It is no secret that international funding is severely being affected by the harsh economic conditions now being face globally by many countries. I am quite sure many persons have heard of the ‘fiscal cliff’ in the United States of America where budgetary cuts would be made across sectors and in this the international funding would not be spared. We must recall that the US is the single largest contributor to international funding for various programs as it relates to relief and HIV/AIDs etc. It is interesting that many would think that the US gives a lot of money, however when put in context of their budget; the US only spends less than 1% of its total budget on international funding.
What does a further cut mean?
In a certain context a further cut will have a ripple effect on other developed countries and what amounts they potentially give to international funding; hence it would represent a further reduction of money normally received for international funding. Another threat manifesting is that through budgetary sequestration in the US, the less that 1% given to international funding will be cut and even the funds that remain their use will be reviewed and structural adjustments made. Many grassroots NGOs undertake many life skills, vocational and leadership trainings for youth, especially those at risk and from volatile communities. It is the grassroots NGOs that mobilize and aid to fill the gap where government agencies do not cover. Programme areas such as increasing employability, education, sexual reproductive health and rights and youth protection are under immediate attack.
What is the proactive response needed?
We do implore members of the NGO sector to find ways to generate income to help sustain programs. This is however still a challenge due to our current harsh economic environment. It would be beneficial for where applicable, corporate entities who can offer support, for NGOs to form timely and crucial partnerships as young people’s livelihoods and well being are at stake. Finally we also need to highlight these challenges and accelerate proactive conversations with NGOs, civil society, and government to see how best we can strategically pool resources to best avert a crisis that has begun. We need not only a collective approach and collective responsibility but also a coordinated proactive response to a looming crisis.
NB. Budgetary sequestration refers to a tool in federal budget control where there are drastic across-the-board spending reductions affecting all departments and programs by an equal percentage. This strategy is undertaken where it is seen that government spending exceeded overall budget goals.