Challenges of Local NGO Sustainability

Challenges of Local NGO Sustainability

12 Pages · 2009 · 190 KB · English

topic of local NGO capacity and sustainability so relevant today. 1.1 Changing The point, of course, is not that a later stage of this evolution is necessarily superior or that all. PVOs and NGOs The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has put it this way: “The quality of management of

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Ch allenges of Local NGO Sustainability 1 Jerry VanSant Duke Center for International Development Duke University 1 Introduction I am honored to be among you today for what I hope will be a time of mutual learning The comedian George Burns once sai d that the secret to a first rate speech is to have a good beginning and a good ending and then to keep them as close together as possible! In that spirit I will try not to ask you to listen to me too long in order that there will be time left to hear fro m you It will not be news to this audien ce that currently the role of non governmental organizations (NGOs) is more critical and more strategic in the process of global human development than at any time before I will talk some about why t his is so bec ause it will help us understand the changing roles of NGOs, implications for building NGO capacity, and how NGOs can advance the next step from capacity to sustainable roles in the development of a vibrant and free civil society My goal today is to highl ight certain themes around which there is enormous expertise in this ro om If these remarks help trigger a productive exchange of ideas and experience among you today and tomorrow, then I will count this keynote a success and hope you do as well I would like to begin by noting some background issues and contextual factors that make the topic of local NGO capacity and sustainability so relevant today 11 Changing NGO Roles You all are aware of and, indeed, contributors to the evolution of NGOs through the generations of activity described by David Korten as first, relief and welfare (involving primarily the delivery of inputs such as humanitarian assistance), second, small scale local development (involving service delivery and building of some local capa cities for self help, and third, sustainable development systems (involving grassroots mobilization and policy advocacy) In his recent book, Worlds Apart , John Clark describes the same progression as moving from a focus on poor individuals to poor commu nities to poor societies 1 Keynote remarks prepared for the USAID/PVC ASHA Annual PVO Conference, 14 October, 2003 Page 2 The point, of course, is not that a later stage of this evolution is necessarily superior or that all PVOs and NGOs should strive to advance along this continuum Each generation of activity is an important part of the developme nt process, whether responding to humanitarian needs, supporting local development, or engaging in advocacy for policies that support voice and empowerment for civil society At the same time, however, there is growing recognition that, as stated in the c urrent USAID Office of Private and Voluntary Cooperation (PVC) strategic plan, “the ability of NGO groups to influence national and sectoral policies is crucial to the viability of such groups and to the success of their programs” 12 The Emerging Focus on C ivil Society and Governance In his landmark book, Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen defines development as the process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy These fr eedoms include political, economic, and social opportunity as well as trans parency guarantees, and protective security Each

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