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International News

South Africa: NGOs Cutting Back or Closing Down as Donor Funds Dry Up

June 1, 2009

The global economic downturn has shrunk funding for many non-governmental organizations that assist HIV-positive persons and other disadvantaged populations, even as demand for the NGOs' services is spiking.

"We've had a 20 percent decrease in funding overall," said Vuyiseka Dabual, spokesperson for the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), which works on behalf of persons with HIV. "About 80 percent of our funding comes from international donors; most of them had 25 percent budget cuts."

In response to the grim economic climate, TAC has eliminated national staff and moved others to provincial offices. To maintain its work in HIV treatment, research and awareness, TAC is looking for funding for specific projects.

"HIV/AIDS is not in recession," Dubual said. "We are starting to explore collaborations with partner organizations. We must also focus on getting local funding."

An umbrella group for more than 3,000 NGOs, the South African National NGO Coalition, has cut back its efforts. NGOs in the coalition are closing or not paying staff, said coalition spokesperson Jacob Molapisi.

NGOs are a huge but under-recognized part of the South African economy, said Shelagh Gastrow, executive director of Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement. "It's time for NGOs to put down the begging bowl and start looking at how they can be self-sustainable," Gastrow said.

Back to other news for June 2009

Adapted from:
Business Day (South Africa)
05.23.2009; Luphert Chilwane, Hajra Omarjee

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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.
See Also
Listing of South African HIV Organizations