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close this bookNGO Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Foundation)
close this folderPart I: NGOs: what they are and what they do
close this folder1. The rationale and purpose of this report
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.1 The origins and scope of this report
View the document1.2 An overview of the report
View the document1.3 The purpose of this report
View the document1.4 The importance of NGOs
View the document1.5 The global dimension
View the document1.6 The local dimension
View the document1.7 NGOs, government and civil society

1.2 An overview of the report

Part I of this report is structured in three main sections.

The first section consists of two chapters which provide an introduction and overview of the current role and functioning of NGOs, providing a context for this report:

Chapter 1

The rationale and purpose of this report outlines the terms of reference and scope of the research. It notes how the growth of NGOs over the past two decades has given them an increasingly important role and led to them forming a distinctive sector within civil society.

The Chapter then provides an overview of the global and local trends affecting NGO work, how they have responded to emerging issues and problems, and the complementary roles that NGOs, governments and international agencies can play.

Chapter 2

The historical context. This Chapter provides a historical background.

It describes how the current spectrum of NGO activities has emerged from the 19th Century, and been shaped in the past 30 years by the search for alternatives and by emerging new needs and concerns.

The second section consists of three chapters which define and describe NGOs, and create a typology of them.

Chapter 3.

NGOs defined. Against the background of the two previous descriptive chapters, this chapter defines NGOs.

Chapter 4

NGO activities described. This Chapter describes five types of activity commonly practised by NGOs. These fall across a spectrum from those directed at the "care and welfare" of the disadvantaged to "change and development" activities which are directed at concerns and issues which affect the disadvantaged or are detrimental to the well-being of people or society as a whole. The direct and indirect ways in which NGOs take action are described.

Chapter 5.

A typology of NGOs. This Chapter creates both descriptive and organisational components of a typology of NGOs based on: their activities; the ways in which they are controlled, managed and legally incorporated; their location between government and civil society; the levels at which they operate; and their links with other organisations.

These components of the typology, together with the earlier definition, provide a means by which NGOs can be distinguished from other organisations in civil society.

The third section consists of four chapters which discuss key features of the context in which NGOs operate, and the issues which arise from them:

Chapter 6.

The governance and operation of NGOs. This chapter describes how NGOs are operated and managed. It discusses related issues, which include accountability, management, human resource development/ training, evaluation and monitoring, information, networking and alliance-building.

Chapter 7

The legal and institutional frameworks within which NGOs operate.

This chapter begins by examining the political aspects of NGO work and then discusses key features of the external environment in which NGOs work and the laws and associated regulatory processes within which they operate. Limitations apparent in both are noted and the scope for improvements set out.

Chapter 8

The framework of relationships within which NGOs operate. This chapter discusses other key features of the external environment within which NGOs operate. In particular there is an examination and discussion of the relationships between NGOs and governments, and between NGOs and funders. Ways of improving both are also examined and discussed.

Chapter 9

The international dimension. This chapter examines in particular the various forms of linkage that exist between NGOs in developed and developing countries, including those related to funding, operations and partnerships.

Chapter 10

Conclusion and introduction to the guidelines. This Chapter draws out conclusions from Chapters 1-9 and introduces the guidelines.

Part II sets out the guidelines for good policy and practice as follows:

Chapter 11

Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of governments.

Chapter 12

Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of NGOs.

Chapter 13

Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of funders.

Chapter 14

Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of "North" and international agencies.

Chapter 15

Implementing the guidelines: A plan of action.

Part III is a bibliography of the extensive range of sources which were examined in preparing this report.

Annexes 1 and 2 describe the process of research, consultation, and drafting used in preparing this report and lists those who submitted information, were consulted or submitted responses to the first draft.