Why are there so many NGOs?

25/10/2010 at 10:27 am 4 comments

Put simply, NGOs are active groups of citizens, moved by the injustice of global poverty and exclusion, and driven “to do something” to end poverty.

NGOs are acutely conscious that the provision of aid alone is not enough to address the inequalities and human rights violations that affect the world’s poor. Aid is necessary in certain circumstances where poverty, war, disasters or economic breakdown create particular and urgent needs. NGOs though, are broadly about change, not charity, and they work in solidarity with people and communities in developing countries to effect that change.

Dóchas is the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations, an umbrella group for a diverse range of organisations: large and small, young and old, secular or faith-based. And they bring different priorities and approaches to Development. However, they share one vital characteristic: their commitment to tackle poverty and inequality in the world.

For this reason, they created the Dóchas network in 1974, as a means to help strengthen Ireland’s efforts to eradicate the injustice that is world poverty. Through Dóchas, Irish Development NGOs come together to share and exchange their experiences, and to use those experiences to come up with more effective ways to end all forms of poverty and injustice.

Different NGO roles

  • Some focus on enhancing children’s lives and opportunities, or tackling hunger, for example, while others pay particular attention to health, education or human rights
  • Some draw their inspiration from their religious beliefs, others are secular in outlook
  • Some have a clear geographical focus, others tend to work wherever the need arises
  • Some prefer to work with and through local partners rather than placing workers on the ground themselves
  • Some respond to emergencies, or work to build health and education systems, others specialise in building the capacity of local citizens’ groups
  • Some identify their strength in running projects, others define their role as mobilising people for lobby campaigns
  • Some decide to focus on one particular issue to bring specialist knowledge to bear, others prefer a more general approach, bringing changes across a broad range of key issues. This includes tackling international policies and systems that can serve to keep the poor in poverty
  • Some NGOs and missionary groups provide services to poor people, others assert that poverty is a violation of human rights, and see their role as protecting and promoting those rights.

No one NGO, or organisation of any kind, can hope to support all of the world’s poor people, communities and countries work towards better and safer lives. The diversity of approach and focus outlined above is a key strength of the Irish NGO sector.

Working Together

Through Dóchas, NGOs are seeking new and effective ways to maximise their impact, by making use of the power and ideas of all those who can make a difference – governments, companies, media and NGOs. Now more than ever it is clear that only by working together in a coordinated way can we begin to make poverty history.

Greater coordination and coherence does not mean giving up our diversity. In fact, we believe that our strength lies in our diversity of approach and our ability to respond flexibly to the changing needs of the people we serve. Yet, we are committed to the core professional standards that we share, and we understand the potential for bringing together the energies and expertise of others. We know that we have a responsibility to keep searching for new ways to improve the impact and sustainability of our work.

It is for all these reasons that we, the Irish Development NGOs, work together through Dóchas.

Also read:

 

Entry filed under: Development Effectiveness, NGOs, Overseas aid. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Working In Development Ireland tops division two of four on donors’ aid transparency

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Claire Ni Chanainn  |  24/01/2011 at 9:31 am

    I see NGOs, especially small ones, as important actors as they can take risks. We’re trying out new forms of education that would most benefit the poor in India. When I was with UNICEF there was no way we could try out such a thing, if we did we’d have to do it in a sample of 5,000 schools. And that was just too expensive to be feasible for something that had yet to be proven effective. Now, as a small NGO we can modify and improve school curriculum to be most beneficial in a child’s life.

    Reply
    • 2. Hans  |  24/01/2011 at 4:38 pm

      Thanks Claire. That is indeed one of the key arguments in favour of NGO work. The key challenge, however, is to translate that risk-taking into shared learning, and applying that shared learning.
      Development work is full of great pilot projects, but the scaling -up often becomes problematic.
      For one, I’d be interested in the experience you are having in your programme, and see what others can learn from it!

      Reply
  • […] Why are there so many NGOs? […]

    Reply
  • 4. Judith Turbyne  |  15/02/2012 at 11:46 am

    I can see why the plethora of NGOs can seem baffling from outside. However, there are often quite major differences between them, what they are trying to do, who they are working with and so on. What is most definitely fundamental is that there is good coordination between such organisations in order that actions are mutually reinforcing, rather than basic repetitions of actions across the sector. Dochas is fundamental to that effort, but individual NGOs also have to take responsibility for making strong links, and exploring the best way of cooperation and coordination between organisations.

    Sometimes that might mean merger, but definitely not necessarily. Small organisations can be a dynamic force in the sector. They can look to develop new ideas and new ways of doing things. They can fill a very specific niche, and their learning and development in that niche can support the learning in a particular area across the sector.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 210 other followers

Archives

Dóchas on Twitter

The World's Best News - images

The world's fastest growing economies:

Half of the countries in this list of 13 booming economies are in Africa: 
http://worldsbestnews.tumblr.com/post/125151379280/the-13-fastest-growing-economies-in-the-world #positivenews The first #malaria vaccine has received the green light from European regulators, opening the door for vaccination campaigns for infants in #Africa.

Malaria is a disease of poverty. It affects poor people disproportionately, and it fuels poverty, as it slows economic growth and worsens other disease burdens, particular HIV and Aids.

But there is good news: The number of malaria deaths has almost halved since 2002, and now a new malaria vaccine has been approved, which should help protect very young #children against the disease.

Read this article: http://www.scidev.net/global/malaria/news/malaria-vaccine-green-light-mosquirix.html?utm_content=buffer1ea54&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Also read: http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/malaria-treatment-vaccine-research-1428826-Apr2014/ On September 17th hundreds of volunteers around the country will mobilise to spread the positive news of development!

They will be handing out "the World's Best News newspaper" and joining in other activities nationwide. 
The EYD team and the Dóchas membership are working hard to produce this year's World's Best News newspaper which will be published in September. 
Details of the activities on September 17th will follow shortly. 
We would love to have you on board!

If you would like to be involved in the distribution/ activities on the day please write to the EYD team at eyd@dochas.ie Good news: far fewer people are now hurt by land mines and old unexploded ammunition.

Thanks to an international ban on mines, and intensive mine clearing, it’s now possible for more people in previous conflict zones to stand on their own legs.

Read more here: bit.ly/1T1iFpN Good news! 
Between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the global population using an improved drinking water source has increased from 76 per cent to 91 per cent, surpassing the MDG target, which was met in 2010.

Of the 2.6 billion people who have gained access since 1990, 1.9 billion use a piped drinking water supply on premises. The world has reason to celebrate.

This new #UN report shows that the world has good reason to celebrate the huge progress in the fight against #poverty, #hunger and #disease.

From the report: "At the beginning of the new millennium, world leaders gathered at the United Nations to shape a broad vision to fight poverty in its many dimensions. That vision, which was translated into eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), has remained the overarching development framework for the world for the past 15 years.

As we reach the end of the MDG period, the world community has reason to celebrate. Thanks to concerted global, regional, national and local efforts, the MDGs have saved the lives of millions and improved conditions for many more.

The data and analysis presented in this report prove that, with targeted interventions, sound strategies, adequate resources and political will, even the poorest countries can make dramatic and
unprecedented progress. The report also acknowledges uneven achievements and shortfalls in many areas. The work is not complete, and it must continue in the new development era.” http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/2015_MDG_Report/pdf/MDG%202015%20rev%20(July%201).pdf How often have you heard people say there isn't enough food in the world?

Not true. There is enough food to feed everyone, and there is room to grow more! 
Just read how this project in Madagascar is helping smallholder farmers achieve bigger harvests.

http://bit.ly/1IV0g6H 
Photo: A horizontal view of the rice plantations near Tsivory village, #Madagascar. ©IFAD/Rindra Ramasomanana Good news for the weekend:

#Cuba has become the first country in the world stop HIV transmission from mother to child. "Cuba's success demonstrates that universal access and universal #health coverage are feasible and indeed are the key to success, even against challenges as daunting as #HIV." http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/01/us-cuba-health-iduskcn0pa2b520150701?utm_campaign=trueAnthem%3A+Trending+Content&utm_content=5593757e04d3013e4e000001&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook

Photo: A nurse hands out a red ribbon to a woman, to mark World Aids Day, at the entrance of Emilio Ribas Hospital, in Sao Paulo December 1, 2014. 
REUTERS/NACHO DOCE Happy International #Yoga Day!

Have a look at some of these pictures of African yoga: - http://ireland.ashoka.org/yoga-africa-transforming-young-minds-hearts-and-livelihoods
- http://www.africayogaproject.org/
- http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2014/04/pictures-yoga-bends-trends-kenya-20144494348396640.html 
Photo: Susan Njeri practices the Wheel Pose on the railway line at the entrance of #Kibera "This will be the largest privately-owned #solar power plant in Africa." http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/worldBusiness/artikel.php?ID=361671&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=post&utm_term=solar+plant+in+ghana+that&utm_campaign=Climate&__surl__=IgD8H&__ots__=1434360286047&__step__=1

#ghana #solar #renewables India’s first public skate park.

Rumbling trucks, roaming cows and honking tuk-tuks make skateboarding a risky pastime on the often potholed streets of India. So last year, a group of professional skateboarders joined together with a group of local volunteers to build #India’s first public #skate park. 
Here, street kids and young professionals alike can take a break and skate for free after a hard day’s work. As an added bonus the young skaters also receive free English lessons.

Read more about ‘the best skatepark in Asia’ here: bit.ly/1BYel0D

Visitors Map

Map

Dóchas Photos

1506_77

1506_76

More Photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 210 other followers

%d bloggers like this: