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to build a good small NGO
December 08, 2006
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we are. And who you could be . . .
has been put together by a group of people who work in or with Non-
Government Organisations, (NGOs). Our experiences are mainly with
NGOs in Africa, the Indian sub-continent and countries previously
in the USSR. The NGOs are in cities, smaller towns and the countryside.
Some of them are concerned with human rights but more with improving
the quality of life of various groups.
The NGO field
includes many dedicated and good-hearted people. But as NGOs attempt
to grow, they face common problems. For example, often they fail
to learn how to manage their money well. This leads to all kinds
of problems . they function less well, their reputations suffer
and they cannot get funding to pursue their plans.
So, with this
manual, our goals are to help you to build best practice into your
NGO; to prevent, recognis and fix problems. Wherever you are in
the NGO field, you will find much that is useful in this manual.
the exercises and examples:
the manual you will find best practice theory and appropriate
EXERCISES. These can be done by one person sitting alone or,
better, by a group discussing the text. By doing the exercises,
each person applies ideas and theory to a situation (e.g. .does
this project seem relevant for the problems?.). Each person learns
throgh thinking and discussion. So please do the exercises if at
all possible. Your NGO could have a small working group who meet
regularly to do so.
There are also a number of EXAMPLES from existing projects.
With each, you can check if there are any lessons for your own NGO.
If there are topics where you disagree with the authors, you can
argue it through to see if your disagreement is based on the reality
of your situation.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) asks
for the following in an NGO, that it is non-profit; non-commercial;
non-government; legally registered; and subscribing to universal
humanitarian values and practices. However, legal registration may
pose problems where the government is hostile. It can, for example,
block external funding.
agencies look for additional characteristics. Perhaps the most important
are that the NGO has capacity . meaning that it knows how to make
a plan and has the resources to carry it out . and that it is ready
to be held accountable for its actions.
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