The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu says government recognises NGOs’ critical role in bringing attention to topical issues such as climate change, poverty eradication and gender equality.
His remarks, made recently at the NGO Council’s inaugural stakeholders forum, come as the sector struggles to stay afloat due to poor funding and internal governance issues.
Batshu said a programme has been developed, in collaboration with the European Union, to address the proficiency and capacity issues facing NGOs.
“The programme seeks to strengthen the NGO Council to facilitate implementation of policy and also develop frameworks for meaningful participation and sustainability of the NGO Sector,” Batshu said. “The programme will also put in place accountability mechanisms and fund projects with impact on the citizenry.”
According to Batshu, in the midst of the donor dry-out, allowing corruption into the NGO sector would worsen the challenge and scare off potential financiers.
For his part, European Union Ambassador to Botswana and SADC, Alexander Baum said the programme would provide support to the functioning of the NGO Council for effective implementation of its mandate.
“In that way, challenges facing the NGO sector such as capacity to perform their roles and the scarcity of funding, will be addressed,” he said.
Through its 9th European Development Fund (EDF) – its main instrument for aid – the EU has provided capacity-building support to 15 umbrella NGOs and grants to 79 individual NGOs.
“We are now midway through implementation of the 10th EDF, having already issued 42 grants worth over P20 million to NGOs across the country,” Baum said.