Saturday, 16 August 2008

A quest for Transparency, accountability and results. It's all about MONEY, lots of it being spent, but on what?

In all my travels to Indonesia using my own time and money, I have been shocked to see how ineffective in my personal opinion, so many charitable organisations are with saving orangutans. In the coming weeks it is my intention to explain to you what I have found.

If millions of pounds are being raised every year for orangutans conservation, but the population still declines by 2500 - 3000 every year, it's clear something is going wrong somewhere. The book I recommend above, but had nothing to do with its publication, makes mention of a number of similar concerns to those I am raising.

I have come across some organisations who are doing all they can to avoid my questions about their finances.

There are others who blatantly don't care about orangutans being held illegally - in their own towns. They refuse to help them.

There is a major international organisation that has given out tens of thousands of pounds and has no idea if the projects it was meant to support have been successful. There is no reporting procedure in place.

I know of an American organisation who funds a very secretive small group of people who have done everything they can to avoid answering questions like, 'well, please can you tell me, what do you do with all this money?' They have also been unable to present any financial accounts, and the US sponsor seems not to care.

I know of an organisation who appear to spend 75% of their multi-million funds on what they call 'support work to achieve their self-professed goal of helping to save orangutans. By this they could mean travel, saleries, etc. - we can only guess because they won't say.

I know of an Indonesian Forestry official who claims to have a report stating 32 orangutans currently held in very inhumane conditions, which we want to help, are better off where they are, rather than in a rescue/rehab centre. There is no such report - he does not give a damn about these orangutans. No one from his department went anywhere near these orangutans, so how could they have made a report on them? As bad as this is, he is also the official representative of an international great ape organisation associated with UNEP.

And there is a lot more than this you need to know. After all, it's your money they are spending, most probably the bulk of it on themselves......when the heads of organisations managing public
donations refuse to explain their finances, don't you wonder why?