Zimbabwe Operational Context
The year 2012 has been predictably stable but deteriorating and somewhat demanding. There was broader convergence of ideas, policies and direction at national level. The economy was both stable and growing. Social support especially from donors which had been largely channelled towards respective government ministries at the launch of the Government of National Unity (GNU) slowly started streaming back to civic society organisations. In the majority of cases, this was a realisation that constant, government infighting was delaying expedited support to the needy. Gradual commodity and service price increases began to take a toll on the less privileged populations. This was largely evident in urban set ups where school dropouts and increasing failure to use social service facilities such as schools, clinics and hospitals was on the rise.
While morbidity and mortality related to HIV went down, the health system failed to give adequate support to those who needed it. Years of demand generation especially post 2009, were not met with adequate supply. This was particularly so for maternal services. The same year witnessed isolated rebounds of diseases such as cholera and typhoid, a sign that primary health care system had not fully recovered to be able to fully mitigate such health challenges.
In education, especially vocational and tertiary, a significant number of students failed to start or continue with their studies owing to user fees. Therefore a good number of students we had supported through primary and secondary education through Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) education support, found themselves stuck with nowhere to go due to financial demands exerted by tertiary education institutions’ needs. There was significant increase in the cost of interventions in education and health including the input schemes for livelihoods projects.
Internally, financial management and financial sustainability became an issue for most local Non Governmental
Organisations (NGOs). The period of funding redirection to government ministries through pooled transition funds under the auspices of the GNU meant that NGO lifeline was threatened. The year 2012 was the decisive year whereby the effects of fund diversion to the public sector started to show a good number of local and international NGOs scaled down their operations. Others closed down owing to unsustainable operations and financial shortages. With the shortage of funds came a plethora of labour legal issues that NGOs had to contend with. Mass engagements characteristic of the bounty years linked to governance challenges came to haunt most NGOs as they sought to dismiss and disengage workers during the lean period of 2011 and 2012. Worker reaction was largely combative. Most NGOs were thus exposed to endless labour litigations, a real risk in the operations and sustainability of most local and international NGOs.
All in all, the year 2012 though stable, offered both opportunities and challenges for the NGO sector. Determination of cross over to 2013 was largely dependent on how each organisation had managed its finances, funding, human resources and programming over the period of cross over from a Zimbabwean dollar to a United States dollar economy. FACT’s survival into 2013 is largely linked to its strategic handling of Zimbabwe to US Dollar change over. Several strategic decisions affecting both the human resources and organisational direction were decisively made starting with the 2009, 2010 - 2012 and 2012 to 2016 strategic redirections. To these directions was born the idea of leadership change, a key factor in explaining FACT’s flawless management and handling of the 2009 to 2012 transition period.
“By love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) • www.fact.org.