German Agency Commends NANASO

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK THE German Development Service recently acknowledged the Namibian Network of AIDS Service Organizations’s support towards non-governmental organisations and community-based initiatives dealing with HIV/AIDS. Created in 1991 and operating as a national umbrella, NANASO, according to its constitution, “provides services to its member organizations in order to maximize their potential and effectively address HIV/AIDS in the country.” However, in 1999 its role came under scrutiny with some people asking why NANASO should exist. Members expressed their doubts about whether NANASO had fulfilled its role as a networking body and argued that it just duplicated their own work. At the same time, the loss of the credibility and public confidence made securing sufficient funds very difficult. The uncertain financial situation caused staff to move to other organisations and, secondly, the fast growing indebtedness of NANASO. Delivering her keynote address during the award ceremony, GDS’s NGO Programme Coordinator, Marianne WÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶ller, said that in spite of the daunting challenges NANASO had to go through, the organisation retained staff members Andrew Harris, Zack Makari and Likius Kamapoha who decided not to give up and do their best in order to recover NANASO from its poor situation. “It was a difficult period, a period of hard work, but also one in which NANASO showed that it was prepared to help itself and being transparent, sincere and willing to discuss its (NANASO) problems with its members and those who wanted to help,” she stated. “Looking at the current staÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ’ÂÃ’šÂ¬Ã‹Ã…us of NANASO, it is easily to be forgotten that this organisation went through a turbulent period the last few years before it regained its position among other stakeholders. Nevertheless, its success story is a result of common efforts of the NANASO staff and experts from the German Development Service,” she noted. WÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶ller said her institution’s decision to support NGOs in Namibia has been created especially in consideration of the challenges faced by existing NGOs and other similar initiatives. “It happens often that such organisations are trapped in a vicious circle, not being able to meet the donors’ requirements’ “The emphasis is put on making the organization’s functioning more and more self-sustainable … through capacity building. Especially, close work with German development workers allows for hands-on training” she stressed. Since 2002, GDS has supported NANASO financially to the tune of N$378 000.