Burdened by salary overheads, the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) has informed its employees that it will start retrenching.
Through a communication addressed to all employees, the advocacy group’s management has notified staff members of the looming retrenchment exercise and that it is necessary because “BONELA is overstaffed and, therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify and sustain staff expenses, such as salaries and gratuities”.
Currently, the NGO has a staff complement of about 21 full time employees and 7 volunteers.
The communication, dated 22 May, 2012 is signed by BONELA director, Uyapo Ndadi, and advises that all those facing lay off will be informed in a few weeks time.
According to Ndadi’s memo, there is an urgent need to slash jobs because the organization has changed its strategy and no longer needs certain offices. The organisation intends to outsource certain services, such as training, workshops and the litigation exercises to its network of partners.
“This realization became apparent after BONELA changed its strategy. The new strategy enjoins BONELA to work with and through set networks. What this means is that BONELA is able to have impact by capacitating and mainstreaming human rights into the work of its network partners who in turn will perform the foot soldier role of BONELA on the ground. This therefore makes BONELA to play an oversight role, which departs from its traditional all out implementer or service provider role,” the memo reads in part.
“The other major reason is that BONELA, owing in large part to the global economic down turn, has not been able to attract and receive funding from its existing international donors and new potential donors. Some of BONELA’s main donors, such as HIVOS and Schorer, have had to pull out entirely and drastically cut funding, respectively,” the communication further states.
The memo also goes on to state that the organisation could abruptly close shop if no effort is made to cut workforce costs. However, volunteers will not be affected by the job cut.
“We are trying to relieve ourselves of the many responsibilities and being the hub of everything,” said Ndadi.
In an interview with the Sunday Standard, Ndadi, who confirmed the impending retrenchments, revealed that the oganisation will only retain employees it needs and those it can afford to pay.
“We are trying to relieve ourselves of the many responsibilities and being the hub of everything…so that we cut costs in line with our new strategy,” he said. “I feel sorry for those who are going to be affected…but organizational efficiency requires that such an exercise be undertaken,” he added.
Ndadi also disclosed that a team, led by the board, would consult with employees and management to evaluate the available options available to mitigate or avoid the job cuts.