What do you do when you arrive as an NGO?

20 08 2010

Spreading like a disease and very difficult to stop, this “NGOisation”. It starts insidiously with funders demanding registration of companies, progress reports, and audited accounts. And before you know it, you have been NGOised. Not that those processes are bad or evil in and of themselves. Money sent for specific groups must be accounted for. But if you don’t watch it, suddenly you are spending more time in AC rooms, writing up progress reports, and going to exotic countries to network with a clique of people who can vouch for each other when funding orgs try to decide who to give money to. Every new call for funding proposals is seen with lit eyes that can’t look away. Staff is chosen with their communication and networking potential in mind. Collective sighs are heaved about how the constituents we serve are not aware of what they really need. Secret mutterings can be heard of how little commitment ‘”our people” have and how difficult to get them to come for anything if we don’t offer money. And the bigger your organisation becomes, the more entrenched and ensnared you are in these coils, mindlessly deciding which community organisation deserves attention or which can die a neglected financial death. And suddenly you look around you and wonder where that inspired individual wanting to “make a change” has vanished. How does one keep from losing sight of the initial dream of a small organisation doing work that can be felt in your bones?



One response

20 08 2010

I think the problem is that there are too few people who share the dream. and those that do, dont have their own resources to put in to pursue that dream. Hence, the need to look outside – i.e to resource rich (er) countires/organisations. once you do that, and in effect start using other peoples money : it comes with strings…

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