SWAGAA donor pulls out
MBABANE - One of the donors of the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) has pulled out.
Cebile Manzini-Henwood the director of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) said the donor funded at least 20 per cent of the organisation’s activities.
In a statement the organisation’s board said the donor unilaterally terminated its grant after receiving false allegations that the donor’s funds were not properly managed by the organisation.
"A brief unilateral investigation was carried out by this organisation without the involvement of SWAGAA before termination," reads a statement from the organisation.
The board said all audit findings that were conducted internally by both SWAGAA and the external donors confirmed that the organisation’s systems and capacity to manage funds were satisfactory and in accordance with policies and procedures for ensuring transparency.
The board was reacting to information currently circulating alleging that the organisation faced closure.
"SWAGAA’s Executive Board and Management wishes to reassure SWAGAA beneficiaries, partners, stakeholders, donors both local and international, members, friends and the public that the longstanding organisation is fully operational and is not closing down," reads the statement.
"On an annual basis SWAGAA is audited by reputable audit firms, both commissioned by the Executive Board and various donors, who are vigilant in ensuring that the organisation has followed strict regulations, policies and procedures during use of donor funds."
SWAGAA said the donor and Executive Board and Management were currently engaged in discussions to address this issue.
"We are not in a position to divulge more information regarding this issue because it may impact adversely on these consultations and in particular on the beneficiaries to SWAGAA services."
The organisation said in dealing with this issue, the Board decided to exercise caution as the reputation of the organisation and in turn donor confidence was at stake.
"At the appropriate time, SWAGAA will issue a public statement on this issue," reads the statement.
SWAGAA said the organisation was in financial problems generally due to the global financial crisis which has seen to a reduction in number of donors who support NGOs in developing countries.
"NGOs in Swaziland, including SWAGAA, have not been spared from this unfortunate circumstance. This has affected organisational capacity to implement a broad range of programmes to reach all areas and sectors of the country."
The organisation said it was the only local NGO solely established to eradicate sexual and gender based violence in Swaziland.
SWAGAA has a comparative advantage and strategic mandate to implement prevention initiatives throughout the country, provide care and support services to survivors, facilitate access to justice and legal recourse for survivors and maintain strong alliances with strategic partners in both government and non-governmental institutions.
The entity was currently implementing a community based male involvement programme for HIV and Sexual and Gender Based Violence prevention; Trauma and therapeutic counselling for survivors of abuse, HIV counselling.
Over the years, SWAGAA has reached national coverage through the implementation of these programmes in the four regions through six counselling sites, primary and secondary schools, and mass media campaigns, targeting 24 communities to provide coordinated, comprehensive prevention, care and support, access to justice and impact mitigation services.
It said it was only through collective, active solidarity and commitment by all persons to play a role in ending violence in our country that we will succeed and all programmes will be sustained.
SWAGAA helps about 30 000 each year
MBABANE – Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) on an annual basis reaches out to no less than 30 000 women, men and children in the country through its various programmes.
Primary beneficiaries have included young girls and boys, OVC, women and men and traditional authorities to remove barriers to access to services, including stigma and discrimination.
The organisation said throughout its existence the demand for SWAGAA services in prevention education and survivor support provision had risen substantially and the organisation will continue to rise to the challenge and fulfil its mandate successfully.
"In the context of the frightening and increasing rate of sexual and gender based violence in Swaziland, coupled with the dwindling donor base both locally and internationally, the Executive Board, Management and Staff wish to appeal to the public and the corporate sector for support and donations to ensure that service delivery by the organisation is not compromised," Cebile Manzini-Henwood said. Manzini
Henwood said it was high time Swazis owned up the organisation. She particularly appealed to the business community to lend a hand to the organisation. "Any amount of money could be invaluable to us because it is passed on to the nation in the form of the services we provide," she said. She said Swaziland’s corporate world could also be beneficiary to their services of counselling, training on GBV and HIV/AIDS.
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