I find it ironic that the States that created the world’s problems are the same ones offering aid/ funding to help solve them. Don’t get me wrong, I think funding in some way is reparations and of course necessary because, well… Our African states won’t fund their opposers…
But where is the economic justice?
women’s organisations tend to be funded much less but more intently.
The funding comes with special conditions like outcomes to be achieved (whether or not the context allows is secondary) and, you can only use 15% to fund your operations including salaries. What that means is that if you are awarded US$100 000.00 for an annual project, you will only get $15,000.00 to pay for salaries, utilities and any other expenses throughout the year. That’s an average of $1,100.00 a month to spend on the aforementioned items. Essentially what that does is, it inadvertently dictates the amount of staff the organisation employs and how much they will receive as compensation for the time spent doing this work. It also assumes that people will work in percentages but yet the work itself has to be fully done and outcomes achieved at 15%.
Who pays for all the care work to ensure that a project succeeds?
If we were to go by the logic that organisations tend to have other grants and therefore won’t spend 100% of their time on a project, could we rightly say that 15% of their effort achieves the outcomes? If 15% of a 24 work day month is 3,6 days (multiplied by the months) would this be sufficient time to push all the work required of a specific project? What happens in the month that travel is included and they spend that time on the road without any admin? Do they deduct from the following months or add overtime to their invoices? Of course this is unrealistic. Once a project has been accepted, because of the scarcity of (and olympics for) resources, activists will work their bodies* to ensure its success despite the financial constraints.
While this seems like scapegoating our governments for the west, in some instances such as this, the past cannot be separated from the present and future.
And therein lies my problem.
We all know the ‘Head Offices’ are superb and the staff is well paid. We know this because we can see it. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, they work, they get paid! My question is, however, why is it acceptable to pay their African counterparts much less when in fact they are the ones in the communities and dealing with the harsh realities of governments’ uncooperation? Does it not reek of inequality once again? Does it not tighten the shackles of western control when the outcomes of a project are pre- prescribed? Financial muscle certainly wields a certain level of power to control, we see this even in government theory, the elite have a say and control.
Yes, it is our governments that cannot guarantee the rights of its peoples, many years after the various independence celebrations. In the same breath, most of the laws we are working against are colonial laws. And in that same vein, the tactics employed by governments to suppress citizens’ movements are old, from time immemorial, used and adapted by various actors in the oppression of others. While this seems like scapegoating our governments for the west, in some instances such as this, the past cannot be separated from the present and future.
Despite so much time passing and the world becoming a global village, systems like capitalism and patriarchy have gained momentum and in many ways have even formed a bond for collaboration. Liberal thinking is permitted to the extent to which it can be controlled and that is why women’s organisations tend to be funded much less but more intently. The idea of this funding is for all work that doesn’t dismantle the systems that benefit capitalism and patriarchy. Women’s work is seen as an option to the norm and never part of the change and more so from a health perspective more than an equality perspective. This is evident in not only activism but in sport, in politics and even in the way banking systems are set up. Regardless of the world understanding that care work is performed by women, there are no efforts to remedy these inequalities.
Interestingly, budgets that are allocated to fund certain regions will include a huge Monitoring and Evaluation budget which allows for an ‘Expert’ on Africa to swoop in and assess the organisation’s performance. This will include flights, meetings and their remuneration which sometimes exceeds what the recipient was awarded. How do we get to a place where value should be placed on both the work and people doing the work. The idea of Human Rights should include sustainable financial liberty if it is to be successful.
A compromised fighter might win but it is also a challengeable victory.