Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) + Government = Non-Organization... but not in Kenya

I met with the national director, Mr. Seifert, last week to get more information about ADPK and its history (everyone is so welcoming and helpful in Kenya that if I want to talk to someone or see something, they’ll make it happen). The association is really inspiring with its stability, future prospects, and affect and it has a great framework that would prove invaluable to other countries trying to start a similar organization.

I read the annual report, several grant proposals, and basically all the brochures and information booklets they had about APDK, learning about more of the technical aspects, but wanted to learn more about Mr. Seifert’s view and recommendations. From the readings, I saw that the Kenyan government had a huge role in the success of this NGO. Traditionally, governments and NGOs don’t work too well together because the government feels they have to compete for money or the NGO feels threatened by the government. However, Mr. Seifert felt that the key to nationalizing and stabilizing a program or association is collaboration with the government.

I think I agree, though I need to think more about this concept, but my initial thought is that without the government, there is only so much you can do and only so far that you can spread. You want to make a NGO self-sustainable, limiting the reliance on donors in case something happens to that relationship or the donor loses the means to contribute. This is hard to do if the government isn’t involved, and even harder if the government isn’t happy with the idea. As an executive member of the Christian Blind Organization which has hundreds of international developmental projects worldwide, Mr. Seifert spoke on their behalf and said the only way to make a national, sustainable difference is to collaborate with the government. In fact, many donors and organizations offering grants are changing their policies and only granting or donating funds if the proposal comes through the nation’s government. Therefore, many NGO’s are realizing that without working with the government, they often will not be able to work at all.

But then what happens to those countries where the government is not interested in helping its people? Especially not the "weaker" ones they find dispensable and "useless." India seems to be one of these cases where if you brought up the idea of starting a ngo working to help the poor physically disabled, the government would not look twice at the proposal. How then can you make a national impact?


Anonymous said...

Easily I to but I dream the collection should prepare more info then it has.

Anonymous said...

Again a fair post. Thanks your crony

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