THE Motherwell- based Nelson Mandela Metro NGO Development Forum held its third general meeting at Daku Hall last week.
The forum, which was started in June this year, aims to unify all NGOs in the Bay area and to strengthen delivery and rendering of services and be the unified voice of NGOs.
This is according to Pastor Ncedile Victor Befile from the Light House Community Baptist Church in Motherwell who has taken up the role of deputy chairman of the forum.
It was also his brainchild to combine the efforts of the various NGOs.
He said: “Forums were formed previously but have collapsed, we want to empower the forum’s management and board to provide viable services.”
The forum has 20 NGOs from around the metro which are affiliated to it, including a number from Motherwell – Nomzamo Home- based Care, Light House community development initiative, Motherwell Development Outreach, Sisonke Sophumelela home based care, Philanathi community project and Close Gap.
Their main focus will be on HIV/Aids, poverty, women and child abuse, as well as unemployment, especially among the youth, bearing in mind the various NGOs’ own visions.
“I was on a learnership course with The South African Local Government Association and am also a member of Light House Community Development Initiative and involved with social ministry at the Light House church.
” I saw how much our NGOs need each other’s support, to come together and speak with one voice,” said Befile.
Many of the NGOs run without the help of government and do not receive any funding from it.
“NGOs are there to help people, we are volunteers, we do not get paid for what we do, we do it for the love of it.”
Befile said the NGOs which are all on board are excited at being a part of the forum.
“When the idea was introduced people were excited there would be a body that would speak on their behalf and would be available at any time.”
The forum has also asked for advice from a similar body called Aids Response, based in Cape Town, which provides support and care to NGOs who care for people infected and affected by HIV and Aids, to ensure the longevity of the forum.
“Whether home- based, clinical or pastoral, caregivers are central to all strategies aimed at combating HIV and Aids.
“However, little attention is paid to supporting and sustaining those at the heart of the pandemic.”
He added they were working with Aids Response as they have been doing this for quite some time and hoped they would learn a thing or two.
“We will also be attending each other’s workshops, they will come to the Eastern Cape and vice versa,” said Befile.
The forum’s chairperson Buyiswa Mpini, said although the NGOs have all come together they will still all have their own identities and the understanding they have of each other and the assistance they receive from other organisations should help them succeed in the future.