On the Road with InsideNGO in Africa


On the Road with InsideNGO in Africa

Colleagues Annah Thuto Tshwenyego and Priscilla Kihara of FHI 360 share a lighter moment in Johannesburg.

By Bonnie Ricci


This year, Humentum is piloting a series of membership events in conjunction with the training we deliver in key hub cities in Africa. Our goal is to provide opportunities for members—and in many cases their invited partner organizations—to network with colleagues and discover more about Humentum in addition to the great training that many already associate with us.

Since January, we have met member staff at networking receptions in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, and Kampala. Last month, we hosted Humentum Week: Johannesburg—a full and rich agenda comprising eight different workshops, a Senior Leader Forum, and a Human Resources Roundtable—as well as a very well-attended networking reception followed by a dinner and discussion event. Nearly 80 people joined us for this event, allowing us to highlight one important aspect of membership benefits—our ability to bring people together for relevant conversation on NGO sector issues.

Guided by an advisory group of members in South Africa (we want to say a big thank you to Right to Care, South Africa Partners, and mothers2mothers), our dinner discussion theme centered on The Future Funding Landscape for NGOs in South Africa and the Region.

Two outstanding guest panelists led the discussion: Mthandazo Ngwenya, Managing Director at Tshikululu Sustainability Solutions, an economic and social development advisory company operating in South Africa and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and Littleton “Lit” Tazewell, USAID’s Deputy Mission Director for Southern Africa.

Both panelists’ remarks resonated with the audience. Ngwenya’s advice covered a number of important points:

  • Expand self-funding options to generate more permanent, less grant-dependent sources of income.
  • There are no permanent allies—do not rely on one grantor as a permanent funding stream.
  • Create realistic business plans and build in a level of financial and impact transparency.
  • Stay focused on impact and successful program execution.
  • Don’t overlook national or provincial tenders as a source of new or ongoing funding.
  • Hire good fundraising managers—and help them network with key existing and potential relationships.
  • Avoid the politics of the day—there is a natural tension between civil society and the state—focus on the public benefit of activities.
  • Maintain focus on enhancing compliance and organizational governance.

Tazewell echoed these points and added the USAID perspective:

  • Given the severity of HIV and health issues in South Africa and the region, funding in this sector will remain strong.
  • NGOs should focus on governance and the ability to manage resources.
  • Good data is critical in order to be able to express the financial aspect of impact.
  • Long-term successful development has to be about local systems and local organizations.

Humentum will be hosting membership events in two more locations in East Africa in the summer and fall. If you’re not in this region yourself but have colleagues who are, please let them know so they can meet up with us. It will be our pleasure and privilege to greet them in Addis Ababa on August 9 (networking reception) and Nairobi on September 14 (member evening dinner event). Additional information will be available soon. Have questions? Contact Elizabeth Heald, Member Services Manager: eheald@Humentum.org

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