News | 19 May 2017
The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has awarded a R2.06 million grant to the Networking HIV/AIDS Community of South Africa (NACOSA) to establish and strengthen systems that can respond effectively to the needs and priorities of the country’s HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis response. New and innovative training models for community organisations and local structures will be developed and rolled out, thanks to the grant.
Poverty and inequality, HIV, AIDS and TB, violence and unemployment are key challenges facing South Africa – challenges that are integrally linked and interdependent. Civil society plays a vital role in mitigating the effects of poverty, poor health, gender violence and unemployment in communities. But many organisations – particularly emerging and rural ones – face considerable challenges, including a lack of skills in governance and leadership, technical and programmatic knowledge gaps, capacity issues in processing, reporting on and accounting for donor funding and a lack of infrastructure which can lead to inconsistent service provision.
“NACOSA believes that community involvement can greatly improve health outcomes,” says Executive Director, Dr Maureen Van Wyk.
“Our experience over the last 14 years with our network of 1,500 member organisations has demonstrated that organisations and local structures have the ability to interact with affected communities, react quickly to community needs and advocate for improved programming and policy environments.”
“We are delighted that the NLC has recognised this with their support for the NACOSA Training Institute. This funding will help us build the capacity of organisations and improve the skills and knowledge of frontline staff. We believe this can improve the quality and effectiveness of services as well as the sustainability of organisations working in our communities.”
The funding will enable NACOSA to scale up its current training capacity by converting some of its accredited trainings into e-learning modules and developing new and innovative training materials. The NLC will also fund the upgrade of NACOSA’s Training Institute facilities so that organisations and communities have access to world class training programmes that improve their professional and employment opportunities.
NACOSA’s current programming reaches over 200,000 people from key and vulnerable groups (including children and young women), 152 organisations directly with systems strengthening support and 1,500 organisations in the NACOSA network in every province of South Africa.
“The funding is a substantial boost to the community-based response,” concludes Van Wyk.
“Civil society capacity and training has for too long been the orphan issue – at the end of the list for many funders. But by providing affordable, accredited and professional training to community organisations, we can strengthen systems that respond most effectively to the development needs of the country. This will make a real difference in the lives of many South Africans.”