CANGO calls for the prioritization of Health & Agriculture in the National Budget

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Mr Emmanuel Ndlangamandla, CANGO executive Director made the following contributions in terms of prioritization for the National Budget:

  • The Coordinating Assembly of Non-governmental Organisations Secretariat would like to make a contribution on what the national budget should contain. As an organisation we are aware that plans for presenting the budget to the nation are now in an advanced stage. Hence, our contribution might   have missed the critical timeframe. However, we would like to present our wishes and what we expect to see in the budget.
  • A healthy nation is a productive national, to this end we would like to reminding   the government that   they committed  to  allocate 15%  of the national  budget  to the Ministry of Health (Abuja Declaration). We also would like to state that the maternal and child mortality remain a huge concern in the country and resources need to be invested in this area.
  • The impact of HIV and AIDS in the country is well documented. It is critical that the government continue to allocate resources so that we invest in prevention, care and support as well as in impact mitigation measures.  As Global Fund is transitioning to a new funding model, the information we get is that Global Fund  resources  may no longer be guaranteed and hence the need for countries to invest more in their HIV response.
  •  Our Government also committed to allocate 10%   to the Ministry of Agriculture   (Maputo Declaration).  This will ensure that the country invest in Agriculture which will go a long way in stimulating the sluggish economy, as   communities will be enabled to venture  into   agriculture   and thus alleviate  chronic hunger in some households  and also help them  raise  some income  to benefit  poor families.  The high farming input costs are an impediment   to poor families.
  • We also appeal that the government should continue to invest in the education sector as it is the main vehicle through which poverty can be reduced in line with the Millennium Development Goals.   The availability of scholarship to children from poor families is very critical. Hence, the need for the government to invest in this area. We appreciate the Free Primary Education, OVC Grants and the scholarships.  We observe that scholarships are no longer accessible for children from poor families   because  of the Scholarship policy shifts which favour children  from rich families who access  schools with better  education facilities and thus obtain better grades.
  •  We are pleased that the government has committed itself to social protection programmes so that the vulnerable in society including the elderly, disabled and orphaned children are assisted.  We appeal that funding for social protection programmes continue to be  made  available to relevant Ministries and also to be increased.
  • We also appeal that the Human Rights Commission and the Anti-Corruption Commission   should also receive adequate funding so that   the country effectively fights corruption and also guarantees the rights of citizens in particular the most vulnerable.
  •  Disaster management is another critical area that the government should support. The impact of Climate change is affecting every country. Hence, the need for national preparedness and responses programmes to be well funded.
  •  Job creation should also be a critical area where the budget should be directed to.  There is evidence that young people bear the brunt of unemployment in the country.   Also, the country cannot improve domestic funding if the economy continue to shed jobs  as well as not create  employment   opportunities  especially for  the young people. There is need to continue to invest in the Youth Fund and Small Business Enterprises and also provide resources that will support the business eminent so that the country improves its business and investment competitiveness. The Civil Society Economic Roadmap also proposes a number of areas where the government can invest.

PRESS RELEASE: CANGO congratulates SWAGAA’s Cebile Manzini-Henwood on prestigious award

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On behalf of the CANGO Governing Board, the membership and the Secretariat, we would like  to convey our heartfelt congratulation to Ms Cebile Manzini-Henwood for having won a prestigious award for being a great leader that deserves recognition in Africa.

Having experienced first-hand how  Ms Manzini-Henwood applies her mind, energy and talent to promoting women, gender equality and human rights, it is not surprising that  she  was nominated and eventually won the award amongst the other best nominees.

This recognition, we believe, will further energise her to put more efforts on the issues that she is so passionate about. With the national elections  outcomes  pointing to reversal of gains made in promoting women participation in politics of our country, the country needs leaders such as Cebile to keep pushing the boundaries  against all the obstacles so that we  may  overcome this setback.  It is evident that women are being blamed for the poor elections results.  Yet is the whole society that has a duty and a responsibility to ensure that women participate in decision making positions,  including Parliament.  We  are grateful that His Majesty  has honoured  his   promise   to  appoint women,  and  further takes the opportunity to congratulate those women  who  have been  appointed to the House of Assembly.

We are aware that the NGO sector, in which Ms Manzini-Henwood is part of, also faces serious challenges especially access to resources to enable the sector the pursue their mandate. As Swaziland is classified as middle income, donors are directing resources to poor countries.  This has affected the ability of NGOs to mobilise resources, recruit, develop and retain capable personnel and also to invest in development programmes to alleviate the social ills afflicting our country. We look up to Ms Manzini-Henwood to assist the sector to look at innovative ways to deal with these challenges.  The country is facing enormous development  challenges,  63% of our population  lives below the poverty datum line,  HIV prevalence  is at 26%,  unemployment especially amongst the youth  has reached unprecedented levels,  gender based violence is endemic,  access to basic services  including health, education, water and sanitation  a serious challenge for the  poor.  The government require a capable NGO sector that will be able to reach the hard to reach areas and will be able to pilot interventions that will deal with these challenges.  NGOs also need to continue to be the voice of the voiceless so that government is able to prioritise the needs of the poor.

The CANGO Board, Members and the Secretariat congratulate you Ms Cebile Manzni-Henwood.  May God Bless you as you strive to assert your leadership.

Emmanuel Ndlangamandla
Executive Director