External aid is creating a ‘dependency syndrome’ on external donors which is taking away the incentive for local production and development to ensure self-sustainability, founder of the Voice of the African Child (VOAC) Dr. Emily Mapfuwa said.
Dr Mapfuwa, a United Kingdom based Zimbabwean and founder of the VOAC, an NGO helping orphaned and vulnerable children in three southern African countries including Zimbabwe, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo says its high time local organisations shift from donor dependency and seek sustainable homegrown solutions.
“Relief in Africa is focused on what the outsiders can do to help the victim, as opposed to what the local people can do to help themselves going forward.
“This in turn created a ‘Dependency syndrome on external AID’. Dependency kills creativity and initiative.
“It takes away ownership and responsibility; it takes away that incentive for local production and development,” she said.
“In the last two years with the decline in AID due to economic collapse in the so called developed world, VOAC has met some challenges in meeting its obligations and we apologise as an organisation for also starting in the same donor focused mindset.
“This begs the question, does this mean without AID our orphans and vulnerable children have no access to education due to poverty?” She asked.
This comes in the wake of Western donor apathy in Africa in light of the continued economic recession in the donor community and an increase of refugee influx in most European countries which is straining resources being channeled to Africa, living most organisations in the open.
Most Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), especially in Zimbabwe, are faced with a donor pullout scare and are now being forced to make synergies for the little resources being availed.
Historically Dr. Mapfuwa said despite the positive outcome in the education sector, the donor dependency was implanted by the Missionaries and has continued to date.
In response to this situation, Dr. Mapfuwa encouraged organisations to lessen their reliance on external AID, have a cultural change and venture into self-sustainable income projects.
She said her organisation is currently conducting a pilot study of income generating projects within schools such as poultry, targeting international markets to raise money to pay for orphaned and vulnerable children’s fees and levies.
The study is being done in 12 schools countrywide to be completed in the next two terms of 2017.
The organisation is also involved in the building of a school at the Makara village in Shurugwi under the Tafara Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s Home.
VOAC’s main focus is to help empower communities with self-sustaining projects in order to reach out to the orphaned and disadvantaged children