CHALLENGES FOR NGOS AND FOUNDATIONS
What new challenges will NGOs and foundations in Ghana face in the short and long term?
Reduced amount of money
In general, the efforts of international aid groups have been severely hampered by border closures. It is a struggle to maintain the current programs because they have to combat the coronavirus in addition. As a result, organizations may be forced to remove their staff and volunteers from the front line. Fear of exposure to the virus is partly responsible for this. United Nations officials say that rich countries, which normally donate millions, can cut back on foreign aid. This when their economies are about to collapse as a result of the virus' lockdowns. COVID-19 increases the need for aid all over the world. As a result, donors are faced with a difficult choice because should they continue to help vulnerable populations abroad or should these countries concentrate on their own country?
US funding to the WHO stopped in April. This was because it was claimed that the WHO was hiding the spread of COVID-19. In 2018, the WHO's budget consisted of 15% American donations. The programmers of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) were also interrupted. This is due to confusion as to whether USAID has permission to help other countries by providing protective equipment and other assistance. International programs such as the Peace Corps have also been suspended due to concerns about the safety and health of volunteers. Overseas diplomats have therefore been encouraged to return to the US. President Donald J. Trump has urged several times since he took office to cut back on foreign aid. He wanted to do this with as much as 21% (Roy, 2020).
"COVID has paralyzed most development organizations that entirely depend on donors," said one respondent who works with a development consulting firm based in Africa. "Funds have been redirected to emergency concerns rendering most staff jobless and programs halted altogether," they added.
(Chadwick & Smith, 2020).
Devex, provider of recruitment and business development services for global development, has interviewed hundreds of development professionals through weekly COVID-19 Trends Trackers to understand how the pandemic is affecting the global development sector. 96% of respondents say the pandemic will have a significant and lasting impact on development. More than 560 development professionals from 156 countries worldwide were provided with a list of possible long-term consequences of the pandemic. They had to choose what the consequences of the virus would be. 53% of respondents expected a decline in development and 49% predicted a reduction in foreign aid. "Every country will take care of itself before it looks across borders," wrote one respondent in the survey. He reflects a common concern about the reduction in foreign aid. For example, the Hungarian government already announced in April that its aid program for Hungary would receive fewer resources as a result of the pandemic (Chadwick & Smith, 2020).
There were more striking results. Of the respondents, 41% indicated that the organization they work for lost money as a result of the pandemic. According to projections from Development Initiatives, an organization that focuses on data and development, overseas development aid could fall by as much as $25 billion by 2021. This is because donor countries will also have to recover from the economic crisis. Research among development professionals also shows that there will be immediate cuts in development funds in all regions. Half of the respondents in the Middle East and 49% in Africa say that the organization they work for has lost money as a result of the pandemic. 60% of respondents are worried that the pandemic could mean the end for the organization they work for. A month ago this percentage was 55% (Chadwick & Smith, 2020).
According to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects report, this year's pandemic will bring an estimated 34.3 million more people below the extreme poverty line. Of these, 65% exist in Africa.
The World Bank also predicts a drop of no less than 19.7% in remittances to low- and middle-income countries by 2020. The head of the World Health Organization previously warned that the pandemic could curb recent progress in low-income countries in terms of life expectancy and access to services for HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. In addition, the rights of women and girls could be reversed by "a few decades". This is due to the lack of family planning services due to the lockdown which could lead to many unintended pregnancies (Chadwick & Smith, 2020).
"Global development workers increasingly fear that their organization will not survive the COVID-19 pandemic, with concern greatest among those in Africa."(Chadwick & Smith, 2020)
Potential reductions in foreign aid are therefore a major concern, especially for local NGOs that have few or no resources. The conclusion is therefore that a major potential challenge is first and foremost to remain in the short and long term. Many NGOs are dependent on funds, donations and volunteers, but if this disappears the possibility to continue to exist as an NGO will disappear at the same time.
- Coronavirus has triggered a funding crisis for NGOs when they are needed most.
- The economic downturn means future aid budgets and donations are likely to decline.
- A liquidity fund could help NGOs cover overheads in the short term (O'Connell, 2020).
Backlash against humanitarian staff
In the past, local and international humanitarian workers have been the target of suspicions or even physical attacks during a crisis. Humanitarian workers have often been accused in the case of past epidemics. COVID-19 was the first to hit many European countries. The headquarters of humanitarian organizations are often located in these countries. As a result, nationals and travelers from these countries can be seen as spreaders of the virus (ACAPS, 2020). Another challenge that NGOs may face is therefore the stigma that COVID-19 could face.
Another challenge that NGOs face is the fact that they all have to adapt the activities they carry out to government guidelines. This means, among other things, that employees must maintain social distance. This can be really difficult for some activities, such as those involving small children. Another important challenge is the fact that NGOs must ensure that they become more sustainable in the longer term. Currently, many activities cannot continue due to the fact that organizations are too dependent on volunteers who often have to come overseas. The empowerment of local residents needs to be increased now even more than ever, so the impact of an unexpected crisis will be less in the future.