a) Growth and Sustainability Story 2017 marked FACT’s 30th anniversary as the first AIDS service organisation in Zimbabwe. The organisation had an opportunity to celebrate its achievements with lots of support from donors, stakeholders, implementing partners and the business community. 2016 to 2017 programing year has been a year of both big retains and painful misses for FACT. Overall, we have remained the preferred destination for partnerships by national and regional NGOs. This speaks to our strength and stability in so far as systems, governance, human capital and programmatic prowess is concerned. FACT has continued to fulfil its mission over time and, in so doing, meeting the needs of its key stakeholders – beneficiary communities and funders. This has been key to FACT’s continuity over time resulting in the organization’s endurance and presence as a serving organization over the last 30 years. Our growth trajectory has remained positive, though we have had significant end to some of the key projects such as the Behaviour change under the new funding model from UNDP. This project gave FACT the much-needed national presence. It is good to note that FACT has had one national project after the other over the past ten years. In 2017, FACT had the opportunity to partner with the TB Union to roll out the Challenge TB and National TB screening project. This has reinvigorated and cemented FACT’s position in health service provision and being a national organisation. Regionally, FACT has had continued partnership with the HEARD of the UKZN to roll out multicounty level research. This happened soon after the end of another important regional research program covering Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. The new project initiated in 2016 covers additional 5 countries of Zambia, Madagascar, South Africa, Angola and Mozambique. At provincial level FACT’s work remains deeply embedded in five provinces of Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East Province and Harare. The work is cross cutting covering HIV, Advocacy, research, livelihoods, OVC, TB and other diseases such as Malaria and NCDs. Critical also, is the work FACT is driving in responding to HIV and Health needs of young girls, adolescent women, Key Population groups such as prisoners, gays, lesbians, transgender and sex workers.
Growth has been the hallmark of FACT operations. The year witnessed formidable growth in staff, projects, budgets and technical areas of intervention and support. Staff head count was above 160 and 16 projects were being actively rolled out in various communities across the nation. Our annual budget stood at USD$9.2 million. We expanded our presence and operations in the areas of TB, Malaria and HIV screening, advocacy, research, training and capacity building. FACT has thus continued to survive, serve and support stakeholders and beneficiaries within the context of rapidly changing but threateningly challenging operating environment marked by dwindling resources and stiff completion from well established, well-resourced and globally anchored organizations. While we managed to progress and perform very well in program financing, threats to organisational financial sustainability were clearly evident and were felt throughout the operating year. Unrestricted funds were hard to come by and more so, FACT funding sources though wide spread were dominated by one major funding partner. Going forward, FACT will embark on working on this evident threat for its continued survival. Indeed, financial diversity remains a challenge for FACT, making this a core area of critical attention for the 2018 to 2019 programing year. While the organisation continued to enjoy impressive growth in some of the core areas of NGO work, further interest has arisen in the need to automate FACT’s program and finance reporting systems. This again is another target and focus for FACT going forward. Phenomenal growth and continuity have raised the need for working and improving on such systems to allow for dashboard and use of Grant Management System (GMS) on FACT’s work which is now wide spread across the whole nation. We remain guided by the need to be a good investment destination for funders and the best responsive organisation for our stakeholders. Success in the two areas will ensure FACT’s continuity going forward as we remain guided by community needs using evidence-based programing data and being responsive to the HIV epidemic and other NCDs.
b) Challenges and Threats As one of the leading national organisations in Zimbabwe, we have found ourselves being caught between two competing forces. On one hand, some funders have considered us too big to access certain type of funds while on the other hand mere national presence has given us opportunities to respond to big funds which in turn has set ourselves in competition with well-established and better resourced, better experienced and strategically positioned international development players and national level institutions. Much as this has become a substantial threat for us in terms of access to dwindling resources, such a competitive scenario has seen FACT being more innovative and more strategic in terms of its partnerships and networks. This has worked in certain circumstances but has in some cases stifled FACT’s resolve and wish to be a free implementing and collaborating institution. The mention of exclusive agreements as part of partnership to respond, has in a way narrowed FACT’s freedom and opportunity to choose and associate with bigger international and local organisations to the detriment of proposed fundraising plans. We remain challenged in accessing other key sources of funds. For the outgoing year, FACT did not make a reasonable breakthrough in the area. We continue to strive to access such funding as it means a lot in terms of expanding our capacities and technical areas thus adding the much-needed diversity we need for sustainability. Other challenges shortage of cash and three tier pricing system which significantly increased the cost of doing business. c) Our appreciation Regardless of the misses and lost opportunities, 2017 was another fruitful year for FACT. Staff remained dedicated and focused in their daily work which indeed was a key driver for FACT’s indeed a key asset in FACT’s continued survival. Deservingly and driven by humble submission to the work of unsung community heroes who worked in various volunteering capacities, let me take this opportunity to appreciate all FACT staff, community volunteers, the funders and partners (Alliance, USAID, PEPFAR, Tear Fund Netherlands, Kindernothilfe (KNH), The Union, HEARD, Embassy of the Netherlands, CDC) and the Board, for making success a reality. We also want to take the opportunity to thank the corporate body for supporting FACT at 30 years celebrations. The donations from; Montclair, Toutbeck Inn, Inn on the Vumba, Mavambo Trust, Nyaradzo, Eagle Insurance and Whitehorse Inn, went a long way in making the event a success. Thank you Mrs.G.M. Shumba (Executive Director)