Challenges NGOs face in maintaining faithfulness to their primary goal of poverty alleviation include:

  • Differences in pay and lifestyles between international and local workers can result in local inflation and economies dependant on the aid industry dollar.
  • Opting for visible short-term results, particularly in emergency and humanitarian relief, over the longer-term needs of communities.
  • Failing to prioritise working alongside local partners.
  • Failing to adequately consult and communicate with communities, resulting in culturally inappropriate and ineffective aid.

NGOs have a responsibility to be accountable to the communities in which they work. The best way to do this is to build relationships with those communities and to seek to make aid unnecessary. NGO aid should:

  • Empower people and strengthen community processes.
  • Be based on respect, dialogue and long-term partnership.
  • Be poverty-focussed.
  • Be sustainable.
  • Work in solidarity with local communities for social justice.
  • Be mutually transparent and accountable.
  • Actively seek to address unequal power between international and local staff and the organisations and the communities they work with.

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Last updated 4 November 2010