Irish NGOs and “Development Effectiveness”

04/04/2011 at 3:45 pm 2 comments

This is a quick post, following up on our recent blog post “Getting Ready for Busan“, which focused on the differing expectations of Governments when it comes to working with NGOs and “civil society”. In this post, we look at what NGOs can do to ensure they are “ready” for Busan (which is short hand for the “4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness“.

Dóchas has for some years now tried to promote discussion and reflection among Irish Development NGOs, to help them develop a clearer framework to assess, and demonstrate, the quality of their work.

That work has been based on our broad approach to “development effectiveness”, which essentially means that we feel that to be effective, NGOs need to do more than enhance the efficiency of their internal processes and procedures: As you will see from our dedicated Resource page on the issue, we feel that “Effectiveness” is a combination of:

  • An “enabling environment” – a legal environment and donor policies and practices that incentivise and support quality-focused development work.
  • Organisational skills and effectiveness – “Doing things right”: standards of work, accountability mechanisms, quality control mechanisms, know-how, and organisational learning.
  • Ability to affect change – “Doing the Right Thing”: focus on structural solutions, a clear vision of what long-term impact means, and how to bring about rights-based solutions.

In January this year, we hosted a “national consultation meeting”, in the context of the global “CSO Development Effectiveness” programme, to try and capture what Irish Development NGOs mean by “Quality” and “Effectiveness”, and to contrast those views with the results of the global CSO consultation process, which has resulted in the Istanbul Principles for CSO Effectiveness.

Our meeting concluded that Irish NGOs have decided to work through Dóchas to make tangible progress towards greater Impact, Influence and Quality, by working towards these Istanbul Principles:

  • #5: Practice transparency & accountability;
  • #6: Pursue equitable partnerships and solidarity;
  • #7: Create and share knowledge and commit to mutual learning;
  • #8: Commit to realising positive sustainable change.

And we concluded that the Istanbul Principles needed something more tangible: they needed Indicators and Mechanisms to make the lofty principles come alive.

(and we made a pretty picture too!)

Next instalment: our AGM conference on the “added value of Irish NGOs”.


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

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