With the aftermath of the global economic meltdown still being felt the world over, the ripples continue to affect the SOS Children’s Villages across the world. SOS, One of Botswana’s oldest children’s charities is feeling the pinch as funding falls short of the required targets.
What’s worse, Botswana now being classed as an upper middle-income country, SOS Botswana, like many other children’s villages, will gradually stop receiving international funding. According to the National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Botswana, Motshwari Kitso, considerations made based on the growth cluster of Botswana put SOS on a self-sustaining model. In other words, it is now considered fully capable of raising its own funds.
“This means that SOS Botswana will stop receiving international funding in 2020,’’ he said.
Kitso said currently, international funding has dropped to 40 per cent of the original funding that they received and would continue to drop in the run-up to 2020. He said this would mark a sharp decline in the number of donations required to cover the running costs of the charity.
He explained that they currently receive 16 per cent of the funding they need from the government, only a third of the running costs. He highlighted that the drying up of international funding would put a huge dent on their operations. This, in turn, would adversely affect the care of the children in their villages. This is set to get worse if the government, being the duty bearer, does not accede to their call for a 50 per cent increase in funding.
Kitso further said that local funding strategies do not meet set targets as the fundraising climate in the country is not very conducive. Moreover, because of SOS’s brand position, most people and potential donors assume that they have enough funding and therefore don’t need any assistance.
He, however, said SOS had come up with a capacity building strategy that would be used to ensure it stays afloat beyond 2020. To that end, he said they had funded a legal and budgetary funding study that they envisaged would offer solutions for the SOS.
For his part, SOS’s Financial Controller, Rafael Chifana acknowledged that SOS Botswana has the potential to self-sustain although there were challenges in the social and corporate sphere. He said their current strategy aims to move away from one-off donations to unlock value out of existing resources in a bid to yield more benefits.
Chifana also said the corporate world through its legacy projects such as building halls in some of their children’s homes, was a welcome move that would be sustainable enough to give them revenue.
He revealed that SOS also plans to utilise much of the vacant land in the charity’s possession to generate revenue. However, he said they still needed more knowledgeable people, resources, personnel and ideas in order to actualise their strategies to ensure that SOS is as self-sustainable as possible.