Excerpt from a post in the Guardian Global Development Professionals Network – We are living in an age of protest by Maina Kiai (UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association). I’ve italicised where it is relevant to my interests in International Development issues and the effective use of resources.
We are living in an age of protest
On top of this, as the head of NGO based in Africa, he laments the fact that large western NGOs seem to hoover up most development funding.
“I do think that large NGOs take up a lot of the development assistance aimed at civil society, which is generally way less than what goes to governments and government agencies, but it’s not that simple. You obviously can’t lump all ‘development assistance’ together. This aid covers a lot of things: health, education, food, care for refugees, training and capacity building, and of course human rights and democracy,” he says.
“I’d argue we need to change our thinking entirely on this. Humanitarian types of aid are reactive – and certainly necessary. But it doesn’t get to the root of the problem, even when donors fund things like health and education. Often this money is being dumped into broken and corrupt systems, but donors keep dumping it.”
Full post – We are living in an age of protest
Effective use of development assistance
One of my major concerns is related to “large NGOs take up a lot of the development assistance aimed at civil society”. I know local changemakers in Africa who are doing great work with minimal resources. Their work needs to be better funded and to be made visible. It is now comparatively simple to share information about locally initiated projects thanks to mobile phones and the Internet (I speak from years of experience of UK-Nigeria online collaboration). If local pioneering work from various locations is made visible, then those projects can serve as the protoypes of what can be achieved. This would be infinitely more cost-effective than the traditional large NGO top down approach. See – It’s time to end this development disconnect