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close this bookNGO Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Foundation)
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderPart I: NGOs: what they are and what they do
close this folder1. The rationale and purpose of this report
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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
close this folder2. The historical context
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View the document2.1 Care and welfare
View the document2.2 Change and development
View the document2.3 The historical evolution of NGO/government relationships
View the document2.4 Welfare pluralism
View the document2.5 The emergence of alternatives
View the document2.6 New concerns
close this folder3. NGOs defined
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View the document3.1 Diverse current ways of defining NGOs
View the document3.2 Defining ''NGO'' for the purposes of this report.
View the document3.3 Is ''NGO'' the right term?
close this folder4. NGO activities described
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View the document4.1 The spectrum of NGO activities
View the document4.2 Who and what
View the document4.3 How
View the document4.4 The diversity of NGO activities
close this folder5. A typology of NGOs
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View the document5.1 Why a typology is needed
View the document5.2 Component 1: A descriptive typology
View the document5.3 Organisational terms
View the document5.4 Main forms of control
View the document5.5 Location between government and civil society
View the document5.6 Level of operation
View the document5.7 Legal forms
View the document5.8 Links with parent and subsidiary bodies
View the document5.9 Links between NGOs
View the document5.10 Component 2: An organisational typology
View the document5.11 Organisations in civil society which engage in NGO-type activities
View the document5.12 Fraudulent NGOs
close this folder6. The governance and operation of NGOs
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View the document6.1 The accountability of NGOs
View the document6.2 Improving NGO governance and operations
View the document6.3 Management
View the document6.4 Human resource development (HRD) and training
View the document6.5 Reviewing, monitoring and evaluating
View the document6.6 Information
View the document6.7 Networking and alliance-building
close this folder7. The legal and institutional frameworks within which NGOs operate
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View the document7.1 Freedom to associate
View the document7.2 The political dimension
View the document7.3 The law
View the document7.4 Regulation
View the document7.5 Collective, external and self-regulation
close this folder8. The framework of relationships within which NGOs operate
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View the document8.1 A complex pattern of relationships
View the document8.2 Relationships with government: key issues
View the document8.3 Relationships with government: ways forward
View the document8.4 Relationships with funders: key issues
View the document8.5 Relationships with funders: ways forward
View the document8.6 Other strategies to strengthen relationships
close this folder9. The international dimension
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View the document9.1 Forms of international linkage
View the document9.2 Funding links
View the document9.3 Operational links
View the document9.4 Partnerships
View the document10. Conclusion and introduction to the guidelines
close this folderPart II: Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice
View the document11. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of Governments
View the document12. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of NGOs
View the document13. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of funders
View the document14. Guidelines for good policy and practice on the part of ''North'' and international agencies
View the document15. Implementing the guidelines: A plan of action
close this folderPart III: References
View the documentAnnex 1: The process of research and consultation
View the documentAnnex 2: List of those submitting information, consulted, or responding
close this folderAnnexes
View the documentAnnex 1: The process of research and consultation
View the documentAnnex 2: List of those submitting information, consulted or responding

9.3 Operational links

Much of the content of the previous section could equally well be applied to the operational links between North and South NGOs. Here, further criticisms are made by those working in the South.

Some North NGOs establish their own offices within countries in which they run or support projects and programmes. While some have long-standing policies for these offices to be staffed by citizens of the country itself, many still employ expatriates from the North, even where there is an abundance of suitably qualified and experienced national citizens. Some of these expatriate staff are young, inexperienced people, including some volunteers who are then in fact actually paid at higher rates than locally recruited staff. The local presence of North and international NGOs also has an impact on wage rates and lifestyles among local NGOs. It has sometimes influenced the movement of staff from local to external NGOs, in the search for higher salaries and better working conditions and facilities. Few, if any, northern agencies are perceived, by NGOs in the South, to have properly addressed such issues as equity, parity, representation and unionisation of staff working in different economic environments.

In addition, there is a perceived tendency among some of the North NGOs, like North funders, to determine work priorities on the basis of their own preconceptions, head office decisions or reports from consultants sent on 'fact-finding missions', rather than through consultation with local NGOs and networks. The content of media campaigns in the North to raise funds for supporting work in the South has also been criticised by South NGOs as well as by some staff working in the northern agencies.

On this particular matter at least networking among NGOs in the North is emerging as a response. In two countries, organisations of NGOs which operate and/or fund in South countries have drafted Codes of Ethics which deal with matters relating to their own governance, integrity and finances, with communications to the public and with implementation. On the question of messages one of the Codes states:

"An organisation's communications shall respect the dignity, values, history, religion and culture of the people supported by the programs. In particular, organisations should avoid...: messages which generalise and mask the diversity of situations; idyllic messages (which do not reflect reality, however unpleasant) or 'adventure' or exotic messages; messages which fuel prejudice; messages which foster a sense of Northern superiority; (and) apocalyptic or pathetic messages..."

On the question of relationships the other Code states that member agencies agree to:

build creative and trusting relationships with the people of the developing countries, treating their needs and interests as paramount; and affirm that development is a process in which people change their own lives by their own efforts and that the agency should facilitate this process by providing assistance that encourages self-help and self- reliance and avoids creating dependency...