You might not know the Dutch agency HIVOS - but you definitely know the NGO's they fund.
Well, the news tonight is that HIVOS is pulling out of Belize after more than 30 years, and 18.5 million dollars invested in more than 20 NGO's.
Tough economic times have forced the Dutch government to slash funding of the agency's budget by more than a third.
The withdrawal of one of the country's biggest funding agencies, which has been providing institutional support to organizations such as WIN, BOWAND, SPEAR, the Toledo Women's Maya Group, and a slew of others, is certain to have far-reaching consequences.
Meaning that, when the New Year rolls around, dozens of NGO's might be forced to close their doors, or look elsewhere for funding. Susana Rochna, Program Officer for HIVOS told us why her agency was forced to close its doors.
Susana Rochna, Program Officer, HIVOS
"Unfortunately, we're under in this scenario of reduction in the corporation funds. We haven't been able to escape from that. The Dutch, as well as other European countries, is revising its budget creation and its policies toward international corporations. And although we are not on a Governmental institution, we HIVOS, receive most of our funds from the Governmental budget."
"What impact is your agency's withdrawal going to have some of the local agencies that you sponsor?"
"We know, of course, that when you leave a country, you leave partners without funds, but there is nothing that we can do. And we just hope that the capacity is left behind, which is something extremely satisfying for us to see. We can see that the Alliance Against AIDS, which didn't exist before us, has been enabled to bring in the assistance for AIDS, and they've trained a number of people who are right now in high decision-making positions in terms of HIV - WIN Belize, the resources of the Toledo people how strong they have ascended, all came out of our efforts. So we have the impression that we've created capacities which weren't there, and these capacities don't disappear because we are not there anymore. They will be able to find other funds; I hope so."
One such NGO that's bound to feel the pinch is Alliance Against Aids whose Executive Director told Seven News hundreds of Belizeans living with Aids will be severely affected.
Rodel Beltran Perrera - Executive Director, Alliance Against AIDS
"Major impacts, the uniqueness of HIVOS was administrative funding, and we are going to lose that. So, there is now a risk for the Alliance Against AIDS of having to pull back, or even contemplate closing our doors. And so, we want to look at other areas, and to ask people if they do, for us to continue our work, to give us a helping hand somehow."
"What will this mean for the people that the people that you serve, those people who looked to you for help, especially those who are HIV-infected?"
Rodel Beltran Perrera
"And you are so right, that is such an excellent question. We are going to be with our backs against the wall with that. We won't have the funding to put out our helping hand to those people that do need our help - do need our assistance in that manner. We won't be able to help; we won't be able to do the things that we did in the past with HIVOS' support, and with other partners' support. As you know, the economic situation out there is very challenging, and so, who is going to feel the brunt of it? It's our persons living with HIV, and who are suffering from the disease, and their immediate families."
As a result of the budget cuts, HIVOS is also pulling out of two other Central American countries, El Salvador and Costa Rica.