South China Morning Post Examines How NGOs, HIV/AIDS Groups in Africa Pay Incentives to Officials Attending Seminars
The South China Morning Post on Tuesday examined how nongovernmental organizations and HIV/AIDS groups working in several African nations are paying millions of dollars in "allowance" fees and financial "motivation" to encourage government officials, health workers and others to attend HIV prevention meetings and workshops. In Uganda, some groups pay so-called "motivation fees" to HIV/AIDS conference participants, and a recent three-day training event in Malawi involving 25 participants cost a total of $500 in incentives, 20% of the overall event budget, the Morning Post reports. According to the Morning Post, some HIV/AIDS workers use the training events as a "lucrative source of income, floating from one workshop to another, shopping around for conferences" that offer such financial incentives. Lyford Gideon, a financial officer with the Malawi Network of AIDS Services Organizations, said the incentives are meant to reflect hospitality, not to lure participants. However, Enock Phiri, who has worked with World Vision and Population Services International, said the practice is "killing development." Jones Laviwa, director of Churches in Action for Relief and Development, said that unlike international NGOs, which he says created the problem, small groups do not "have money to dish out to everyone." According to the Morning Post, efforts to end the practice of the informal fees and allowances have had "mixed results" (South China Morning Post, 6/6).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.