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We need to start taking NGOs a little bit serious

Not long ago, in 2011, I co-founded a company and named it Dynamic Dreamers. We later registered this company in terms of Companies Act 71 of 2008. Now, you thinking that I must be pretty comfortable in life because of this venture I started. Not really. In fact, I am as poor as a church mouse. No, the company we started is what is called an NPC (non-profit company). Neither their founders nor directors get the share of donors money other than what has been set aside as their salary as agreed by the parties involved.

A little bit about my company (if I can call it that way). We are a group of passionate young people who believe that behind the cracks of poverty lies a great potential, if nurtured can turn into a shining star. We operate in the education space with a mission of improving the quantity and quality of passes in the community in which this company operates. We want to empower the youth of this communities in a number of ways, with a long term view of making this young people responsible citizens of South Africa. We are in the process of achieving this amidst all the challenges we face in our endeavour.

As we sit and chart a strategy of how to make this NPC a leading company in this sector, we often confronted with amazing ideas, some ideal, some not so achievable. The challenges I encountered in this line of work taught me a great deal about people management, project management and more importantly crisis management. I have grown a great deal in the process, it gives me real pleasure.

One of the things that I dream for this company is that I wish to see it being a self-sustaining entity that can exist without any of its current founders and directors. I wish to see Dynamic Dreamers NPC being an entity that can at least employ about five people in the community in which it is based. If we do achieve that; five less people will be outside the joblessness trap. How idealistic is that? This is the question I asked my fellow co-founders and stakeholders in the company. We dwelled on how we can make this a reality. I will leave that for another day.

Just imagine how of a difference can NGOs make in addressing the issue of unemployment if the government and private sector took them a little more seriously? I am of the opinion that in addition to 1000 new businesses, a 1000 new NGO’s can also combat unemployment. Let me show you how NGO’s can help in eradicating poverty while creating employment. If the state could channel a certain amount of money to every NGO and this NGO’s ensure that they spend this money appropriately, the change that we wish to see can erupt.

If one NGO employ about five people, depending of course on personnel need and capacity, and there are about 2500 NGO’s for example, automatically about 12500 new jobs are created. These 12500 new employees are positively impacted by this and they can improve their skills and experience in their field of interest. As these NGO’s grow, more workforce is being added on, while the reliance of government funding decrease. This is achievable in number of ways; because the NGO is now developed and well-known, resource mobilisation will be pretty much easy.

There is no doubt that if Dynamic Dreamers is well known, and the impact of it is seen is the breadth and length of South Africa, its resource mobilisation will be difficult. When this happen, these NGOs can host round table debates on the issue of their interest and sell tickets to those interested in these debates. How much can be made assuming that whatever topic to be discussed is value-adding? Another way of making money and making these NGOs self-sustainable is by selling apparels bearing the name of the NGO. Instead of asking for R300 or R50, why don’t you make high quality hoodies, Golf-shirts, or Coffee mugs which can be bought by the public? Voila, another employment opportunity for a local woman or man who is a dressmaker. Another 2500 people who will depend on 2500 NGOs for survival are now economically emancipated. These extra 2500 people are service providers in these NGOs. In a short space of time, bearing my assumptions in mind, we already have created 15000 jobs in the NGO space alone. Is Progress inevitable?  

Lastly, private sector can also play a role in the creation of jobs in this sector. As far as my knowledge is concerned, I understand that companies need to adhere to triple bottom line reporting, that is profit, people and earth. If the Social responsibility department of each company adopt an NGO, sponsor it, while employing someone who will be based in that NGO representing the company in question as an officer while ensuring that the funds invested in this NGO are not being misappropriated and abused. If this can be a reality, In addition to that 15000 jobs, additional few hundred jobs are being added on to this figure.

We all have a role to play in making this rainbow nation a thriving one and the responsibility to create sustainable jobs cannot solely be left to government and big business. Good people NGOs are businesses, it is just that there is a lack of will, time and expertise to develop this NGOs into institute that can change the lives of our people in a profound way.

I am not naïve to think that what I have presented here is totally idealistic; in fact the possibility of this happening is as difficult as proverbial fly trying to push a dunghill. But spare a thought of its viability thereof?

It is for this reason and this ideal that make me think that we need to take NGOs a little bit seriously. Run them while adhering to code of corporate governance and sponsor them while checking from time to time that our money is being used for the purpose it is intended.  

I am a dreamer and a strategist and I am going to work hard in Dynamic Dreamers NPC to ensure that we do create 5 sustainable jobs in our community, while building it into a self-sustaining entity.

For more information on Dynamic Dreamers, please click here!

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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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