Members of the forum of Rwanda’s Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in the area of Aids and Health Promotion should consider coming up with income generation projects if they are to work effectively and make a visible contribution towards fighting HIV.
The call was made on Friday by the Minister of Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, during the forum’s 11th ordinary General Assembly that attracted participants from more than 100 local NGOs making up the forum.
She said it would enable the NGOs carry on their activities more effectively, instead of entirely depending on donor funds.
“The tendency of depending on donor funds is never sustainable as your operations will also be limited to decisions made by your funders; meaning that if there are changes in decisions to fund you, it will cause a serious problem in fulfilling your targets,” she said.
Most of the local NGOs, especially those working in the field of fighting HIV, are funded by Global Fund. And the forum says that due to the global financial crisis, some local NGOs did not receive funds from their funders; something that is said to have affected their operations.
Giving a brief comparison with the initiative that has community health workers coming up with over 450 cooperatives through which at least 30 per cent of the earnings of these cooperatives goes directly to paying community health workers, Binagwaho said that coming up with similar initiatives will bring about confidence and sure implementation of NGOs’ action plans.
The Minister also said that local NGOs need to learn from international NGOs so as to be able to compete favorably.
“When international NGOs propose or request for funds, it is very easy for them to be considered; and the only secret is that you too have to have capacity in managerial skills and accountability or financial management among others and this can be achieved through capacity building or education programme,” she said.
During the general assembly in which the forum`s annual report was presented, presented its a strategic plan for 2013 – 2018 was unveiled.
According to the strategic plan, the forum is expected to scale up the role of Civil Society Organisations in national HIV response and health promotion through a strong coordination and leadership.
The Chairman of the forum, Dr Prince Bosco Kanani, promised to work on the recommendations of the Minister, saying the initiatives will play a great role in enabling members to follow up on their plans.
He added that among others, bringing together members to work towards a common goal was one of the achievements in the year adding that it has done away with duplication of work among them.
Among other activities, he said that the forum through its members will continue advocating for the government to ensure that there is easy access to medication or health services for the HIV positive population.