Harare's public toilets are in such an appalling state that very few are still usable, with most of them being perpetually blocked.
Local authorities have been blamed for failing to maintain the few toilets whose scarcity already impacts negatively on women.
Zimbabwe has however pledged to reduce by 50 percent the proportion of people without sustainable access to basic sanitation by 2015, as defined by the Millennium Development Goals.
To read the article titled, “Harare toilets - Every woman's nightmare,” click here.Source:All Africa
ONE’s You Choose survey, conducted from January to June 2013, connected 100 000 South African Voices with United Nations Panel to influences the Post-2015 Development Agenda
South African citizens want the government to prioritise development programmes that will create more jobs, quality education, ahead of the protection against crime and providing support for people who do not work.
This is according to a new report published by the ONE Campaign on 30 October 2013. The report outlines the findings of ONE’s You Choose, a technology-focused campaign that asked African citizens to tell the United Nations (UN) and their governments their top priorities post-2015 to overcome poverty.
The campaign was supported by celebrities including Winiko and Dan Lu from Malawi, HHP, Hugh Masekela and Lira from South Africa, Slap Dee and Chris Katongo from Zambia as well as D’banj from Nigeria, all who played a leading role in mobilising citizens’ participation.
A total of 196 337 citizens participated in ‘You Choose’, from January to June 2013 in Malawi, South Africa and Zambia. In South Africa, 108 815 responses were analysed of which 43 344 were via the online social network, Mxit and 65471 were via SMS / Text message.
The top five South African priorities were: better job opportunities (31.75 percentage), good education (20.20 percentage), Protection against crime and violence (6.4 percentage), an honest and responsive government (5.77 percentage) and support for people who cannot work (4.74 percentage).
The survey aimed to complement the UN’s My World global survey. Preliminary findings from the three countries have been incorporated in the Post 2015 UN High Level Panel’s report to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on proposed post 2015 UN development goals.
On 30 October 2013, ONE released the final Report to the South African public, press, government and UN at an event held in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Speaking at the event, ONE’s Africa Director, Dr. Sipho S. Moyo noted that the needs and desires of the world’s poorest, many of whom live in Africa, must be placed at the heart of a new development agenda.
“Efforts such as ‘You Choose’ in conjunction with the UN’s My World survey will ensure that the post-2015 development objectives reflect the people’s will and not just those of world leaders and technocrats gathered around a table in New York and Geneva. As our world leaders debate and define the post-2015 development agenda, we must convince our governments to take the views and the voices of their citizens to the agenda-setting table. By so doing, the world’s new development goals will reflect what its citizens need and in turn citizens will be better able to hold their governments accountable for actionable programmes that will achieve enduring socio-economic transformation and virtually end extreme poverty by 2030,” she said.
To view report, refer to www.ngopulse.org/resource/one-you-choose-report-2013
Notes to editors:
1. Social media played a leading role in data collection:
- 91 075 citizens submitted SMS actions in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia;
- 84 232 citizens submitted their priorities on social media channels that included biNu, Mxit and Facebook. Most respondents on biNu were Nigerians, while Mxit was dominated by South African participants. Facebook garnered responses mostly from Malawi and Zambia.
- Better job opportunities (25 percent);
- A good education (17 percent);
- An honest and responsive government (6 percent);
- Protection against crime and violence (7 percent); and
- Better healthcare (6 percent).
- Malawian - An honest and responsible government (14 percent), affordable and nutritious food (11 percent), better healthcare (10 percent), good education (10 percent) and better job opportunities (10 percent);
- South African - better job opportunities (32 percent), good education (20 percent), and protection against crime and violence (6 percent), an honest and responsive government (6 percent) and support for people who cannot work (5 percent);
- Zambia - good education (26 percent), better job opportunities (25 percent), better healthcare (6 percent), better transport and roads (5 percent) and an honest and responsible government (3 percent).
- ONE’s lead non-governmental organization (NGO) and faith partners included the Council for NGOs in Malawi (CONGOMA), South Africa’s Economic Justice Network (EJN), as well as Zambia’s Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) and Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ);
- ONE’s corporate partners included the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB), the UN Information Systems and Standard Chartered Bank in Zambia all who supported the campaign with their growing SMS customer databases.
ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of more than 3.5 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Co-founded by Bono and strictly nonpartisan, we raise public awareness and work with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programmes.
ONE is not a grant-making organisation and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funding. ONE is funded almost entirely by a handful of philanthropists and foundations. We achieve change through advocacy. Our teams in Washington, D.C., London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin, and Paris educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives.
For more about ONE, refer to www.one.org.
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation has warned that Africa will not be able to realise the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because of corruption.
CIVICUS head of policy and research, Mandeep Tiwana, points out that the MDGs are eight time-bound goals which provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions.
Tiwana states that these includes targets on income poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality, environmental degradation and the Global Partnership for Development.
He further says inequalities are not an African problem but it is a global problem, adding that these are some of the serious issues our leaders need to address.
To read article titled, “Corruption seen as hindrance to MDGs in Africa,” click here.Source:SABC News
Ibrahim Mayaki, chief executive officer of the New Partnership for Africa's Development’s (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency has urged the United Nations (UN) member states must ensure that the post-2015 development agenda supports the developmental aspirations of the African continent.
Mayaki indicated that NEPAD’s strategic focus on infrastructure and agricultural development remained two key pillars for the continued transformation of Africa.
NEPAD’s main strategists requests that Africa’s goals should be a major consideration when the world body develops its post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework.
To read article titled, “UN must ensure post-2015 agenda supports African development,” click hereSource:SABC News
In the past few weeks, there has been yet another huge public outcry on the functioning of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) and this has provoked a range of talk (and a lot of hot air too) about how we can go about fixing things to make one of the larger national development funders in South Africa, work better. This talk and the occasional Business Day op-ed have however failed to look at the bigger picture of the development landscape and how that aspect affects not just the NLDTF or the National Development Agency (NDA) but the manner in which we build the post-1990 envisioned development state.
In attempting to deal with any process to improve the functioning of the NLDTF or the NDA, it may be prudent to acknowledge the (very large) elephant in the room, which is the obvious lack of any sort of comprehensive social service and development legislation in South Africa that provides for the holistic location of both agencies as well the myriad of other public and private sector funding in the country. The lack of this overarching legislative framework for bringing the developmental state agenda to life, is the key to unlocking the value of both agencies as well as a host of the other good and great initiatives that seek to build a more just and equitable society.
Thus any recommendations and conclusions to improve the NDA and NLDTF need to be understood in the context of what else is needed to ensure that this situation of a poorly functioning national development agency and a misaligned national lottery funder, are both fixed and not repeated in the way we develop and implement future initiatives to realise the ideals of the Freedom Charter and Constitution. The social, cultural and economic rights of the people of SA are central to the way we think about and implement the programmes and policies that seek to meet and exceed those rights.
On a macro level, we need to commence a dialogue about the nature of the social compact to meet and exceed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and ensure greater prosperity for all who live here. The state has claimed ownership of the developmental state and finding ways for civil society to engage meaningfully and constructively are limited. Admittedly, this is a reality of past and current modalities of engagement, but if we are looking to move ahead, then we need to be clear, as a nation, that civil society is not a secondary partner in this process. It is a collaborative relationship, where partners are engaging, on the ideals we seek to set and the process to achieve them.
We must also be wary of the red herring touted by senior Department of Social Development (DoSD) officials about the lack of an apex civil society structure to engage with and thus, they “do not know who to engage with in civil society.” There are a range of current networks that can be called upon and if this is not enough, it is a simple matter to put out a public call for engagement.
For the NLDTF and the NDA, there is a need for a piecemeal reform approach, as well as systemic change in the broad development landscape. It is possible for both these options to co-exist and given the urgent needs of the sector, we need to win space for both immediate reforms as suggested below, as well as a large-scale development priority shift.
Better-designed regulations for both the NDA and the NLDTF are needed, with broad consultation and ideally this process should be funded by the respective entities but managed by civil society. In this fashion, we will have developed regulations that not only improve the functioning of the entities but are also owned by the people affected by them.
We need a separate board for the NLDTF, to oversee the mandate of the NLDTF and ensure compliance with that mandate. This board will also serve to ensure that civil society is both represented and equally accountable for the success or failure of the NLDTF to meet its lofty mandate.
We also need the Advisory Board for Social Development (Act 3 of 2001) also needs to be appointed as a matter of critical urgency. It is baffling to say the least, that this matter has been outstanding for 11 years now. The appointment of such a board would ensure that talent, skills, knowledge and experience of the civil society sector is shared in the process of ensuring that development in SA takes place as a collaborative process between government, civil society, business and labour.
So while we can ‘take-on’ the NLDTF in marches and media campaigns, it will serve the interests of civil society in general, much better, if we are to focus our collective energy on working together to bring about some macro-policy shifts that will create an enabling framework for a long term developmental approach to funding of civil society organisations at the coalface of delivery and those engaged in the process of constant innovation, not just of service delivery but of our thinking too.
- Rajesh Latchman is the Coordinator of the National Welfare Forum, Volunteer Convenor of GCAP South Africa, guerrilla gardener, cyclist and an unreformed recycler. He writes in his personal capacity.
 The need for an over-arching legislative framework for social services, National Welfare Forum, 2010 accessible on the following link www.forum.org.za/The-Need-for-an-Over-Arching-Legislative-Framework-May-2010 Understanding the International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, Coalition for ICESCR ratification, 2010 accessible on www.blacksash.org.za/files/icescrseminardoc.pdf
Leading development experts and the United Kingdom's international NGO community are urging that country’s government to provide leadership in helping to build the international political will required to accelerate progress towards meeting the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
They are also calling on the country to establish a new universal post-2015 development framework that links poverty eradication and environmental sustainability.
As world leaders prepare to come together at the UN Special Event towards achieving the MDGs taking place in New York on 25 September 2013, they are calling for the spotlight to remain focused on how global efforts can improve the lives of the world's poorest and most marginalised communities, now and in the future.
To read the article titled, “UK government must ensure momentum builds to create a new and ambitious set of anti-poverty and environmental targets,” click here .Source:All Africa
At this September's meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, governments will discuss elements of the development agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015.
In his article titled ‘UN report provides roadmap to end poverty’, Amoussouga Gero, points out that, “I believe that to realise the world that the report envisions, Africans must prioritise six of the panel's [High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda] recommendations.”
Gero is of the view that Africa must achieve inclusive growth by connecting everyone to the modern economy by giving them access to quality infrastructure.
To read the article titled, “UN report provides roadmap to end poverty,” click here.Source:All Africa
The United Nations (UN) says the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been improving the lives of millions around the world, but people in very poor regions have not been sharing in the progress.
According to the annual report charting progress on the MDGs until the 2015 deadline, Aid money to the least developed countries fell 13 percent to US$26 billion in 2012.
UN goals to fight poverty and hunger, promote gender equality, and education, and widen access to water and health services were first outlined in 2000 and agreed to by UN members.
To read the article titled, “Development bypasses world's poorest, UN warns,” click here.Source:Sowetan Live
ONE Campaign says that increasing agriculture investment is one of the best ways to reduce poverty in Africa.
ONE Campaign's deputy director, Nachilala Nkombo, says Africa has the potential not only to feed itself but also to become a major food supplier for the rest of the world.
Nkombo points out that unlocking Africa's potential will also unlock its development, adding that farming is Africa's predominant lifestyle with more than two-thirds of Africans depending on agriculture for their incomes.
To read the article titled, “Agriculture best way to reduce poverty - NGO,” click here.Source:Post Zambia
Development money sits in bank accounts around the world, including South Africa, tagged as unallocated, undistributed, under-spent and unspent or as earmarked funds that cannot be touched. It runs into billions of dollars.
Africa remains the poorest region in the world according to the World Bank yet through inept planning, poor grant management, lack of donor consultation and administrative blunders funds for development remain stuck in treacle.
We are led to believe that the root cause of poverty in Africa is not necessarily inequality in economic freedom but corrupt political leadership, lack of educational opportunities, limited health services and even climate change that perpetuates the cycle of poverty. ‘Goof ups’, ‘foul ups’ and ‘mess ups’ are never mentioned as contributing factors to grinding poverty triggered by the very same machinery empowered to address the tragedy.
A disproportionate number of an estimated one billion people, those living in poverty and despair, living on less than US$1 per day, are in sub-Saharan Africa.
A recent study on financial flows in the United Nations (UN) shows that UN agencies are carrying a build-up of unspent funds. The study examines five different UN agencies to which Norway, the funder of this study, is one of the most important donors. The agencies are the UN’s Development Programme (UNDP), the UN’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN’s Population Fund (UNFPA), and the humanitarian agencies, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP).
The study covers the period 2000-2010 where selected UN agencies have experienced a steady increase in financial contributions from donor countries to the tune of US$100 billion (R800 billion) most of which is linked to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
By the end of 2009 unspent funds including mandatory reserves at these agencies are estimated to have exceeded US$12 billion (R96 billion). The report states that aside from mandatory reserves, much of these balances are from non-core earmarked funds received in advance under signed legal agreements for specific projects/programmes whose implementation extends beyond one financial year and roll-over from one year to the next year. These funds could be sanctioned for other purposes or returned to donors for reallocation.
This is a critical issue yet not delegated to key people to resolve; how can the overarching mission to reduce poverty by half be achieved if the drivers and implementers of the 2015 MDGs act complacent and content with the status quo?
The United Nations is not alone in this act of complacency. Some private foundations do not fully utilise their allocations to good works claiming all sorts of reasons for not awarding grants such as a lack of proposals from credible organisations. A local trust fund with a mission to address poverty has consistently under-spent for five years an amount of R50 million as unallocated funds. We all agree on responsible grantmaking but this example is nothing but miserly execution.
More than R2 5 billion of accumulated amounts sit in the trust fund of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (Source: NLB Annual Report April 2011 to March 2012) before a call for proposal is made. Thirty-four percent of ticket sales are transferred each week after the lottery draw and invested directly into the trust fund. Accumulated monies during a particular financial year are available for distribution in the following year. For example funds accumulated in 2011/2012 are available for distribution in the 2012/2013 year and so on. Although prudent financial management is good this model is painfully slow, so much so that the 2011 adjudication process took nearly 15 months. The accumulation of monies to be approved or disapproved is at the mercy of Mandarins, people who pray God with no sense of urgency.
The Lottery distributed an amount of R1.69 billion to 2 667 nonprofit organisations after the 2011 call for applications - during this ‘call’ more than 8 000 applications were submitted to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) requesting R32 billion for project or programme funds. And this desperation for support from the NLDTF only represents 10 percent of the total number of nonprofit organisations registered in the country.
The closing balance of the NLDTF as of April 2012 was R2.1 billion but there are operational expenses to be considered - this is not to be confused with the amount allocated to good causes for the 2012/2013 period.
A large company with a strong African footprint has its headquarters in South Africa; they allocate one percent of net profit after tax (NPAT) each year to a corporate social investment (CSI) budget. The company enjoys record profits each year and is able to make multi-year commitments. In 2011, the CSI budget was R25 million but only dispensed 70 percent of the total citing a lack of internal capacity as the problem. The unused R7.5 million could have gone a long way in helping poor communities. We need to ask the question. Why did the management fail to motivate for more CSI staff to cope with project oversight?
Although a majority of CSI budgets are fully exhausted each year some stall tranches when grantees do not comply with agreed terms of a grant; causing delays or redirection of the monies to other projects. This is often reflected as undistributed funds and factored into the next years’ budget.
Nonprofits are also not blameless, they too like to play banker-banker and re-direct what they perceive to be their money without consulting donors. A super-size non-government organisation (NGO) received R4 million of designated funds for a project. They underutilised the money on the project by 22 percent. They then reapplied for an increased amount to the same donor for the same project the following year without reporting on the surplus amount remaining. There was no sense of answerability; they have since lost the trust of the donor. Squirreling money away that has been awarded for specific work is unethical and possibly illegal.
The Gauteng Department of Social Development neglected to spend R54 million of its welfare budget in the past financial year; R35 million of the money had been budgeted for childcare services and R13 million for old age homes. A newspaper reported that R18.9 million of the money should have been spent on NGOs working in the field of HIV and AIDS prevention and R12.8 million in support of vulnerable families. A spokesperson told the media at the time that under-spending had been caused by ‘cash flow problems’ at the health department. A number of nonprofit organisations (NPOs) are now forced to cease services and shut their doors.
Municipalities left R2.27 billion of the municipal infrastructure grant unspent in the past financial year - delaying delivery of services such as water, sanitation, roads and electricity - even while anger spread over local government failures and underprivileged communities protested violently nothing seems to have changed or even added a sense of urgency to the matter.
The national government awarded R4 billion to hospital revitalization in 2011 yet only 79 percent of the amount was used-up. Five provinces underspent on public hospital infrastructure to the tune of about R800 million. Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, explained to Parliament that the underspending was caused by delays as a result of poor quality work by contractors, poor management of build programmes and land allocation problems. This reckless awarding of tenders to amateur construction companies and poor planning risks lives and jeopardises patient health.
As citizens and members of civil society we must make it our business to halt unthinking, uncaring, incompetent responses to poverty is risking the lives of future generations. Unspent funds is nothing more than incompetence and complacency, it is a crime against humanity, no more excuses.
“To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required - not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” JF Kennedy
Reference UN report: www.norad.no/en/about-norad/news/study
- Ann Bown of Charisma Consulting, Johannesburg. Cell: 083 271 0572. Ann is a financial sustainability advisor to the non-profit sector and has been in development for over 25 years.