IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS ON NGOs : MIHOSO INT AS A CASE STUDY


In the midst of the novel Coronavirus, almost all aspects of humanities are facing brutal impacts which is really detrimental to the growth of world, regional and national economies.

According to IMF Report titled  World Economic Outlook, April 2020 -- Chapter 1: The Great Lockdown  " As a result of the  pandemic, the global economy is projected to contract sharply by –3 percent in 2020, much worse than during the 2008–09 financial crisis. In a baseline scenario--which assumes that the pandemic fades in the second half of 2020 and containment efforts can be gradually unwound—the global economy is projected to grow by 5.8 percent in 2021 as economic activity normalizes, helped by policy support". This when zeroed down, will  affect the growth of every country.

In Ghana's case, even though events on the coronavirus pandemic are still unfolding, a preliminary analysis of the impact of the Coronavirus menace on the real sector shows that the 2020 projected real GDP growth rate could decline from 6.8% to 2.6% in the event of infected cases and 1.5% in the event of partial lock-down. The projected growth will further worsen in the event of full lock-down.

This presupposes that the government won't be able to implement it's intended  policies and infrastructural projects. 

In the weaknesses of the government, the need for an auxiliary development partner thus Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) or Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) rise to the occasion.

To ascertain as to whether in this trying times of COVID 19 menace, the NGOs are a faction to rely on, or not, we paid a visit to MIHOSO International , a health based NGO in Bono Region which operates nationwide to enquire whether they are still a fortress dependability or they are as well hit by the pandemic.

According to the Executive Director of the Organization who doubles as the president of the Coalition of NGOs in Health, an earlier survey conducted among 134 NGOs, 87 percent of the respondents noted their social meetings with communities have been halted due to the social distancing directive by the government. About 60 percent of them have to cut salaries of workers who receive about 500 Ghana cedis and 94 percent are psychosocially affected by the pandemic.


ON DIRECT SERVICE DELIVERY


Dr Gabriel Benarkuu, however expressed serious worries about this development noting, "due to this pandemic, the main activity of NGOs (advocacy) has been hampered since we are barred from meeting the people in our operating communities to have engagement with them. As a consultant for Bulsac Fund to some farmer groups in Sunyani West, our officers can't meet them in groups to continue our advocacy and this is really hampering our service delivery" 

ON FUNDING

Every NGO raises funds from three channels, i.e Grants, Social Enterprise and Dues. 

Grants are the financial inflows from Donor agencies such as USAID, UKAID, DANIDA, BULSAC FUND, UNDP, WORL BANK etc. This year Dr Benarku could not fathom how empty their coffers were due to the impact of the COVID 19 impact.

"Last year we built 2 mental health clinics costing around 100,000 Ghana Cedis from the UK government but this year, a shilling has not dropped in our account to mould even a block. We again have a social accountability programme with Sunyani Municipal Assembly funded by GIZ but we have received nothing from the German government hence we have to let go off the project officer in charge of that project. We are almost financially paralyzed" he noted as he sighed in despair.

He however entreated NGOs to engage in Social Enterprises. He revealed "After Ghana was graded as a Middle Income Status country 9 years ago, it was imminent that donor support to country and NGOs will dwindle before this pandemic, hence I will entreat NGOs to engage in a social enterprise or two to sustain their organizations.

On Social Enterprise, Dr Benarkuu hinted two subsidiaries of the organization, have suffered hectic shocks of which it's recovery will be Gordian knot.

"We have University College of Community and Organizational Development as a brainchild of MIHOSO, of which  we realise about 66, 000 Gh Cedis for every quarter but now we have lost everything due to the closure of all educational institutions. The worst of all the knockout is an arrangement to develop an online learning platform. According to a consultant this will cost us about US $20,000. Yet,we  have to roll it out for our students to graduate this December, year" the OD expert noted.


On the second business, he hinted, the sachet water company they started has halted due to this pandemic. This he describes "as very daunting on their financial prospects for the year 2020"


CONTRIBUTIONS OF NGOs IN THIS PANDEMIC

Apart from relief items such as hand sanitizers, nose masks, PPEs and tippy taps doled out to the redidents in the North by the NGO, it has made significant policy suggestions to the government which have yielded positive results.

"Since we have been partners with the government in many outbreaks, we made some relevant suggestions to the government and they have really helped the process. 1. Lockdown of epicenters 2. Closure of the borders of 45 border districts 3. Provision of Psychological and Mental health education 4. Decentralization of testing labs 5. Anti-stigmatization programs 6. Private sector support and 7. Translation of education into local languages. With a critical monitoring of events, government has adopted and implemented the and its really augmenting government's effort" he revealed.


POST COVID 19 LESSONS

Dr Gabriel Benarkuu anticipates that after the pandemic "Ghana and Africa will begin to embrace technology in Healthcare delivery, education and  business. Again, our governments will begin to invest heavily in our health system to ensure that when they are I'll, they can get the world class healthcare they chase overseas right here in their native countries and lastly, we will adopt and adhere to personal hygienic practices. 




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