Elusive Trail of AIDS Funds to NGOs in Africa
October 19, 2005
UNAIDS estimates that $8.3 billion will be available to fight AIDS globally from all sources in 2005, up from $6.1 billion in 2004. In Africa, where many donors prefer to fund nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), perceiving governments as corrupt, some are asking where the money has gone.
"Too little of this money is currently reaching community initiatives," Geoff Foster, a child-health expert in Zimbabwe, said in a report for Save the Children.
Experts said most of the funding goes to the big, well-known NGOs while smaller community-based groups with grassroots connections to the needy are left out. "Donors need to address this paradox," said Jonathan Cohen, an HIV/AIDS researcher with Human Rights Watch. "Organizations that are best qualified to fight the disease on the ground are the least able to obtain funding."
South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign, an influential AIDS advocacy group, says it spends about half its annual budget of $3.06 million on staff and operational costs, which experts said reflected many NGOs' spending patterns. TAC spends the other half on educational materials and training workshops, said Nathan Geffen, a TAC official.
Alan Whiteside, an AIDS expert at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said most NGOs used their money well compared to government agencies. A Kenyan scandal saw the former director of the National AIDS Council jailed for defrauding the government. In Uganda, an inquiry into possible health department misuse of AIDS money is ongoing.
10.14.05; James Macharia
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.