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Managing Non-Governmental Organizations in Botswana

The Inn ovation Journ al: The Public Sect or Innov ation Journal , Vo lume 12 (3), 2007 , Art icle 10 .

Managing Non-Governmental O rganizations in Botswana

Dr M. LEKOR WE
Centre of Specialization in P ublic Adm inistrative& Managem ent, University of Botswana,
Bag UB 007 05, Gaborone, BOTSWANA
Tel: +267 3552741, Fax: + 267 317 0706
lekorwem @ mopipi.ub.bw

Dr D. MPABANGA
Departm ent of Politica l & Adm inistr ative S tudie s, University of Botswana,
Bag UB 007 05, Gaborone, BOTSWANA
Tel: +267 355 2380, Fax: + 267 317 0706
mpabanga@mopipi.ub.bw

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The Inn ovation Journ al: The Public Sect or Innov ation Journal , Vo lume 12 (3), 2007 , Art icle 10 .

Managing Non-Governmental O rganizations in Botswana

Dr M. LEKOR WE
Centre of Specialization in P ublic Adm inistrative& Managem ent, University of Botswana,
Bag UB 007 05, Gaborone, BOTSWANA
Tel: +267 3552741, Fax: + 267 317 0706
lekorwem @ mopipi.ub.bw

Dr D. MPABANGA
Departm ent of Politica l & Adm inistr ative S tudie s, University of Botswana,
Bag UB 007 05, Gaborone, BOTSWANA
Tel: +267 355 2380, Fax: + 267 317 0706
mpabanga@mopipi.ub.bw

Abstract

This paper explores the extent to which non-governm ental orga nizations are m anaged in the
context of Botswana. The paper is based m ainly on secondary data analysis. The results
indicate that NGOs are efficiently managed in Botswana, particularly in the areas of hu man
rights. One of the m ajor factors im pacting managem ent efficiency of non-governm ental
organizations is reduced international funding, pa rticularly after Botswana was re-categorized
as a m id inco me country. The research concludes that the previously held fact, that NGOs in
Botswana enjoyed international funding, has now el apsed. T his has affected their capacity to
effectively lobby, develop, deliver and sustain them selves. Furtherm ore, reduced financial
resources have im pacted the NGOs’ financial and hu man resource bases.

Key Words:

Non-governm ent Organizations, Not-for-profit Organizations, Strategi c Managem ent, Hum an
Rights, Democracy, and Good Governance.

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The Inn ovation Journ al: The Public Sect or Innov ation Journal , Vo lume 12 (3), 2007 , Art icle 10 .
Managing Non-Governmental Organizations in Botsw ana

Introductio n

This paper aim s to explore and evaluate the m ana gem ent of non-governmental organizations in
Botswana. The paper critically ass esses the ex tent to which these organizations are m anaged.
The paper is organised as follows. First, it gives an overview of the concept of NGOs. Second,
the paper delves into the disc ussion of the relations between NGOs and the state. This
discussion is im portant as the interaction betw een the two can easily have an im pact on the
manage ment and operation of NGOs . Third, we l ook at the governance and m anagem ent issues
within NGOs. Fourth, the developm ent of NGOs in Botswana is exam ined. Five NGOs in
Botswana were selected to be used as case studies. These are the cen tre fo r hum an rights, a
wo men’s civil organization, a youth NGO, a trade union, and the national association of civil
organisations in Botswana. Fifth, we consider factors which impact the ef ficient m anagem ent
of NGOs in Botswana. Sixth, the paper exam ines the m anagem ent refor ms taking place within
the NGO sector; this includes lessons learnt and suggestions for im prove ment. The last section
concludes and summarises the issues discussed.

Methodology

This research is m ainly based on secondary da ta analysis. Various organizational docum ents
obtained from the selected non-governm ental or ganizations were reviewed and analysed.

What are Non-Govern mental Organi zations?

All over the globe there is an upsurge in th e establishm ent of private, non-profit or non-
governm ental organ izations. W e are witne ssing an unprecedented global association al
revolution that is likely to prove significant in th e twentieth c entury, as w as the r ise of the
nation -sta te in the late n ineteen th cen tury. The ro le of developm ent aid in this upsurge has been
phenom enal, aside from the fact th at such deve lopm ents have been a dversely affected by the
absence of a generally accepted transnationa l or tr ans-historical definition of these
organizations (Chim anikire, 2003).

The term NGO is broad and am biguous. It covers a range of organizations within civil society,
from politic al ac tion gro ups to spor ts clubs. I ts c lear def initio n still r emains contes ted .
However, it can be argued that all N GO’s can be regarded as civil so ciety organizations though
not all civil society organizat ions are NGO’s. Th e concept of NGO ca me into use in 1945
following the establishm ent of the United Nation s Organizations which recognized the need to
give a consultative role to orga nizations which were not classi fied as governm ent nor m ember
states (W illett, 2002). N GOs take different form s and play dif ferent ro les in different
continents, with the NGO sector being m ost developed in Latin Am erica and parts of Asia.
The roots of NGOs are different according to the geographical and historical context. They
have recently been regarded as part of the “third sector” or not-fo r-profit organizations.
Although there is contestation of the definition of an NGO, it is widely accepted that these are
organizations which pursue activities to relieve the suffering, prom ote interests of the poor,
protect the environm ent, provide basic social services, and undertake community developm ent
(Cleary, 1997).

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The Inn ovation Journ al: The Public Sect or Innov ation Journal , Vo lume 12 (3), 2007 , Art icle 10 .
Such organizations should have certain funda mental features which distinguish them from
others (Stephenson, 2003). For organizations to be recognized as not-for-profit, they should
satisf y th e f ollowing c riter ia:

First, an NG O should be privately set up and su fficiently autonom ous in its activity, that is
independent of direct governm ental control. Secondly, an NGO should also be non-profit,
which would clearly def ine its vol untary character. Thirdly, it ca nnot be considered a political
party with an aim of attaining political pow er. F ourthly, an NGO s hould support developm ent
which dem onstrates its public interest character (Schiavo-Campo et al, 2001).

According to Turner and Hul me: “NGOs are generally registered organizations, community
groups, professional associations, trade unions, coope rate charity organizations whose aim is to
im prove the well being of their m embers and of those areas in which they exists” (T urner and
Hul me, 1997: 200).

The W orld Bank, on the other hand, sees NGO’s as private organizations that pursue activities
to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect th e environm ent, provide basic
social services, and/or undert ake community developm ent (WB, 2001). In this paper the term s
non-govern mental organization and not-for-prof it org anizations will be used interch angeably
under the umbrella of civil society.

There are a m ix o f forces which have fuelle d the rapid rise and prom inence of NGOs. The
prevalence o f weak states and declining m arkets in Africa has led to the proliferation of NGOs
as the on ly a lte rnative to pr om ote grassroots developm ent. Thus, the developm ent oriented
NGOs are not only located between the state and th e m arket, in term s of institutional space, but
are also em erging as, wh at Levy calls , a critical ‘third sector’ that fosters the developm ent of
the m arginalized groups. The received wisdom is that NGOs are m ore flexible and adaptive
than governm ents, are quick to respond to peopl e’s needs and are also cost effective.
According to Salam on, 1993, the ascendancy of ne o-liberalism in the la te twentieth century
also created a global env ironm ent for this th ird sector. The poor perf orm ance of the public
sector in developing countrie s has led to a search for m ore effectiv e and efficient
organizational form s of the delivery of public services.

There are certain features which differentiate NGOs fro m governm ent agencies, even when
they are perf orm ing si milar roles. N GOs have the capacity to experim ent and learn from
experience, linking processes to outcom es and are also ab le to enlis t the en ergies and
comm itment of intended beneficiaries. Fowl er (1988) has identifie d two key distinctive
characteristics of NGOs.

Firstly, the relationship of the NGO with intended beneficiaries is based upon principles of
voluntarism rather than those of control which is typical of governm ent. This m eans that
intended beneficiaries are involved in program design and m anagem ent and if this happens, the
program s stand a better chance of su ccess as they ar e m ore likely to be re levant and attractive.
(Korten,1980; Oakley and Marsden, 1984). Seco ndly, it is argued that N GOs have a task
orien ted app roach th at p erm its them to achieve appropriate organizational developm ent, which
encourages change and diversity rather th an control and uniform ity, which m ay ha mper
progress.

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The Inn ovation Journ al: The Public Sect or Innov ation Journal , Vo lume 12 (3), 2007 , Art icle 10 .
The growth of this third sect or is therefore influenced by its com parative advantage o ver
governm ents. More specifically, the advantag es that NGOs or not-fo r-profit organizations
have over governm ents include some of the following:

i) achiev ing th e correct relationsh ip betw een developm ent processes and outcom es;
ii) reach ing the poor, targ eting th eir assistance on ch osen groups;
iii) obtaining true m eaningful particip ation of the intended beneficiaries;
iv) working with the people and then choosi ng the correct form of assistance for them ,
i.e. not being dom inated by resources as the basis for the relationship;
v) being flexible and res ponsive to their works;
vi) working with and streng thening loca l institu tions ;
vii) achieving outcom es at less cost (Tredt, 1998: 129)

It should, however, be noted that although NGO s in the eyes of th e International donor
community are cost effective and are better pl aced to reach the poor, there is very little
evidence that supports this assertion (R obinson, 1992; Farrington and Bebbington, 1993).

NGO-Stat e Relations

There is no doubt that with increasing dem ands on the state by the ci tizens, the state can no
longer be the sole provider of goods and services. It is also true that th e support and interest in
NGOs has g rown as a result of the failure by state agencies to deliver services. Thus, the state
and NGOs n eed each other. In term s of their re lation with the state, Clark (1991) provides a
liberalist view in term s of three options; they can com plement, reform , and/or oppose the state.

In the ir ro le of com plementing the state, th ey act as the im plem enters of developm ent
activities. In this case as argued by Tho mas, (1992) NGOs fi ll the gaps left by the public
service. Th e role of the state b ecomes m ore of an enabler rather than a provider of services. In
their reform ing role NGOs are seen as agents of advocacy and contribute imm ensely to policy
dialogue. N GOs are able to represent the intere sts of the people they work with and in this
case can ensure that policies are adaptable to r eal life situations. Fi nally, NGOs can o ppose the
state. They can do this b y acting as watchdogs and holding the state acco untable. Th is can be
achieved through several m ethods including lobbyi ng or even overtly supporting groups which
are adversely affected by the pol icies of the governm ent (Thom as, 1992). An exa mple is the
Survival International (SI) which is an inte rnational NGO based in the United Kingdo m that
supports the Basarwa in Botswana in their refu sal of relocation from the Central Kgalagadi
Gam e Reserve (CKGR).

From the for egoing, it is clear that NGO-governm ent relationships are co mplex and diverse and
are likely to affect the manage ment of NGO activities. The rela tionships are affected by the
specific contextual factors which m ay include th e nature of NGOs objectives and strategies, the
area of operation of an NGO, the behavior of the donor and the nature and character of the
regim e (Turner & Hulm e, 1997). These relations al so differ from country to country. In som e
countries certain regim es are favourable to NGOs while in others the re lations are antagonistic.

In order for NGOs to realize their potential contribution and to efficiently m anage their
activities, a healthy relationship between them and the governm ent is essential. This healthy
relationship can be conceivable only if both pa rties share the sam e objectives. If the
governm ent’s comm itment to poverty reduction is weak, then NGOs are likely to view
collaborating with governm ent as counter-pr oductive. In the sam e vein, dictatorial
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governm ents will be wary of NGOs which tend to be sym pathetic to the poor. In this case
NGOs will not value a positive re lationship with governm ent and m ay choose to go their own
way and attempt to m ake life difficult for governm ent agencies.

However, in cases where the govern ment has a positiv e social agenda which resonates with the
NGOs, there is potential for a str ong, collaborative relationship. Ho wever, even where there is
room for cooperation, jealousies and m istrust between NGOs and governm ents are deep rooted.
Governm ents always have the fear that NGOs will erode their political power and NGOs also
mistrust the motivations of gove rnm ent officials (Fowler, 1992).

Governance and Management Issues of NGOs

The issue of good governance is the key to th e functioning of NGOs. It implies that the
effective m anagem ent of an NGO’s resources is done in a m anner which is transparent,
accountable, equitable and responsive to the needs of the people. Since NGOs aim at
becom ing sustainable, then good governance is criti cal to their existence. In m any developing
countries NGOs often lack the institutional capac ity and resources to operate. Also, f unds
from donors are som etim es poorly m anaged. Thus , in order to ensure effective and proper
manage ment of resources, good governance becom es an i mportant aspect of every NGO. One
of the key requirem ents for good governance is acc ountability. The issue this creates is to
whom are NGOs accountable? At first this quest ion m ay appear to have an easy answ er.
Obviously they are exp ected to acco unt for the u se of resources to th e funders. However, the
ability to ensure that acc ountability exists, am ong the NGOs and to all those concerned,
rem ains debatable. NGO staff m embers are not elected and ordinary people have no
mechanis ms for bringing them to account for th eir actions. Unlike govern ments, who have to
get elected and can only avoi d accou ntability through violen ce or coercion and in bu siness
where consum ers can decide where to spend their m oney, NGOs have no obvious
accountability structures. NGOs them selves see the n eed to take this issue seriously as there is
a growing emphasis on the need for proper m onitoring.

There are a nu mber of ways in which NGOs can improve on their governance and m anagem ent
operations. These include the following:

• Stating their m ission, values a nd objectives clearly and ensuri ng that these strategies are
followed
• Better hum an resources developm ent and traini ng for their m anagers and staff including
board m embers and volunteers
• Better m anagem ent processes as well as financial m anage ment, accounting, and budget
system s.

Neverthe les s, in orde r f or these syste ms to be implem ented, comm itted staf f and leadership
within the NGOs the mselves are re quired. The expanded role of NG Os in the delivery of public
servic es is likely to af fect the po tential of th ese organizations. The work of NGOs is much
more difficult and dem anding now as they are ex pected to deliver quality with such lim ited
resources. Problem s arise where governm ents sh ift m ajor responsibilit ies to the NGO sector.
According to Schiavo-C ampo (2001), som e NGO s do not have the tim e and expertise to
manage all of the funded program s, or even to ensure full involvem ent by all of the
communitie s, as is no rmally c laim ed. In som e cases, where there a re m any departm ents try ing
to deal with the NGOs, the problem s m ay be cr eated by the governm ents them selves. Also,
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staff at the local level m ay not be fam iliar with governm ent policies and th is affects efficiency
of the NGOs because of tensions which m ay arise. The following section outlines the
evolution of NGOs and the context unde r which NGOs operate in Botswana.

NGOs in Botsw ana

NGOs in Bo tswana are em erging in a country that has done very well in term s of soc io-
econom ic developm ent and m anagem ent. Botswana is a sm all country that was blessed with
the discovery of diam onds. The governm ent has, ove r the years, used finances earned from the
diam ond industry to develop the econom y and provide a variety of developm ental and social
services to its people. The c ountry has also adopted very good m acroeconom ic m ana gem ent
policies which have helped Botswana design and im plem ent various inf rastruc tura l an d
developm ent projects. T he country boasts one of the longest surviving democracies in all of
Africa and also has a stable political econom y.

Despite such strid es, civ il society h as em erged in order to sup plem ent the state’s ef forts in
providing sustainable developm ent, social services and program s to its people. The civil
society, in both developed and developing count ries, has em erged in order to supplement the
failures of th e sta te to ef fectiv ely de liver serv ice s and develop ment to all to its c itizenr y. It is
through the com plementary efforts of civil so ciety and interest groups that good governance
can be prom oted. These sam e efforts also help to ensure that governm ent goods and services
reach the grassroots, the poor, th e m arginalized, the disadvan taged in society, both fairly and
equitab ly. T he state and civil society need to supp lem ent and com plem ent each other’s efforts
in term s of t he developm ental and service deli very agenda. Civil society em erged in Africa,
particularly in the 1980s when international financia l institutions, donor agencies and Western
governm ents shifted som e their aid from Afri can governm ents to civil society (Molom o and
Som olekae, 1999).

Non-Governm ental Organizations now play an important role in any country. Non-
Governm ental Organisations provide an um bre lla of services including the prom otion of
equality and hum an rights, legal services, e ducation and training program s, socio-econom ic
political empowerm ent, and em ploy ment creation schem es. Civil so ciety continues to play an
im portant ro le in any d eveloped and developing s ociety b ecau se they help citizens participate
and influence the decision m aking process as well as the m anagem ent of public affairs.
Through civil society, citizens t oo can m ake an impact on the decision making processes at
both central and local governm ent levels. Accord ing to Diam ond (1994), civil society refers to
the ‘realm of organized social lif e that is voluntary, self-gener ating (largely), self supporting,
autonom ous from the state, and bound by a legal order or set of shared rules’ (cited in
Lekorwe, 1999: 87).

According to Maundeni (2005), ci vil society in B otswana is very weak and organizations
usually lobby bureaucracy rather than politicians as a result. Furtherm ore, Maundeni asserts
that ci vil soci ety i s char act erized by ad-hoc ways of organi zing. That is, civil society
organizations are tem porary in nature as they ad dress par ticu lar issue s in th e socie ty an d then
go into a state of decline. Lekorwe (1999) also argues that ‘civil society in Botswana is weak
and lacks the capacity to organize itself’ (1999: 95). Lekorwe (1999) argues further that despite
the fact that Botswana has built a su ccessful democracy, th e civil soc iety struc tures still r emain
weak. De mocracy is believed to be one of the mechanism s that prom otes and facilitates the
growth of a strong civil society. As pointed out by Molom o and Som olekae (1999), ‘it is an
undisputab le fact that d emocracy is h ollow and meaningless if not accom panied by th e
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existence of a strong civil society seeking to re present non-governm ental in terests’ (1999: 99).
Lekorwe (1999) argues that one of the factors that im pede the gr owth of a strong civil society
in Botswana is a shortag e of citizens knowledgeable in the managem ent of NGOs.
Furtherm ore, Lekorwe argues that the fact th at there are only a lim ited number of volunteers
that run the affairs of NGOs also has an affect on their developm ent. There is also the issue of
adequate tim e availability, esp ecially in term s of the public a nd private sector em ployees who
lend their services and knowledge to civil society. In addition, Lekorwe mainta ins th at the f act
that civil servants are not perm itted to engage in lobbying and other po litical activities actually
ham pers the developm ent of NGOs i n the countr y. The lim ited num ber o f educated individuals
who support and actively participate in the activitie s of civil society also affects the growth of
NGOs and interest groups. The fact that the state controls the pub lic m edia also has an affect
on the developm ent of civil society in Botswa na. The sources of public media, such as
newspapers, radio and television, which are acce ssed by the m ajority of th e population are
contro lled b y the state. This lim its their po tent ial use and creates b iased publication regarding
civil society issues. The biggest problem , as noted by Hirschm an (1970), is the attitude of the
people, because they believe that there is no use in putting pressure on the state ‘since no one is
prepared to listen to them ’ (cited in Lekorwe, 1999).

Molutsi (1995) argues that one of the factors contributing to the weaknesses of ci vil so ciety is
that the concept of non-governm ental organiza tions was im ported from outside by donor
agencies in response to the African states. The st ructure of civil society is inward looking and
less engaging when it com es to policy issues. In some cases, g overnm ents in Africa spite civ il
society because of the sy mpathetic attention they receive from international organizations and
donor agencies (Molomo, 1996). Furtherm ore, d onor agencies have often favoured not–for-
profit organizations in order to generate conf rontational politics betw een civil society and
African states. However, Lekorwe (1999) argues th at som e of the civil society and interest
groups in B otswana are m anipulated by the governm ent through state funding. Som e of the
civil society organizations are therefore not able to openly cr iticize and cha llenge governm ent
because of their dep end ency on state funding. As pointed ou t by Molom o and Som olekae
(1999), NGOs in Botswana are m ore interested in welfare issues than issues relating to politics
and good governance. T he reasoning behind this perspe ctive is that they find such m atters to be
too political. For exam ple, churches are m ore in terested in m oral and sp iritua l issu es than
developm ental issues. However, the authors furt her argue that there ar e other NGO sectors that
advocate for political issues including issues dealing with democr acy, good governance, as
well as legal, constitutional and human ri ghts. Exam ples include wo men’s NGOs which
advocate for the prom otion and em powerm ent of wom en, the provision of educational
opportunities for school drop outs, and operating day care centres, while hu man rights NGOs
advocate for dem ocracy, good governance, in ad dition to leg al and cons titution al righ ts
(Molom and Som olekae, 1999).

However, as noted by Maundeni (2005), a lot has happened since 1996, including socio-
econom ic and political changes that have occu rred in Botswana. The civil society has been
transf orm ed as well, in te rm s of its str ucture, core roles and the overall m anagem ent of t heir
activities. However, the effective m anagem ent of these NGOs is still affected by financial and
managerial constra ints, as will b e de monstrated later in the p aper. The f ollowing se ction brief ly
discusses the roles, activities, and overall m anagem ent of selected NGOs in Botswana.

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Ditshw anel o – The Botsw ana Centre for Human Rights

The Centre for Hum an Rights was established in 1993 with the overall objective of ‘the
creation of a hum an rights culture in Botswana ’ (Ditshwanelo, 2004). Ditshwanelo is the only
not-for-profit organization in Bots wana responsible for dealing w ith hum an rights issues in the
country. As outlin ed in the centre’s m ission, ‘th e centre seeks to affirm hum an dignity and
equality irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientat ion, social status or political
convictions’ (Ditshwanelo, 2004: 3). The centre’ s m ission is linked to Botswana’s National
Vision 2016 , which stip ulates that everyone sho uld be acco rded the right to liv e their lives with
dignity. Overall, the centre strive s to achieve a so ciety in which:
• Everyone is equal before the law
• The general population is aware of what hum an rights are, and understands and
supports the rights of those who are different from them selves
• The public hears about hum an rights viola tions and puts pressure on the governm ent
and/or perpetrators to redress the violation
• Everyone understands their ri ghts and is aware of opportuni ties to address their legal
matters
• Everyone has access to afford able legal assistance
• Everyone has the confidence and skills necessary to be able to stand up for their righ ts
(Ditshwanelo 2004: 3).

The above objectives are achieved through a va riety of program s including inter-dependent
program s and activities. The centre is an advocate for a variety of program s including
HIV/AIDS and Hum an Rights, the marg inalized m inority group known as the Basarwa , the
abolition of the death penalty, paralegal trai ning and legal advice, ch ildr en’s righ ts, th e
dom estic workers’ project, land rights, gays, lesbians and bisexuals, rights based developm ent,
and African citizenship. Ditshwan elo has had a huge im pact in the country, especially when it
com es to advocating for issues relating to hum an rights. For exam ple, the centre lobbies for
legal representation for those who can not afford atto rneys, th ey attem pt to save the lives of
those facing the possibility of th e death penalty, as well as resc uing abused children. S ome of
the m ajor achievem ents of the centre include several new publications, including a booklet on
‘Inheritance Rights’ and one on the ‘ Alterna tive to the pro deo system ’. The centre
continuously advocates for changes in specific laws. For example, the abolition of the death
penalty, they encourage the governm ent to sign, ratify and im plem ent in ternational treaties,
they argue for the provision of legal advocates against incidences of corruption, they argue for
more transparency and accountabil ity, as well as the freedom of infor mation and of the press.
The centr e h as rec ently c ontribu ted to the Mar ital Power Bill which cam e into ef fect in May
2005.

However, Ditshwanelo is seriously under reso urced as it is a non-m embership NGO and does
not accep t funding from the govern ment (Ma undeni, 2005). The hum an r ights centre’s
financial resources are mainly sourced from dono r agencies, volunteers, and other supporters.
As m entioned earlier on, the m anagem ent of the centre has been a ffected by reduced donor
funding due to Botswana’s re-classification as an upper-m id incom e country (Ditshwanelo,
2004). Som e of the factors affecting the eff ective m anage ment of the Centre include
insufficient funding and a shortage of staff. A lack of funding by international donor agencies
may force the centre to s cale down its activ ities. Yet another challenge, as argued by
Ditshwanelo (2004), is ‘the continuous need to ensure that the concept of hum an rights is well
understood to mean ‘all should live their daily lives as self resp ecting beings’. The centre also
maintains that the governm ent needs to honour its responsibility of ensuring that the people
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within th e b orders live their liv es with dignity. As pointed out by Ditshwanelo, Botswana has
been perceiv ed as a shin ing dem ocracy in Africa, it is the refore im perativ e that this d emocracy
is accom panied by equality, equ ity, p articipati on, consultation , accountab ility, and resp ect for
hum an rights. Despite these challe nges, the centre has opened an office in the northern part of
the country in order to further prom ote a nd assist people with hum an rights issues.

Emang Basadi Women ’s Association

This is a wom en’s organization which was establ ished in 1986 by a group of wom en i nterested
in im proving the legal, social, cultural, and eco no mi c status of wo me n in Botswana. The m ain
objectives of Em ang Ba sadi (Stand Up W omen) in clude the identificatio n of problem s related
to wom en through discussion and research and th e developm ent of action oriented strategies
with a view to change th e socio-econ omic and legal status of wom en. Furtherm ore, the
association aim s at mobili zing and increasing awareness among wom en and the public
regard ing sp ecific prob lem s faced by wom en. Emang Basadi also aim s to emphasize th e role of
wom en and enhance the recognition of wom en’s participation in national developm ent. Issues
rela ting to g reater soc ial equality and the rem ova l of cultura l a nd legal b arriers, which prohibits
the advancem ent of wom en, are the integral parts of Em ang’ s m andate (Em ang Basadi, 2006).
Em ang Basadi targets g roups of wom en in politics and decision m aking position s, wom en’s
wings of political parties , as well as the yout h an d voters in g eneral. The organization is
involved in a variety of ac tivities, including re search which lies particular ly in the areas of law,
rape, and v iolence ag ain st wom en. Em ang Basadi also of fers leade rship s kills tr aining to
wom en who are in politics and m anagerial positions.

This NGO h ad been successful in a variety of ar eas, including the supervision of the October
2004 national elections, together with Ditshwan elo. Som e of Em ang’s publications include
‘W omen and Law in Botswana’ (19 87), ‘Gender and Develo pm ent of W omen Politic ians’
(1980), and ‘Setting an Agenda for Wom en’s Empower ment Towards 1999’ (1997). As noted
earlier, the m ajor challenge faced by Em ang is th e reduced fu nding by international d onor
agencies. This has advers ely affected Em ang a nd ham pered it in attain ing som e its m andates.
Nevertheless, Em ang had a strategic plan calle d ‘Plan of 2002 to 2006’. T he plan entailed a
variety of projects which were aim ed at em powering and promoting women’s status. Wom en
and Law in Southern Africa T rust (WLSA) is a non-governm ental organization whose
objectives and activities are som ewhat related to those of Emang Basadi, though they have a
wider area of coverage. WLSA wa s established in 1989 in order to foster the socio-econom ic,
political, and legal advancem en t of wom en in the Southern African Developm ent Comm unity
(SADC) region. W LSA’ s overall objectives are to conduct research on issues related to the law
and to educate wom en o n their legal rights. This NGO targets wo men in all SADC m ember
states, public policy m akers, and also the jus tic e delive ry sys tem . W LSA’s m ain activities
include : m aintenance la w issues, in heritance la ws , e merging fa mily form s, and violence against
wom en.

Botswana National Youth Counc il (BNYC)

BNYC was established through th e presidential directive of 1974 (Maundeni, 2005). Mem bers
are elected from the leaders of affiliate youth organizations and district y outh councils. This
NGO is fun ded by the governm ent and other donor agencies. BNYC is mainly interested in
prom oting the interests of the youth in the coun try through program s that provide such things
as youth econo mic and political em powerm ent. T he NGO strives to prom ote the status of the
youth and also lobbies the governm ent in order to garner support for the country’s youth in
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term s of providing leadership positions, changes to the health system to make it m ore youth
friendly, as well as promoting their involvem ent and influence on i ssues relating to land
allocation in the country. The BNYC has had so me im pact in prom oting the interests of young
people in the country. F or instance, through B NYC youth were successful in lobbying the
governm ent in order to reduce the age for m embership to the land board from 30 years of age
to 28 (Maundeni, 2005). The BNYC had initially proposed 18 years of age, but the governm ent
reached a co mprom ise so that m embership to th e land board should be restricted on ly to those
aged 28 and above. The BNYC has also m anaged to influence the health system , forcing them
to change their attitude when attending to the youth, and lobbie d for the establishm ent of youth
centres throughout the c ountry (Maundeni, 2005).

Trade Unions

Trade unions also play a significant role in the civil society in Botswana. The m ost significant
trade un ions are th e Bots wana Federation of Trad e Unions (BFTU), Botswana Teach ers Union
(BTU), Botswana Secondary Teachers Union (B OFETU) and the Botswana Prim ary Schools
Association (BOPRITA) . The BFTU was for med in 1971 and has 25 union s in affiliatio n with
it. The BFTU has branches across the country and is funded through m embership fees. The
BFTU as a parent organization has rem ained we ak, as argued by Obassi et al, (2006), and has
not m ade an im pact in the country’s econom y ( M pabanga, 2005). Som e of the factors which
im pact the effectiveness of tr ade unions include legal, political , organizational, and cultural
constraints (Obassi et al, 2006). Trade unions in Botswana are not well developed and
organized when com pared to other countries . Som e of m ajor the factors affecting the
effectiveness and m anagem ent of trade unions are the lack of organization and a poor
membership base. As argued by Obassi et al (2006), som e m embers of BFTU have stopped
paying their m embership fees becaus e of feeli ngs of ineffectiveness towards the parent union
who they accuse of not fulfilli ng its m andate of prom oting thei r interests. Governm ent laws
regarding unions have not been conducive to the developm ent of trade unions. For example,
the le aders o f unions are not allowed, by law, to b e working o n a f ulltim e basis (Obas si et a l,
2006). Hence, this affects their potential effec tiveness and impact. However, the latest changes
to the trade unions and labour law of 1984, wh ich was am ended in 2004, will transfo rm the
developm ent, governance, and activities of the trade unions in Botswana.

Despite thes e challenges , som e trade unions ar e striving to hav e an im pact in f ulfilling
members’ dem ands, suc h as BTU. One of the m ajor dem ands of BTU is the dem ocratization of
the education system in the country. The current practice with regards to the education system
is such th at teachers do n ot participate in the po licy m aking and develop ment of the
curriculum . Discussions are underway with the Ministry of Educa tion in an attem pt to get rid
of the centralised system wh ich entails unfair HR practices such as the unf air hiring,
transferring and prom otion of teachers (Maund en i, 2005).

There are many other N GOs operating in Botswana which have not been covered in this paper.
For exam ple, there are N GOs dealing specifica lly with issue s related to HI V/AIDS. The
HIV/AIDS epidem ic has affected the African c ontinent m ore so that any other in the world.
Countries in Southern Africa are amongst the m ost affected in th e continent. The civil society
is, therefore, com plementing the efforts of govern ments in Afr ica, and Botswana in particular,
to com bat the advers e effects of HIV/AIDS on the socio-econom ic lives of people. The
governm ent, the National AIDS Coordinating Ag ency (NACA), the private sector, and NGOs
are striv ing to m inim ise the im pact that HI V/AIDS has on productivity and the erosion of
hum an capital and hum an resource levels in vario us econom ic sectors and communities.
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Concerted efforts by the governm ent, NACA, priv ate sector, Community Based Organizations
(CBOs), and NGOs are aim ed at encouraging people to go for voluntary testing, offering
HIV/AIDS treatm ent and counsel ling, in addition to hom e based care and support services for
those affected and their fam ilies. NACA and HIV/AIDS NGOs and CBOs are m ainly funded
by the governm ent and international donor agenci es. They are m anaged by volunteers as well
as a few complem entary/perm anent staff. Their m anage ment has recently com e under attack in
the m edia, particularly on issues relati ng to good governance (Botswana Daily News, 2006).
They have b een accused of financial mismanage ment and maladm inistration.

BOCONGO

BOCONGO was established in 1995 as an um brella body for non-governm ental organizations
in Botswana. BOC ONGO enjoys the m embersh ip of over seventy NGOs in the country,
ranging in a variety of issues, such as hum an rights, health, youth, religious and women
(BOCONGO, 2006). The m ain m ission of BOCONC O is to provide an enabling environm ent
for the NGO sector to becom e a recognized part ner in the developm ent process in Botswana
and internationally. Furtherm ore, BOCONGO aim s to promote experience sharing with other
NGOs as we ll as provide assistance to m embers on issues relating to networking, capacity
building, inform ation dissem ination, and polic y advocacy. BOCONGO is partly funded by the
governm ent and the African Developm ent Found ation. This NGO is engaged in a variety of
activities including: si tting in the Vision 2016 council, i nvolvem ent in election observation,
and conducting worksho ps on electoral reform and the em powerm ent of wom en. In addition,
BOCONGO prom otes awareness amongst the rura l populace regarding the New Partnership
for African Developm en t (NEPAD), which aim s to reduce poverty in rural areas. This NGO
has also assisted a num ber of rural NGOs in im pr oving their ad ministrative capacity and their
networking with other NGOs in the developm ent of the country. In addition, BOCONGO
dissem inates inform ation fro m other re gional and international NGOs. BOCONGO
acknowledg es the effect that reduced funding from internatio nal donors will have on the
financial resources of civil society in th e country (BOCONGO, 2005). The following section
gives an overview assessm ent of factors which impact the ef fective m anagem ent of NGOS in
Botswana.

Factors Impacting Efficien t Management of NGOs

Financial Resources

As noted earlier in this paper, one of the m ajor factors im pacti ng the effective m anagem ent and
sustainability of NGOs is the nature of their dependability on donor funding. A m ajority of
civil society organizations in developed and deve loping countries were es tablished in order to
com plement and supplem ent governm ents’ developm ental and service delivery efforts.
Multilateral organizations such as th e United Nations, W orld Bank, Commonwealth
Secretariat, as well as regiona l organizations such as the European Union, African Union and
SADC have funded NGOs’ program s and activitie s. Funds were channelled through the civil
society organizations to foster developm ent and im prove service delivery at the grassroots
level. In the case of Botswana, donor agencies have reduced their funding of NGOs once the
country was elevated to an upper-m id incom e stat us. This has lead to som e the closing down of
som e NGOs in Botswana due to a lack of fundi ng and insufficient staffing levels. The common
im pact of fi nancial dependence on donor f unding is that once donors pull their financial
support, NGOs collapse. As pointed out by Ditshw anelo (2004), one of the m ajor threats to
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their existence and the carrying out of their m andates is the reduced funding which may force
them to scale down their activ ities.

Most NGOs in Africa and Botswana in particular, lack clearly defined st ructures in term s o f
organizational charts, buildings, facilities , equipm ent and hum an resources. The m ajor
contributory factor to this is the cons traint th at lim ited financ ial resources places on th e ability
of NGOs to enable, plan, organize, and design cl early defined structures as well as eq uip their
offices with adequate equipm ent and facilities. A s noted by Molom o and Som olekae (1999),
the key weakness of NGOs in Africa is the in appropr iate or ga nizational structures which
im pact the m anner in which NGOs carry out their core business. However, Ditshwanelo is one
of the m ost well establishe d and longest surviving NGOs (1 2 years) and it has an
organizational structure that links various pr ogram s and activities to the centre, and also
supports hum an resource requirem ents (Ditshwanelo, 2004).

Human Resources Man agement an d HR Development

As noted earlier in the paper, m ost if not all NGOs depend on voluntary staff to run their
activities and program s. NGOs, therefore, genera lly do not have control over the quality of
labour they obtain. Their staffing levels are determ ined by thos e who volunteer their services
and whether or not they have tim e available. So me of the personnel used to run the affairs of
NGOs are not well trained to effectively carry out their duties. A lack of well trained and
experienced HR lim its th e exten t to which NGO s are able to m anage their daily affairs and
their capacity to effectiv ely plan, appraise, im plem ent, a nd monitor their projects and
program s. The other issue is th e fact that the m ost knowledgeable and experienced volunteers
do not normally provide adequate support for NGOs’ activities pa rtly because they are not
allowed, by law, to be actively involv ed and partly because of the lim ited tim e they have to
render their services (Lekorwe, 1999).

Strategic Management

Som e NGOs in Botswana are m oving towards refo rming their stru ctures and roles in order to
ensure th at they have a clear d irectio n and strate gy of how to get to where they want to be in
the next few years. For exam ple, Ditshwan elo has a m ission and vision statem ent which
reflects their core business of prom oting and protecting hum an rights in B otswana.
BOCONGO has a m ission statem ent that articula tes th e desir e to es tablis h an enablin g
environm ent for the NGO/CBO sector so that th ey can becom e recognized partners in the
developm ent process both in Botswana and in ternationally. In a ddition, BOCONGO has a
strategic plan outlin ing its ac tivities and program s for the ne xt five years (BOCONGO, 2006).
Em ang Basadi had a strategic plan covering 2002 to 2006. The Centre for Hum an Rights and
BOCONGO have developed websites which prov ide information on their m issions, visions,
values, and strategic goals. The Centre for Hum an Rights also has annual reports, up to 2004,
that can be obtained from their website. Th is shows that although so me NGOs have capacity
problem s, they still aim to have their aspirations and long term strategic goals spelt ou t in order
to indicate the directions they would take now and in the future, thus promoting visionary
leadership.

Democracy and Good Governance

De mocracy and good governance are currently regard ed as key aspects of m anage ment in any
organization. Multilateral and regional orga nizations em phasise th e im por tance of thes e
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concepts as motivation to fund civil society. However, a lack of de mocratic practices,
transpa rency , and accoun tability are s ome of the factors im peding the ef fective m anagem ent of
NGOs in Africa. Botswana is not an exception to this trend, as is evident in recent reports.
Molom o and Som olekae (1999) give exam ples of unde mocratic practices found in som e NGOs
in Botswana, where periodic el ections are a rare occurrence. Issues surrounding a lack of
accountability have recently b een exposed by the m edia. For exam ple, som e NGOs dealing
with the HIV/AIDS epidem ic in Botswana have been accused of m aladministration, financial
mismanage ment, and the m isuse of donor and public funds which were channelled through
them (Botswana Daily News 2006). They were al so accused of lacking tim ely reporting to the
funding agency (Botswana Guardian, 2006). Furthe rm ore, som e HIV/AIDS NGOs have been
accused of lacking th e capacity to implem ent project s. Issues regard ing a lack of pro per record
keeping and the m aintaining of proper financial accounts have an im pact the m anagem ent of
NGOs in Bo tswana. As acknowledged by BOCONGO (2005), in order to im prove
manage ment of NGOs in Botswana, som e of the capacity building program s must include
training in the areas of governance, m anage ment, leadership, financial m anagem ent and record
keeping. The following section re views the lessons learnt and suggests ways to im prove the
manage ment of NGOs in Botswana.

Lessons and Suggestions

As noted above, one of the m ajor challenges of m anaging NGOs in Botswana is the reduced
financial support from donors and ot her international institutions. Th ere is, therefore, a need to
em power NGOs with the ability to source funds and help them realize their goa ls. Insufficient
funding, especially after Botswa na was classified as a m iddl e incom e country, would be
facilitated by granting NGOs access to alternativ e financial resources, such as governm ent and
supporters. Alternative sources of funding will assist particul arly sm all NGOs, which are not
well established, to work m ore closely with the needy such as the poor, orphans, children and
the m arginalized. Still on the i ssue of assistance for sm aller NGOS, the most well established
and longest surviving N GOs, such as Ditshwanel o, should assist sm aller NGOs in helping them
to develop and becom e sustainable. BOCONGO can also play a key role in this respect through
capacity building and creating a positive environm ent for s maller as well as established NGOs
to thrive. As was pointed out by Obassi et al (2005), NGOs in Botswana have influenced
public po licy m aking processes since the late 19 90s. This was accom plished though
persuasive, consultative, and peaceful m ethods . Ditshwanelo is one NGO which has played a
major role in this r egard .

Training and development in areas of organizational, project and financial m anage ment, as
well as c apa city bu ilding repres ent so me of the measures which are needed in order to im prove
NGO managem ent in Bo tswana. Tr aining and education, in order to allow NGOs to effectively
lobby and have an im pact on the communities th ey strive to assist , will enhance NGOs’
manage ment. Furtherm ore, strengthening NGOs’ lobbying skills will also enhance their
im pact with regards to policy and practice. E quipping NGOs with skills that would allow them
to effectively lobby governm ent wo uld also help NGOs effec tively cam paign for funding
locally, nationally, and internati onally. This can be done, for exam ple, through institutions such
as SADC and NEPAD. In addition, improved lo bbying skills would f acilitate the NGOs’
ability to collaborate and source support from international initia tives such as the UN and
Millennium Developm ent Goals (MD Gs). Further more, such s kills will als o help the N GOs
mobilize co mmunities, as well as n ational and in ternational o rganization s, to actively support
and participate in their activ ities. Through vigorous lobbying, NGOs will be able to encourage
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communities and institu tions to play an active ro le through th e volunteering of their tim e,
which would lend further knowledge and skil ls to NGOs’ activities and success.

NGOs should also continue to play their role in practising good governance through
transparency, equity, and also tim ely reporti ng regarding their achievem ents and areas where
they need as sistan ce. Eq ually crucial is the i ssue of publiciz ing their achievem ents in service
delivery, lob bying, and explicitly identifying areas of financial and HR support which are in
need. Having a well developed website would al so facilitate NGOs’ efforts in having their
aspirations, effects, and areas of need know n nationally and internationally. Inform ation
dissem ination regarding good govern ance, the activities, and th e lobbying effects of NGOs
would also enhance the pub lic confidence, acknowledgm en t, and support of NGOs. The
estab lishm ent of partne rships with lo cal, r egiona l, and inte rna tiona l ins titu tions would im prove
the m anagem ent of NGOs by providing lessons l earnt from the experiences and successes of a
num ber of different m ultinational no n-governm ental o rganizations. Collaboration in the areas
of fighting and eradicating pove rty, hum an rights, HIV/AIDS, as well as the em powe rment of
wom en and child ren, the prevention of injusti ce and inequa lity will b e of the utm ost
im portance, with regards to these partnerships.

Conclusion

This paper addressed the evolut ion of NGOs and the issues re lating to the m anage ment of
NGOs in Bo tswana. One of the characteristics of the NGOs managem ent pr actices in Botswana
includes that fact that they are m ostly funded by donor agencies, while som e are funded partly
by government and m embership fees. However, one of the m ajor challenges of m anaging
NGOs in Bo tswana is the lim ited amount of fina ncial and hum an resources available to them .
The withdrawal of fundi ng by in ternational donor agencies, sin ce Botswana was re-classified
as an upper-m id-inco me country, has adversely a ffected the operations of NGOs in Bo tswana.
This has lead to som e NGOs having to close dow n, while others have had to scale back their
operations due to financial constraints.

The governm ent, the private sector, the public, and the NGOs them selves have to play an
increasing ly and active role in the efforts to supplem ent each others’ efforts in m aking
developm ent and community services availabl e and equally access ible to all those in the
country. The efforts of governm ent, private sector, and communiti es at large, regarding the
adm inistrative support of NGOs through capaci ty building, in areas of good governance,
effective lobbying, sourcing funds, project managem ent, i mplem entation, and m onitoring,
would certainly help promote the sustainabil ity of NGOs. Ca pacity building in areas of
financial m anagem ent and reporting would also be beneficial. The governm ent, in
collabo ratio n with BOCONGO, should str ive to provide a po sitiv e enviro nm ent in ord er to
enable civil society to vo ice th eir con cerns th rough dem ocratic and civic m eans. Suc h an
environm ent would encourage NGOs to be e ffective in service delivery, lobbying, advocacy,
awareness building, and the em powe rment of the m arginalized. In the process, it will help
citizens to actively participate and prom ote NG O sustainab ility. Collabo rative efforts by the
governm ent, the private sector, regional inst itutions like SADC and NEPAD, as well as
multila ter al organiz ation s such as th e UN, would also be ben eficial. Pa rtne rships in in itiatives,
such as MD GS, will stre ngthen the e fforts of NGOs in prom oting dem ocracy, equity, hum an
rights, and sustainable developm en t. NGOs the mselves should also take the lead in pro moting
visionary leadership, strategic m ana gem ent, and the practice of good governance in their
operations. Enhanced funding and capacity bu ild ing of NGOs will bridge the gap between the
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The Inn ovation Journ al: The Public Sect or Innov ation Journal , Vo lume 12 (3), 2007 , Art icle 10 .
efforts of the governm ent and m ultinational ins titutions in p rom oting democracy, go od
governance, and sustainable developm ent, particul arly in the areas of hum an rights, equality,
socio-econo mic and political em powerm ent as well as the eradication of poverty and injustices
in Botswana, both regiona lly and internationally.

About the Authors

Dr. Mogopodi Lekorwe is a Senior L ecturer in Public Ad ministration and the Director of the
Centre of Specialization in Public Adm inistration and Mana gem ent (CESPAM). He has
published a num ber of papers and other publica tions and lectures at the U niversity of
Botswana. Dr. Lekorwe has been involved in seve ral p rofes sional areas, research projects and
educational program s. In his present role, he has been instrum ental in launching and catalyzing
a num ber of professional developm ent program s, prim arily for public administrations within
SADC. He has developed and participated in 15 Executive training program s for CESPAM in
the region. He holds degrees in Politics and Adm inistration a nd a Doctorate in Developm ent
Adm inistration and Managem ent.

Dr. D. Mpabanga is a Lecturer at th e University of Botswana. He received his PhD. from
Strathclyde. Dr. Mpabanga has expe rtise and tea ches in th e f ollowing areas: Hum an Resource
Managem ent and Developm ent, Organization Be haviour, Strategic and Diversity Managem ent,
Perform ance Managem ent and Measurem ent System s, Public Sector Reform s, Project Planning
and Appraisal, Inform ation and Comm unication Technology, Non-Governm ental
Organization’s Managem ent, and Dem ocrac y, Governance, and Electoral Processes.

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