NGO Management Lesson 3 NGO Strategy

NGO Management
Lesson 3
NGO Strategy
NGO Strategy
A need for NGO strategy
Main Issues:
• In the past 10 years NGOs have contributed
remarkably to development but at the global level it
remains limited.
• Many small-scale successes have been achieved but
systems and structures of the Governments that
determine the distribution of power and resources
within and between the societies remains largely
• As a result, the impact of NGOs on the lives of the
poor people is highly localized and often transitory.
A Need for NGO Strategy
Main issues (Con’t)
• Government programs are often large in scale but
limited in their impact
• Failure of the NGOs to make the right linkages
between their work at micro-level and higher
systems and structures of the governments
therefore the successes of NGO projects remain
“Islands of Success”
• Many NGO projects are small scale and never
enough to secure lasting improvements of the lives
of the poor people…
NGO Strategy
4 Approaches
Scaling-up via working with the government
Scaling-up via operational expansion
Scaling-up via lobbying and advocacy
Scaling-up via supporting local level initiative
Some Facts should be noted about the Government
• Government structures are hierarchical and autocratic.
• Power and control rest at the top level of the central
government where they program and control over
• Governments have a natural tendency to centralization
bureaucracy (red-tape) and control?
• Governments have authoritarian relationships with their
citizens in terms of tax collection, law enforcement,
protection of social order…
• Governments remain largely responsible for providing
health, education, agriculture and other social services that
people rely on.
Some facts (con’t)
• Many NGOs have ignored the government structures
in their work by trying to work directly with the local
people. But some of them have learned and realized
that they should work with the government structures
if they want to have an impact or change at various
• International NGOs work actively with government
institutions and ministries to promote changes in
policies and practice.
• National NGOs take more active role in the political
process and lower level of the government institutions.
Scaling-up via Working with the Government
• Aims to foster more appropriate and effective policies and
practices carried out by civil servants and ensure that the
governments at national adopt policies which will benefit
and enable the poor people to control over their lives.
• The approach is to provide funds directly to the
governments, policy advice, technical assistance (incl.
volunteer) and a combination of these, a package of inputs...
• The approach is not an attempt to replace the government
work but rather to influence the direction of the government
policy or to support the existing policies. NGOs cannot seek
to replace the state because they have no legitimacy,
authority or sovereignty and importantly they are self-elected
so they are not accountable?
Working with the Government (Con’t)
Important points to be considered:
• NGOs should understand structures, systems and policies of
• Study programs and projects of the governments;
• Study constraints and difficulties of the government
• Commit to partnership with the governments for long periods
of time
• Create good personalities and partnerships with individuals of
the governments (e.g. observing conflict of interests, capacity
building, multiplication at macro and micro level);
• Coalition and networking to combat with larger donors
• Sometimes, allowing government to take over credit of
Scaling-up via Operational Expansion
• This approach is to increase impact of the NGOs by
expanding projects or programmes. The expansion can take
several forms:
 Geographical – moving to new areas or countries
 Horizontal – adding additional sectoral activities to
the existing programs
 Vertical – adding upstream or down stream activities
to the existing programs
• Organizational Pluralism in service delivery creates choice
and efficiency that can speed up the efforts for poverty
Scaling-up via Lobbying and Advocacy
• Rationale to this approach: many causes of underdevelopment
created by poor and inappropriate political and economic
structures e.g. policies of the governments and other
multilateral institutions such as WB, IMF and other major
donor agencies.
• This approach aims to increase impact on the structures of the
governments by individual NGO or joining together among
NGOs as national and international level of efforts to lobby
governments and bilateral and multilateral donor agencies to
change their structures and policies in order to benefit the poor
people and countries, e.g. campaign on protection of
environment and natural resources, food aid, respect of human
Lobbying and Advocacy (Con’t)
Approach (continued):
• NGOs lobby donor agencies in terms of offer debt relief for
poor countries, on structural adjustment (WB and IMF).
• Some NGOs contact key individuals within bilateral and
multilateral agencies to learn more about the policies and
have good relationships with them
• Many governments and donor agencies have seen the
NGOs as implementers but not as partnership for policy
dialogue. So, this approach also aims to strengthen the
relationships between NGOs and donor agencies.
Scaling-up via Supporting Local Level Initiative
• The focus of the NGOs involve in supporting local
initiative: awareness raising, building, group formation,
leadership, training and management skills rather than the
contents of programs and activities the local organization
• The aim is to empower people to have greater control
over local and national decision making and resources.
• It also seeks to improve ability and right to define
collective goals, make decisions and learn from
• NGOs not to influence the CBO activities but play role as
intermediary mixes catalysis with other programs.
Supporting Local Level Initiative (Con’t)
• The approach focuses on support to disadvantaged
individuals to form into groups and organizations and
join together to have influence on policies and politics
at the national level.
• Another important aspect is to promote democracy at
local level by combining voices of local people through
their representatives at national level - many NGOs
have claimed or considered themselves to represent the
voice of the poor.
• This approach can also be used to promote
accountability the government to the local people.
Scaling-up approaches aim to maximize the
NGO impact and effectiveness.
These approaches can be the best strategies
for achieving the greater impact but it is
necessary to be used and implemented with
consensus where none exists.