The Ngiyabonga - Human Rights Resources Initiative was established in late 2005. The founding members of this organisation are a group of young professional women working in human rights related fields, who felt that there is a gap in assistance to NPOs/NGOs, especially as it relates to determining the impact or outcomes that these organisations' work have on their target communities. It was decided to consolidate our knowledge and experience and start an organisation that could fill this gap.
The Ngiyabonga - Human Rights Resources Initiative comprises five members with international master's degrees - four of which were obtained in human rights related fields, and one in international journalism. The membership includes a medical doctor and four members who have worked for the United Nations. Four of its members have extensive experience in the NPO/NGO sector and two members who have wide-ranging experience in international and local public relations, media relations, publishing, editing and marketing. The organisation's office-bearers are multi-national, including: South Africa, Canada, Zambia, Australia, Germany, America, Italy and Finland.
The primary beneficiaries of the organisation's work include communities in need, as well as fellow human rights organisations who work with the marginalised, the homeless, landless and underdeveloped people and communities. These target groups include, in particular, women, children, the poor, the aged, people with disabilities, and those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
South Africa is one of few constitutional democracies in the world that has adopted a rights-based approach to the alleviation of poverty and which seeks to address endemic inequality. This however, seems to be a slow process in practice. We have found that the groups most affected by poverty and its effects in South Africa are women and children (in particular the thousands of AIDS orphans and child headed households). In a country, which has long been effected by migrant labour, women have been left to bear the brunt of taking care of their families with little access to the formal economy, education, support and service delivery. This situation has also exposed these women to health risks such as HIV.
In essence, our work will be an attempt to study and advocate with the support of other human rights organisation, binding the state with responsibility to address certain fundamental human needs - such as the right of access to water, nutrition, health care, land, housing, education, a healthy environment and social welfare. The above-mentioned issues have also been identified globally, in particular through the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, as focus areas to be addressed. Most often women and children are more vulnerable to greater inequalities and greater poverty. By addressing these issues, women and children's rights will be protected and which leads to the empowerment of these vulnerable groups.
We believe that a stronger human rights sector will result in a greater impact on policy reform in these areas as well as greater public awareness and participation. We propose that this could be achieved through increased dialogue, dissemination and sharing of information, and mutual support between both the community and human rights organisations, as well as between organisations in the human rights sector themselves. This support and access to information will lead to institutional and sectoral capacity building. It will also hopefully lead to policy reform that integrates gender concerns and further promotes the position of women in civic life.