governing state funding of nonprofit organisations (NPOs) has reignited the heated debate around how best to fund our social welfare services and social justice work in South Africa.

The hastily arranged meeting a few weeks ago between the Department of Social Development and a handful of NPOs did little to calm fears over the future funding of the more than 100 000 nonprofits who between them, deliver more than half of the welfare services government is obliged to provide.

Municipalities Wasted R27bn, Says Report

Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, says that municipalities could have saved R27 billion in the previous financial year - that is R74 million per day by cutting down on unnecessary expenses.

Gordhan urged new council members to, “Cut down on non-essentials and get your planning, budgets, service delivery and bureaucracy right.”

Speaking at the launch of the Treasury’s latest financial municipal oversight report, Gordhan said that new council members have to “forget about fancy extras like brand new Mercedes-Benzes.”

Fund for NGOs Participating in COP17

Government will establish a Participation Fund to substantially contribute to the costs incurred by civil society and NGOs in their preparations for COP17.

Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa, says the fund will help South African youth, women, rural communities, media and NGOs with preparations for the remaining pre-COP negotiations meetings taking place over the next two months.

NGOs and representatives of civil society have been vocal about declining donor support for technical and financial contributions in their efforts to deal with climate change.

Donation for Hammerl's Children

Some of the most renowned photographers in the world have rallied together to donate images to raise funds for South African photographer Anton Hammerl's children.

According to family friend, Bronwyn Friedlander, "The photos, generously donated, represent a diverse mix of stunning photography from around the world and are available to collectors for a limited time."

The money raised would be used for the children's future education. Non-profit organisation, Reporters Without Borders, sponsored the online benefit and will handle all donations.


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