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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

9.2 Funding links

There is a widespread concern among South NGOs about how general funder fads and paternalism discussed generally in the previous chapter appear specifically in the North-South funding context. This concern is shared by some people within North funders, as these observations illustrate, since they both originate from North NGO funder staff:

"Some international NGO activities or initiatives are breathtaking in their neo-colonial style and approach..." s

"...when it comes to Northern NGOs funding Southern NGOs, rarely are funds released for southern partners to allocate as they see fit. Instead a 'project obsession' comes into play - money must be earmarked for a neatly packaged project, so that the Northern NGO can market it for fundraising purposes..."

In southern NGOs, experiences abound which reiterate and elaborate on such observations. North funders are often accused of:

regarding the southern NGO as inexpert or inexperienced;

undermining co-operative networking among southern NGOs by encouraging rivalry and competition among them;

in the aftermath of the fall of the "iron curtain", faddishly switching funding priorities to Eastern Europe as if needs in the South had suddenly disappeared;

surrounding funding with onerous or complex conditions about accounting (even to the extent of insisting the funders' own accounting systems of hard- and soft-ware and practices were faithfully repeated in the NGO in one case);

constantly demanding reports or making demands about their format (one very large North funder brought staff from funded projects in one country together for a 3-day training course so as to ensure that all funded projects presented their reports in the format prescribed by the funder); and

sending in external consultants and evaluators (some funders insist on appointing their own consultants and evaluators), often lacking knowledge of local circumstances, without any consultation with or reference to the South NGO.

Southern NGOs also point to failures on the part of northern funders to gather information and consult with NGOs and their networks before making decisions on priorities, interests, policies and funding. The result is that some resources end up in the hands of fraudulent operators, or at best, certain favoured organisations receive the greater part of the available resources year after year. This undermines NGO networking, as organisations see themselves as either competing with one another, or failing to secure resources. Allied to lack of information from funders about their objectives, priorities and current interests, this has led to a good deal of disillusionment, mistrust and scepticism among southern NGOs. Many feel unable to raise their concerns with the funders, on whom they are after all dependent, especially in countries where local funding sources are few in number or non-existent.

While many governments welcome the resources they contribute (in some countries resources contributed by external funders represent a significant proportion of gross domestic product), some have become mistrustful of northern funders. Others have special registration and regulatory procedures which enable foreign funding to local NGOs to be monitored closely. Some NGOs feel that the effect of this is to penalise them for the secrecy and other inadequacies of funders which caused the regulations to be introduced by the government.

Dependence among South NGOs upon North NGO funders is, in poor countries, inevitable, because of the nature of the global economy and trade system, historical atrocities such as slavery and apartheid, and the legacies of colonialism. All these have left an entrenched inequality between developed and less developed countries. If the kinds of practices which many South NGOs report are to be modified it is clear that to a large extent it is incumbent on the funders themselves to put their houses in order. But South NGOs recognise that there are steps they must take themselves. A large NGO in a Southern African country has published what it expects from its donors and other development partners, and these have improved its relationships with them. Networking and collaboration among South NGOs is growing and can also help deal with some of these problems, as discussed in the previous chapter.