Maxwell School

TNGO Updates

Recent happenings from the TNGO Initiative

Saturday Night Live parodies non-profit donation commercials

 Permanent link
Saturday Night Live clip titled '39' cents pokes fun at the methods used by non-profits to fund-raise money.  Click on the link to watch the video!

'Doctors without Borders changed the way we heal the world' -NPR Morning Edition Oct 9th

 Permanent link

As a result of the Ebola epidemic and the scramble to respond Doctors without Borders (MSF) has received increased exposure for their work in East Africa as well as throughout their 40-year history.

Link to NPR's Morning Edition Oct 9th segment:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/10/09/354754651/doctors-without-borders-changed-the-way-we-heal-the-world

MSF


The TNGO Initiative will host Dave Karpf to talk about social petition

 Permanent link

Dave Karpf, assistant professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs of George Washington University, will speak about how social petition sites like Change.org have shaped citizen engagement. In this presentation, David Karpf will share new findings on how the leading social petition sites construct dramatically different user experiences and leverage competing forms of citizen participation. The event takes place Thursday, October 23rd Karpfat 12:30PM in 100 Eggers Hall.

dkarpf         change

Developing Stories, Developing Countries: Documentary Short Film and Discussion with Jake Herrle EIR

 Permanent link

Executive Education's Peer to Peer event with Jake Herrle explores the post-conflict life of a Ugandan women that was kidnapped by the LRA and forced to be a child soldier before escaping. The 11 minute film will be followed by discussion. Thursday, Oct 9th 12:30-1:30 204 Maxwell Hall. 

Jake Herrle

Oxfam blogpost on Australian government's climate change strategy

 Permanent link
http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/links-i-liked-18/#prettyPhoto-img/0/

Reveal a Corruption Story together with Infogr.am and Transparency International

 Permanent link
http://blog.infogr.am/post/96971140704/reveal-a-corruption-story-together-with-infogr-am-and

Come participate in Maxwell alum Vivek Srinivasan's talk titled Combating Corruption with Mobil Phones

(Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link
Viveck Srinivasan talks on how to combat corruption in India with mobile devices

New York Times: Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks

(Research) Permanent link
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/us/politics/foreign-powers-buy-influence-at-think-tanks.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

‘Beyond our two minutes’: which international bodies are good or bad at consulting civil society organizations?

(Research, Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link
http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/beyond-our-two-minutes-which-international-bodies-are-goodbad-at-consulting-civil-society-organizations/

An Open Letter to our Fellow Activists Around the Globe

(Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link
http://blogs.civicus.org/civicus/2014/08/06/an-open-letter-to-our-fellow-activists-across-the-globe-building-from-below-and-beyond-borders/

Shifting sands: the changing landscape for international NGOs

(Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link
New Link

TNGO Initiative: 2013-14 report of activities available

 Permanent link
A summary of activities of the TNGO Initiative for 2013-14 is now available for download on the main page.

'Corporations and NGOs' is a top-cited article

 Permanent link
The 2012 article 'Corporations and NGOs: When Accountability Leads to Co-optation,' co-authored by Dorothea Baur and Hans Peter Schmitz, is in the top five of most cited publications at the Journal of Business Ethics.

Article: ''Canada Revenue Agency says ‘preventing poverty’ not allowed as goal for charity''

 Permanent link

The Canada Revenue Agency has told a well-known charity that it can no longer try to prevent poverty around the world, it can only alleviate poverty — because preventing poverty might benefit people who are not already poor.

The bizarre bureaucratic brawl over a mission statement is yet more evidence of deteriorating relations between the Harper government and some parts of Canada’s charitable sector.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Article: ''How can politics change to serve future generations (on climate change, but lots of other stuff too)?'

 Permanent link
From Poverty to Power has posted a new item, 'How can politics change to serve future generations (on climate change, but lots of other stuff too)?'

No-one objected to yesterday’s rehash of a recent BS (blue sky, OK?) session, so here’s another. An hour in a cool café in Brixton market with Kiwi academic Jonathan Boston, wrestling with the really big question on climate change and the survival of our species: how could political institutions emerge that govern for future generations?

Jonathan, [...] 

Click here to read the full post.

Michael Edwards, well known author of the book 'Civil Society', summarizes his latest edition in 1000 words

 Permanent link

Title: When is civil society a force for social transformation?

Tagline: There are more civil society organizations in the world today than at any other time in history, so why isn't their impact growing? 

When you look at the numbers, the growth of civil society has been remarkable: 3.3 million charities in India and 1.5 million across the United States; NGOs like the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee that work with hundreds of millions of people; 81,000 international NGOs and networks, 90 per cent of them launched since 1975. That’s not counting all the street protests, social movements and informal community groups that are often omitted from the data. In the UK, for example, these latter outnumber registered charities by more than four to one.

Click here to read more.




Sterling, Toby - Greenpeace Loses $5.2M on Rogue Employee Trading

 Permanent link

Greenpeace has suffered a 3.8 million-euro ($5.2 million) loss on an ill-timed bet in the currency market by a well-intentioned — if reckless — employee in its finance department.

The environmental group, which is based in Amsterdam, said Monday the employee — who had bet the euro would not strengthen against other currencies in 2013, when it did — had acted beyond the limits of his authority.

Greenpeace International fired the employee, whom it did not identify, but said there was no evidence of fraud.

"Every indication is, this was done with the best of intentions but not the best of judgment," said spokesman Mike Townsley in a telephone interview from Mexico....

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Stephen Kinzer, ''Are human rights activists today’s warmongers?''

 Permanent link

ALMOST EVERYONE likes the idea of human rights. The phrase itself is freighted with goodness. Supporting human rights is like supporting world peace.

The modern human rights movement began as a band of outsiders, fighting governments on behalf of the faceless and voiceless. President Jimmy Carter brought it into the American foreign policy establishment by naming an outspoken assistant secretary of state for human rights. This meant that concern for the poor, the brutalized, and the imprisoned would be heard in the highest councils of government.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

Fascinating visualization of long term changes in global poverty

 Permanent link

This set of data visualizations represents in a very accessible way how much global poverty has changed in the past couple of decades. How have TNGOs contributed to these changes?

http://www.one.org/us/2014/05/20/12-data-visualizations-that-illustrate-povertys-biggest-challenges/

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University is looking for a hero

 Permanent link

At a gala dinner on November 20, 2014, special guest Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, will present the Maxwell Spirit of Public Service Award to an individual or organization whose contributions to the public good epitomize the highest ideals of the School.

We are currently seeking nominations for this prestigious award.  Nominees may be drawn from the Maxwell community or from the world at large.

Do you know someone who fits the bill?  Or can you pass this along to friends and colleagues who might have ideas?   For the full criteria or to nominate someone, please go to http://maxwellgala.syr.edu/nominate.   The deadline for submissions is June 6, 2014.


Rafia Zakaria, ''The White Tourist's Burden''

 Permanent link

"Growing Western demand for altruistic vacations is feeding the white-savior industrial complex..."

Click here to read the rest of the article.

The Rise of NGOs in China

 Permanent link

This week’s issue of The Economist has two interesting articles on the rise of NGOs in China. These articles provide a helpful background on the differing political contexts and how they affect the development of the nonprofit sector.

"Enter the Chinese NGO

"Beneath the Glacier"

Duncan Green: 'Understanding the nature of power: the force field that shapes development'

 Permanent link
Duncan Green wrote this post for ODI's Development Progress blog. It went up last week, closing a series of posts on the theme of Political Voice.

Women’s empowerment is one of the greatest areas of progress in the last century, so what better theme for a post on ‘voice’ than gender rights?

Globally, the gradual empowerment of women [...]

Read the full post by clicking here.

Peter Bell: Global Activist Battled Policies That Disenfranchised the Powerless

 Permanent link

Peter Bell, former President of CARE USA, visited the Transnational NGO Initiative in 2008.  He was a well known civil society leader.

"When Peter Bell died of cancer at age 73 this month, the nonprofit world lost one of its most passionate, visionary and humble leaders. Peter was uniquely both a statesman and an activist. He devoted his life to reducing poverty, defending human rights, and advancing political freedom in jobs that included heading the nonprofit aid group CARE......"  Please click here to read the rest of the article.

Podcast Interviews: Owen Barden of the Center for Global Development (CGD)

 Permanent link
Students focused on International Development may find subscribing to this series of podcast interviews between Owen Barden of the Center for Global Development (CGD) and a diverse range of development thinkers useful: http://developmentdrums.org/824

New publication: Addressing non-communicable diseases

 Permanent link
Hans Peter Schmitz contributed to the latest issue of Dialogue (King's College London) the article: Addressing non-communicable diseases: the role of the United States government, philanthropies, and civil society.

INTRAC, ''Calling our bluff on capacity building''

 Permanent link

''International NGOs are under threat.  Between 2009 and 2011, the proportion of funding through Northern NGOs as compared with direct funding to Southern civil society fell by 60 per cent.  Across Europe, government donors are questioning the added value of international NGOs (INGOs). They are no longer satisfied with glib INGO responses about ‘we build local capacity.’  They want to see evidence.  They are calling our bluff.....''

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Interviews: James Crowley, Associate, Accenture Development Partnerships

 Permanent link

The interview is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7AIMKFQkFA

Career interview is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnmJ7lcLijY


About James Crowley:

James is a business advisor with more than 25 years’ experience with a variety of large private-sector companies and, more recently, with a range of agencies in the international development sector.   James joined Accenture’s strategic consulting practice in 1989, became a partner in 1997 and worked across a range of strategy and organisation change issues for energy, consumer products, high tech and public sector companies, including major international clients such as SmithKline Beecham, Hewlett Packard, Shell and British Gas, as well as a range of energy companies. Up to 2005, James led Accenture’s strategy practice in the United Kingdom and Ireland and was the practice lead for the European Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances practice for many years.   He formally left Accenture’s commercial consulting practice in 2005 to focus on strategic and organisational performance issues in the international development sector. However, he has continued to work extensively with Accenture’s not–for-profit practice; Accenture Development Partnerships. Over that time, he has led a range of assignments on international strategic issues for clients such as Plan International, African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF), World Vision, Amnesty International, Catholic Relief Services and Voluntary Service Overseas.     In parallel with his ongoing advisory work, James invests a portion of his time on new independent research pieces which aim to stimulate new management ideas around the effectiveness of large international NGOs, as well as new collaborative approaches between development and private sector organisations. The first of these was released in 2009 in collaboration with World Vision and Accenture Development Partnerships, “The Rubik’s cube of cross-sector collaboration” [www.thecrowleyinstitute.org].  In 2013, James published a series of new research papers in a book titled “Building a Better International NGO - Greater than the Sum of the parts?”, which has been widely reviewed and appreciated by leaders in the sector across the world, and is now available on Amazon.comhttp://amzn.to/143ZEtM James holds a first-class honours degree in Engineering from University College Cork, a Master’s degree in offshore engineering from University College London and a Master of Business Administration from London Business School. 

From Poverty to Power, ''The Civil Society Flashpoint: Why the global crackdown? What can be done about it?''

 Permanent link
This guest post comes from Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, drawing from their new report, Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire.

When the concept of civil society took the international aid community by storm in the 1990s, many aid providers reveled in the alluring idea of [...]

Read the full post here.

Public Interest Registry is preparing a new domain for NGOs: .ngo

 Permanent link

Public Interest Registry, a US based NGO that is the top level domain provider for all organizations on the web with an .org domain name, is preparing a new domain for NGOs: .ngo. Please see the information here.

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken of the TNGO Initiative recently held an interesting discussion with PIR’s top leaders about how to make sure this new global directory function associated with .ngo would be open primarily to “genuine”  NGOs – a complex undertaking.

Presentation: James Crowley, ''Building a Better NGO''

 Permanent link

Here you can find the presentation from James Crowley's public talk entitled, "Building a Better NGO: Contributing to Breakthroughs in the Fight against Poverty and Injustice." 

James Crowley, Presentation


Information about Talk:

James will summarize what international NGOs need to do to be able to assist in the delivery of breakthroughs in the fight against poverty and injustice. He will touch on questions covered in his recent book, such as: what do international NGOs need to do to get in better shape; what are and should be the core competencies of international NGOs; what about their structure; what about ICT for development; how to craft strategy; and what does accountability really mean.


About James Crowley:

James is a business advisor with more than 25 years’ experience with a variety of large private-sector companies and, more recently, with a range of agencies in the international development sector.   James joined Accenture’s strategic consulting practice in 1989, became a partner in 1997 and worked across a range of strategy and organisation change issues for energy, consumer products, high tech and public sector companies, including major international clients such as SmithKline Beecham, Hewlett Packard, Shell and British Gas, as well as a range of energy companies. Up to 2005, James led Accenture’s strategy practice in the United Kingdom and Ireland and was the practice lead for the European Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances practice for many years.   He formally left Accenture’s commercial consulting practice in 2005 to focus on strategic and organisational performance issues in the international development sector. However, he has continued to work extensively with Accenture’s not–for-profit practice; Accenture Development Partnerships. Over that time, he has led a range of assignments on international strategic issues for clients such as Plan International, African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF), World Vision, Amnesty International, Catholic Relief Services and Voluntary Service Overseas.     In parallel with his ongoing advisory work, James invests a portion of his time on new independent research pieces which aim to stimulate new management ideas around the effectiveness of large international NGOs, as well as new collaborative approaches between development and private sector organisations. The first of these was released in 2009 in collaboration with World Vision and Accenture Development Partnerships, “The Rubik’s cube of cross-sector collaboration” [www.thecrowleyinstitute.org].  In 2013, James published a series of new research papers in a book titled “Building a Better International NGO - Greater than the Sum of the parts?”, which has been widely reviewed and appreciated by leaders in the sector across the world, and is now available on Amazon.comhttp://amzn.to/143ZEtM James holds a first-class honours degree in Engineering from University College Cork, a Master’s degree in offshore engineering from University College London and a Master of Business Administration from London Business School.

Article: Srdja Popvoic, Executive Director of CANVAS, ''The Secret of Political Jiu-Jitsu''

 Permanent link

Srdja Popvoic, the Executive Director of The Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), recently published an article in Foreign Policy Magazine entitled, "The Secret of Political Jiu-Jitsu: How to 'make oppression backfire' by peacefully leveraging the brutality of the oppressors."  The article can be found here: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/03/03/the_secret_of_political_jiu_jitsu.  

 

CANVAS was a TNGO hosted visitor in 2012, and the Maxwell Public Administration students did a capstone project with them.  

 

About the article:

 

CANVAS has traced and documented how grassroots activists from Ukraine, Venezuela, Egypt and many other countries have dealt with oppression in the course of their human rights struggles.  Whether it is police brutality, illegal detentions or even the open fire on brave civilians, oppression can take many forms. But there are ways to deal with it accordingly - but that comes only with proper strategy and knowledge of tactics. 

 

Please Spread and Share:

 

CANVAS has created a three-fold strategy about how to deal with oppression, which is discussed in depth in the article.  With proper planning is it possible for nonviolent movements to not only deal with oppression, it but make it work in their favor. They have a booklet that is not available for here: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/files/fp_uploaded_documents/making-oppression-backfire.pdf.  CANVAS would appreciate you sharing this with your network so that as many activists as possible may learn how to make oppression backfire in their own struggles.

 
 

TNGO Initiative wins Moynihan Faculty Challenge research grant to research digital civil society networks

 Permanent link
The TNGO Initiative has been awarded one of five small research grants as part of the Moynihan Challenge competition. The small, exploratory study ‘Digitally Enabled Civil Society Organizing: What are the Challenges and Opportunities for Traditional NGOs?” will compare and contrast  the organizational as well as leadership attributes of digital networks as compared to traditional ‘brick and mortar’ NGOs. It hopes to examine organizations like Change.org, Avaaz, ONE, Ushahidi and others which have emerged as important civil society players in the last five years or so.
 
The study will result in publications as well as in a ‘debate style’ panel at the planned Moynihan Symposium (Feb. 2015) between leaders of NGOs as well as digital networks, and academics.

Caitlin L Chandler, ''Kenya’s first mockumentary takes on the NGO world''

 Permanent link

Finally, a new TV show exists to highlight some of the absurdities of the international aid sector. The slyly named The Samaritans is a comedy about the perils – and pleasures – of the “NGO world”. Created by a Kenya-based production company, it chronicles the work of Aid for Aid – an NGO that, in the words of its creator, “does nothing." ..... 

The following is a link to the rest of the article: http://africasacountry.com/kenyas-first-mockumentary-takes-on-the-ngo-world/ 

Alina Tugend, Crowdfunding’s Effect on Venerable Nonprofits Raises Concern

 Permanent link

The ads ran for years. The global charity Save the Children asked for a monthly donation, and in return, a few times a year the donors received a photo and handwritten note or drawing from children in impoverished places like Haiti.

The idea, of course, was that donors would have some sort of connection to the contribution. Most people knew that, in reality, the few dollars were not given directly to those children but to projects that would supposedly benefit them. .......

Read the whole article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/your-money/crowdfundings-effect-on-venerable-nonprofits-raises-concern.html?emc=eta1&_r=0


Matthew Sherrington, The Changing Big Wide World for NGOs

 Permanent link

Matthew Sherrington reflects on how changes in the development sector are shifting thinking about funding and communications.

What international development looks like has changed. The old ‘north/south’ paradigm no longer fits. NGOs and the private sector now compete to deliver contracted services. Mobile technology is one of the biggest catalysts for change today. It’s as important to change the system that drives poverty, as the circumstances of people who experience it. Does this change how we should engage the public? ...........

Read the full article here: http://www.bond.org.uk/the-changing-big-wide-world-for-ngos


The Bridgespan Group, ''Making Measurement Work in Large, Complex Organizations''

 Permanent link

It's one thing for large social-sector organizations to embrace the idea of measurement as a way to enhance program impact. It’s entirely another for them to figure out how to design and implement measurement systems for multisite, multiservice, and even global organizations. One NGO leader we spoke with described the experience as "wading through the measurement mess."

While there's no easy fix for this "measurement mess," multiservice global NGOs we've studied and advised have forged ways to cut through the complexity—here's how:


Click on the link below the read the rest of the article:

http://www.bridgespan.org/Blogs/Measuring-to-Improve/February-2014/Making-Measurement-Work-in-Complex-Orgs.aspx#.UvO7K-LAzD4.email

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, ''Mountain Few''

 Permanent link

Click here to view a clip entitled, "Mountain Few - The Money Oscars at Davos," from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  It draws on an Oxfam report about inequality.  More specifically, it references a recently published statistic that 85 of the richest people have as much combined wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people.

Enrique Mendizabal, ''What is the point of the development sector?: Unmediated support is the future''

 Permanent link

Access the whole article here: http://onthinktanks.org/2013/12/01/what-is-the-point-of-the-development-sector-unmediated-support-is-the-future/


I gave a speech at the ACFID Universities Network’s conference in Sydney in late November that challenge the need for an Aid, or Development, Sector.

This is not a word for word account of that speech but rather an edited version of it, written afterwards, and with the support of very useful comments provided by some of the participants.

There was also a pre-confernce heated debate with some ACFID staff members at the famous BBQ King over delicious crispy duck. So I thank them for that.

The point of my speech, an idea that is still ‘work in progress’, was to argue that the development sector, the aid industry, has developed into such a separate sector, sometimes claiming to be a profession and a discipline, that now bears little resemblance with other sectors and professions from where it should (or at least did) draw its legitimacy. As a consequence, international development policies are not designed and implemented by, say, education, public health or energy experts, as would be expected in developed and developing countries alike, but by a motley crew of individuals who have little more than the study and knowledge of ‘the aid industry’ to claim as their expertise.

I say this knowing that it is a bit of a generalisation but I still feel that many of the most prolific ‘development experts’ would not be trusted with policy in their own countries but are still free to logframethe lives of millions around the world.


Poverty to Power, ''Working for the Few''

 Permanent link
Poverty to Power, ''Working for the Few: Top new report on the links between politics and inequality"

As the world’s self-appointed steering committee gathers in Davos, 2014 is already shaping up as a big year for inequality. The World Economic Forum’s ‘Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014’ ranks widening income disparities as the second greatest worldwide risk in the coming 12 to 18 months (Middle East and North Africa came top, since [...]

Read the full post at:
http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/working-for-the-few-top-new-report-on-the-links-between-politics-and-inequality/

Best regards,
Duncan Green

The problem with public policy schools, op-ed by James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley

 Permanent link
This fall, Georgetown University announced the creation of a new school of public policy, thanks to a gift of $100 million from an alumnus. And in October, the University of New Hampshire announced that it would use a $20 million gift to launch a public policy school of its own.

It is easy to understand the impulse behind such actions. “It’s an awfully frustrating time in the world,” David Ellwood, dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, told us. “There are large and challenging problems, including climate change, demography, budget problems, terrorism, extremism and partisanship.” At public policy schools, he explains, “we think it’s our job to fix these things.” The faculty and students, Ellwood says, “are united by the principle of making the world a better place.”..........................MORE.

Rights-based approach to development: a response to J. Brian Atwood

 Permanent link
Hans Peter Schmitz responds on openDemocracy to J. Brian Atwood's assessment of the rights-based approach (RBA) and its potential to align development policies across disparate actors. Schmitz agrees that RBA holds much promise, but argues that international NGOs need to show more evidence regarding their own effectiveness (1), address problems of donor dependency (2), and expand their collaborative efforts in support of grassroots rights mobilization (3).

Event 11/20/13: Gabor Rona, Legal Director at Human Rights First

 Permanent link

Gabor Rona, Legal Director at Human Rights First, will be joining the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) for an informal jobs/networking discussion session for students interested in working in international human rights & humanitarian law/NGOs and other areas of international affairs, law, policy, and security.

 

They will be meeting at 4pm in Eggers 100A (the conference room inside the Department of Political Science) over appetizers. Please feel free to ask Mr. Rona any questions that pertain to his job, opportunities and networks in these fields, and other relevant items.

 

http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/about-us/staff/gabor-rona/

Event Today: Sunita Viswanath, Co-Founder and board member for Women for Afghan Women

 Permanent link

There will be an event today (November 19th) at 2:00PM in Eggers 341 entitled "Women for Afghan Women:Transforming Community from Within Community."  Sunita Viswanath for more information.

 

(Event, Nov. 20): Kateryna Pishchikova, Cornell Institute for European Studies

 Permanent link

Please note that the following event is not being organized by the Transnational NGO Initiative nor is it about TNGO related issues.  However, the speaker is an authority on women’s NGOs in Central Asia and Eastern Europe and we are announcing this event on behalf of the Moynihan European Research Centers (MERC). The TNGO Initiative will have an informal meeting with Kateryna at 2:30pm on November 20th in Eggers 341 to discuss her knowledge about women’s NGO issues in that region. Any interested students are welcome to attend.

Event Time and Location:

November 20, 2013 12:30 PM
341 Eggers Hall

Information about the talk:

"Ukraine Between East and West: The EU, Russia, and Ukraine’s Strategic Choice"

The European Union (EU) policy toward Eurasia is at a watershed moment. On November 28-29, leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine will meet in Vilnius, Lithuania, for a summit that is due to include the signing of a number of crucial new agreements. Yet, the success of the summit is far from assured. Russia has threatened trade sanctions, energy supply interruptions, and security reprisals against states choosing to sign new agreements with the EU. Ukraine is largely seen as a key country in this geostrategic game. The talk will address the issues at stake for Ukraine in its rapprochement with the EU and relations with Russia.

Information about the speaker:

Dr. Kateryna Pishchikova is a visiting scholar at the Cornell Institute for European Studies. She is the author of Promoting Democracy in Postcommunist Ukraine: The Contradictory Outcomes of US Aid to Women's NGOs (Lynne Rienner, 2011).


Please click here in order to access the event's poster.

Slideshow Presentation: Kris Torgeson's Opinions Without Borders: Reforming the Governance Structure of a Large International NGO

 Permanent link

Please click here to access the slideshow presentation from Kris Torgeson's October 22nd talk entitled "Opinions Without Borders."  


Information about the talk:

 

Nearing its 40th anniversary in 2011, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) found itself both proud of its achievements and growth as well as confronted by internal and external challenges that its governance structure could no longer adequately address. How does a large international non-profit confront such challenges and come to the consensus needed to reform itself? What are the steps taken, the risks faced, the choices made, and the lessons learned?

Kris Torgeson's Bio:

Kris Torgeson served as the Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) from October 2008 to September 2012. MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, is one of the world’s most renowned humanitarian relief NGOs. MSF typically perform their role in emergency relief immediately following disasters and other forms of crises. Kris started working for MSF in 1998 and was Director of Communications for MSF USA before joining MSF International. She holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University and a master's degree in Chinese from Columbia University. Kris is currently working as a non-profit management consultant based in New York. 

Event (Nov. 7): Collaboration and Management: Expatriates and Host Country Nationals in Transnational NGOs

 Permanent link

On Thursday, November 7th at 12:30 PM, there will be a panel discussion entitled, "Collaboration and Management: Expatriates and Host Country Nationals in Transnational NGOs."

Location: 341 Eggers Hall. Lunch will be provided. Please click here in order to access the event's poster.

Information about the panel:

 

So you’ve landed your dream job at an international non-profit: How do you work most productively with your colleagues? Ensuring a healthy work environment amongst work colleagues is important in development programs. However, often power dynamics and lack of cultural understanding may prevent constructive collaboration between national and expatriate staff.

The panel of NGO practitioners (who may also happen to be your classmates!) will address practitioner experience in maneuvering within the power structures of transnational NGOs and will give sound advice in resolving recurrent issues within management of transnational NGOs.


Panelists:

Annie Sheria Msosais is a Fulbright scholar. She has over 12 years professional experience in the field of humanitarian development with GOAL, Plan International, Habitat for Humanity International, and Action Aid International.

Idris Jonmamadovis is a Fulbright scholar from Tajikistan. Prior to Maxwell School, he worked mainly in the development sector in his home country. Idrisworked in the microfinance sector, a USAID funded educational project, InternewsNetwork and the World Bank in Tajikistan.

Sadie Conrad has 4 years of experience working abroad.While servingas a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana from 2009-2011, shemanagedclinicalHIV/AIDS programs and also worked with a localnon-profit women’s shelter.

Carlo Abuyuana is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, and has six years of experience working with non-profits. Most recently, he worked for two years at a microenterprise and health prevention non-profit in Kenya.

Event (Nov. 6): Shayna Plaut, What is Human Rights Journalism?

 Permanent link
On Wednesday, November 6, from 12:45-2:00pm, Shayna Plaut will give a talk entitled "What is the relationship between human rights and journalism?"

Location: 341 Eggers Hall. Lunch will be provided.  Please click here to see the revised poster for Shayna Plaut's talk.
Information about the talk: 
Pulling from examples as an educator, activist and scholar, Shayna Plaut will walk through the process of how advocates and journalists frame domestic and international issues, including homelessness, police brutality, and access to education, as human rights issues. Troubling the simple notion of understanding journalism and objectivity, Shayna brings forth other ways of approaching journalism and journalism education -- from Indigenous journalism, Romani journalism and philanthro-journalism and asks what can be learned as we struggle to develop the emerging field of human rights journalism. In addition Shayna (along with three research assistants) are available to discuss an ongoing research project attempting to start to map the current state of human rights education within journalism education. 
Shayna Plaut's Bio: 
Shayna Plaut is a doctoral candidate at the University of British Columbia; her area of focus is on the intersections of journalism, human rights and social change with people who identify with being transnational. Shayna has lived and worked extensively in the Balkans as well as Sapmi (the traditional lands of the Saami people). After serving as the former Human Rights Education Coordinator for Amnesty International USA, since 2004, Shayna has designed and taught courses on human rights and human rights reporting to journalists and future producers of culture in Chicago and, upon moving to Vancouver, designed the first Human Rights Reporting class offered at the graduate level in Canada. Shayna is currently a visiting scholar with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) at Columbia University and works closely with the International Media and Communications specialization. Shayna Plaut has two cats and refuses to color inside the lines. 
 

 

 

Event (Oct. 22): Kris Torgeson, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)

 Permanent link
On Tuesday, October 22nd at 12:30 PM in 341 Eggers Hall, Kris Torgeson will give a talk entitled "Opinion Without Borders: Reforming a Governance Structure of a Large International NGO."  Lunch will be provided for this event.

She will also give a career talk later in the day between 4:00-5:00 PM at 204B Maxwell Hall.  

Information about the talk:

Nearing its 40th anniversary in 2011, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) found itself both proud of its achievements and growth as well as confronted by internal and external challenges that its governance structure could no longer adequately address. How does a large international non-profit confront such challenges and come to the consensus needed to reform itself? What are the steps taken, the risks faced, the choices made, and the lessons learned?

Kris Torgeson's Bio:

Kris Torgeson served as the Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) from October 2008 to September 2012. MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, is one of the world’s most renowned humanitarian relief NGOs. MSF typically perform their role in emergency relief immediately following disasters and other forms of crises. Kris started working for MSF in 1998 and was Director of Communications for MSF USA before joining MSF International. She holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University and a master's degree in Chinese from Columbia University. Kris is currently working as a non-profit management consultant based in New York. 

Symposium: Actors and Actions in a Globalized World

 Permanent link
There is a Public Diplomacy Symposium on November 1, 2013 entitled "Actors and Actions in a Globalized World."  For more information about each of the panels and panelists, please click here.  For detailed information about the panel entitled "The Global Participant in All of Us" that will run from 2:00-3:30 pm, please here.

The Guardian published an interesting article on private sector actors, their social impact and declining trust or relevance of NGOs.

 Permanent link
Please, click here in order to access the article, "NGOs no longer set the agenda for development, say CEOs" by Tim Smedley.

Working with ActionAid’s leaders on sharpening their leadership frames and capabilities: some observations.

 Permanent link

I just returned from a week of leadership development training with 21 senior leaders of ActionAid International, in Arusha, Tanzania. This was the TNGO Initiative’s first foray into delivering customized, in-house leadership development programming to an NGO client – of which we hope to do more in the future. Catherine Gerard, Director of PARCC and deputy director of Maxwell’s Executive Education and I co-delivered the training.

It was a fascinating week of interaction with ActionAid colleagues about their organizational identity, culture, individual leadership trait preferences, capabilities and gaps therein. As requested by ActionAid, we focused our programming on:

  • internal as well as external drivers for change in AAI;
  • creating greater self-awareness about individual leadership traits and characteristics through the application of a multitude of individual assessments;
  • how leaders can choose strategic behaviors;
  • skill building around the team leader as mentor as well as facilitator;
  • conflict management approaches;
  • leading and managing change both from a macro-organizational as well as micro level;
  • methods for persuasion, influencing and negotiation; 
  • strategic alignment across the organization -- cascading down from AAI’s global strategy;
  • organizational form, design and choices that leaders have;
  • national board building and management;
  • motivation needs among once’ s team members;
  • and finally how leaders can affect organizational culture.  

All of this was achieved through, among others, many case studies, simulations and individual as well as small group work. 

It is impossible to do justice to what Catherine Gerard and I learned across the week. A few things that stand out: first, the need to identify strengths in one’s organizational identity and values, but also gaps between espoused values and actual behaviors. Also, the realization that leaders in NGOs who engage in political engagement through a Rights Based Approach and its accompanying campaigning and advocacy work such as ActionAid also need to sharpen their individual political and symbolic types of leadership capabilities (‘positive politics’).  Finally, that collaborative   approaches to team work but also to bridging the differences of opinion that typically exist in any organization can usefully be expanded by learning about differences in conflict management between collaboration (based on the identification of interests), compromise and other approaches. 

The week also confirmed the importance of assessing one’s individual leadership style and its levels of flexibility – the extent to which leaders are able to choose strategic behaviors.

We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were happy to learn that ActionAid colleagues evaluated the experience as a very positive one. Hopefully we can continue this type of leadership work!

 

US Trade Unions attempt to broaden their coalition work to regain greater influence

 Permanent link
This interesting article in the New York Times highlights a new strategy by the AFL-CIO trade union to broaden its coalitions in order to regain some of its former influence vis-à-vis certain large employers in the service and retail industries. Click here.

TNGO Initiative co-written teaching case study wins international competition

 Permanent link

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken of the Transnational NGO Initiative, together with Steve Lux, Head of Maxwell's Executive Education department, co-wrote a teaching case study on leading organizational change in Save the Children International. We subsequently took part in an international competition with a blind peer review judging process, and were awarded the First Prize!

 

The case study will be made available for public sharing through the case study data bank of the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) at the Maxwell School, as of this summer.

 

For more information, check e-PARCC's database information here.

New publication: 'Principled Instrumentalism. A Theory of Transnational Behavior'

 Permanent link

The TNGO Initiative announces a new publication: Mitchell, George E. and Hans Peter Schmitz (forthcoming) Principled Instrumentalism: A Theory of Transnational NGO Behavior, Review of International Studies, a journal published by Cambridge University Press for the British International Studies Association (BISA).

 

Abstract: Scholarship has traditionally portrayed transnational NGOs (TNGOs) as ‘principled’ actors animated by global norms to advance human rights, sustainable development, humanitarian relief, environmental stewardship, and conflict resolution. However, scholarship has also identified instances in which TNGOs appear to act ‘instrumentally’ by engaging in resource-maximizing behavior seemingly inconsistent with their principled nature. Moreover, prior scholarship addressing this puzzle has been constrained by the limitations of small-n case studies examining relatively narrow subsectors of the TNGO community. Addressing these limitations, we reexamine the logic of TNGO behavior in light of findings from an interdisciplinary, mixed-method research initiative consisting of in-depth, face-to-face interviews with a diverse sample of 152 top organizational leaders from all major sectors of TNGO activity. Using an inductive approach to discover how TNGO leaders understand their own behavior, we introduce the heuristic of ‘principled instrumentalism’ and specify our framework with a formal model.

Dr. Nisha Agrawal, CEO of Oxfam India, to Speak Twice on 4/24: 12pm in Eggers 225B and 2pm in Eggers 306B

 Permanent link

Join Dr. Nisha Agrawal, the CEO of Oxfam India, for two exciting talks on Wednesday 4/24. 

 

"Oxfam India in the Oxfam International Confederation: Challenges and Opportunities"

12:00 PM in 225B Eggers

Lunch Will be Provided

Oxfam International is aiming to move from being an organization governed by "G8" voices to becoming a "G20" organization reflecting the new power distribution in the world. Oxfam India is the 15th member of the Oxfam International Confederation of 17 members, and the first affiliate truly based in the Global South. Oxfam’s transition from a "Northern" to an international confederation has represented some challenges both to Oxfam India as a member of the Oxfam Confederation as well as to Oxfam International's governance as it expands it membership.   The talk will shed light on this changing scenario and the challenges that a Southern Affiliate like Oxfam India faces in a global confederation.

 

“A Career Talk With: Dr. Nisha Agrawal CEO, Oxfam, India”

2PM in 206B Eggers

Dr. Agrawal has been working on poverty, inequality and social development issues for more than 20 years. Since March 2008, she has been the CEO of Oxfam India. During this period, she led a process to formulate Oxfam India’s new strategy entitled “Demanding Rights, Creating Opportunities” that provides a thematic focus in the four areas of Economic Justice, Gender Justice, Essential Services, and Humanitarian work. Oxfam India is a rights-based organization that funds about 180 NGOs that work at the grassroots levels to empower communities and ensure a life of dignity for all.

Prior to joining Oxfam India, Dr. Agrawal worked with the World Bank for almost 20 years and as a Research Associate at the Impact Research Center at Melbourne University from 1985 to 1989. Dr. Agrawal is a member of the global Gender Advisory Committee to the World Bank. Dr. Agrawal is an economist by training and has a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.A. She also earned an M.A. in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and a B.A. (Honors) in Economics from Miranda House, Delhi University

 

 

INGO Research in Social Media

 Permanent link

 Check out the Facebook page for the INGO Researchan exciting new virtual meeting place for academics and practitioners interested in exchanging ideas and data about the study and operation of international non-governmental organizations.

On the Road with NGOs: Secrecy, Transparency, and Power of Persuasive Gaps-4/12, 1230pm, Eggers 341

 Permanent link

On the Road with NGOs: Secrecy, Transparency, and Power of Persuasive Gaps

 

This paper examines Ghanaian NGOs’ use of knowledge in outreach projects aimed at ending female genital cutting. I ask what kind of knowledge is used and comes to be understood as truth in the encounters between NGOs and rural communities. What are the NGOs’ logics and practices of persuasion? What assemblages of knowledge and power gain local traction? Knowledge must circulate to be authoritative, anthropologists and science studies scholars agree. My argument is that knowledge becomes authoritative through both circulation and stoppage. On the basis of ethnographic research, I show that the NGOs are effective because of the interplay of transparency, secrecy, and productive gaps in understanding. I argue that persuasion depends on performance of truth, rather than the latest biomedical knowledge or newly calibrated policy prescriptions.

 

Dr. Saida Hodžić is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Cornell University. She received a PhD in Medical Anthropology from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, and taught at George Mason University and Brown University, where she held the first Louise Lamphere Visiting Assistant Professorship in Gender Studies. Her research examines the relationship between activism and governmentality in contemporary transnational movements that take gendered bodies as a site of intervention. She has published on Ghanaian NGOs’ cultures of governance and their transnational dimensions. Her work focuses on productive aspects of political formations whose effects are not simply salutary, the contingencies of governmental power, and the unintended consequences of NGOs’ tenuous successes. Her forthcoming book, Of Rebels, Spirits, and Social Engineers: The Awkward Endings of Female Genital Cutting examines the logics, techniques, and effects of Ghanaian interventions against cutting. 

 

Lunch Will Be Served 

Models of Servant Leadership: Final Research Talk by 2013 Moynihan TNGO Fellow on 4/11, 1230pm, 341 Eggers

 Permanent link

Models of Servant Leadership in Transnational NGOs

 

Join Dr. Uygar Özesmi for a final discussion on his research during his residency as the 2013 Moynihan TNGO Fellow!

 

Servant leadership is an open, strategic and responsive leadership that interacts with the principle of service to its constituency. In this talk Dr. Ozesmi will explore how servant leadership models are used in matching the expectations of supporters, small individual donors and staff with the mission of TNGOs.

 

He is a scientist and activist in the areas of civil society and the environment. He received a MSc degree in Environmental Science at Ohio State University as a Fulbright Scholar and a PhD as a MacArthur Scholar in Conservation Biology and Development and Social Change at the University of Minnesota. He has worked as Assistant Professor and Chair of Environmental Science at Erciyes University (2000-2004); Environmental Specialist at the United Nations Development Program (2004-2006); Executive Director of the TEMA Foundation (2006-2008), and Greenpeace Mediterranean (2008-2012). Dr. Özesmi is currently on the board of CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation.Dr. Uygar Özesmi serves on the global management team of Change.org as the Regional Director of Eastern Europe and West Asia.  Change.org is the largest citizen petition platform in the world, and an exciting new form of digitally facilitated citizen activism. 

 

Lunch Will be Served 

  

 

 

 

 

Career Talk with Regional Director of Change.org: 4/10, 2pm, Eggers 341

 Permanent link

Cosponsored by the Maxwell Center for Career Development

Dr. Uygar Özesmi serves on the global management team of Change.org as the Regional Director of Eastern Europe and West Asia.  Change.org is the largest citizen petition platform in the world, and an exciting new form of digitally facilitated citizen activism. He is a scientist and activist in the areas of civil society and the environment. He received a MSc degree in Environmental Science at Ohio State University as a Fulbright Scholar and a PhD as a MacArthur Scholar in Conservation Biology and Development and Social Change at the University of Minnesota. He has worked as Assistant Professor and Chair of Environmental Science at Erciyes University (2000-2004); Environmental Specialist at the United Nations Development Program (2004-2006); Executive Director of the TEMA Foundation (2006-2008), and Greenpeace Mediterranean (2008-2012). Dr. Özesmi is currently on the board of CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation.

 

New Trends in Mobilizing Citizen Activists: 12pm 4/9 Eggers 341

 Permanent link

TOMORROW: 2013 Moynihan TNGO Fellow Dr. Uygar Ozsemi of Change.org speaks about New Trends in Mobilizing Citizen Activists. 


12pm-1:30pm in Eggers 341 
Lunch will be provided

Join Dr. Özesmi for a discussion on online tools available for citizen activism, how these tools are transforming advocacy as we understand it today, and how they permeate into decision making and social systems to transform and change how society operates. There will be a special focus on how citizen activism is transforming decision-making in local governments and the state.

PARCC Presents: Prospects for Peace in Columbia, 4/9 12pm Eggers 209

 Permanent link

 Please join a TNGO collaborator, the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, for the following event:  

 

Prospects for Peace in Colombia: A Critical Analysis of the Current Negotiations 
With Dana Brown, Executive Director of the US Office on Colombia 

 

When: Tuesday, April 9, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Where:  209 Eggers Hall, Syracuse University

Pizza will be served 

 

Dana Brown will address the many facets of the current peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla, with a special focus on civil society engagement in the peace process. She will highlight the struggle of victims to secure some measure of truth, justice and reparations in this process, and the possibilities for a parallel peace process with the ELN (National Liberation Army). Lastly, she will expose critical issues excluded from the negotiating agenda that could have grave implications for the prospects of a lasting peace.

 

Dana Brown is the Executive Director of the US Office on Colombia, a human rights advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. She is a former Coordinator of the Committee on US/Latin American Relations, an Amnesty International USA Colombia Country Specialist, and an accompanier with Peace Brigades International in Colombia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Cornell University and a master’s degree in International Relations and Peace Studies from the Universidad del Salvador in Argentina. 

 

State of Civil Society Organizations in Turkey: Thurs. 4/4 at 11:30 in Eggers 341

 Permanent link

State of Civil Society Organizations in Turkey

Cosponsored by the Moynihan European Research Centers

 

Join the Moynihan European Research Centers, the Transnational NGO Initiative, and the 2013 Moynihan TNGO Fellow Dr. Özesmi for a discussion on the state of civil society in Turkey, including an analysis of the legal environment, state of funding, public perceptions, and current trends and topics. He will also examine how the state of civil society is progressing, and what the future holds.

  

Dr. Özesmi serves on the global management team of Change.org, the largest global citizen petition platform -- an exciting new form of digitally facilitated citizen activism. He is a scientist and activist in the areas of civil society and the environment. He received a MSc degree in Environmental Science at Ohio State University as a Fulbright Scholar and a PhD as a MacArthur Scholar in Conservation Biology and Development and Social Change at the University of Minnesota.  He has worked as Assistant Professor and Chair of Environmental Science at Erciyes University (2000-2004); Environmental Specialist at the United Nations Development Program (2004-2006); Executive Director of the TEMA Foundation (2006-2008), and Greenpeace Mediterranean (2008-2012). Dr. Özesmi is currently on the board of CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation.

 

Thurs. 4/4 at 11:30 in Eggers 341

Snacks will be provided

 

CANCELED: Lois Whitman, Founder of Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Division, speaks 4/3 at 9am in Whitman 404

 Permanent link

Lois Whitman

Senior Advisor, Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch

Advocating for Children's Rights on the International Scene: Strategies and Obstacles

April 3, 9-10am, Room 404 at the Whitman School


Join the Transnational NGO Initiative and Lois Whitman for an informal discussion on current trends in international advocacy and activism in the area of children’s rights.  Lois Whitman is the founder and former director (1994-2012) of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Division, which investigates human rights abuses of children around the world and seeks to end them.


A lawyer and a social worker, Ms. Whitman received a BA from Smith College, a Master's Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and a law degree from Rutgers University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, Newsday, and Africa Report.  She has testified before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and United States Congressional committees on several occasions. Ms. Whitman has taught Women and the Law at Hunter College, Law and Social Work at Stony Brook School of Social Work, and Children's Human Rights at Columbia University's School of International and Political Affairs. 

Bono: The Good News on Poverty

 Permanent link
An inspiring TED talk given by the philanthropist Bono on successes in extreme poverty reduction.

Useful Article on Nonprofit Survival Plans

 Permanent link
David Fetterman writes in the most recent issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy how nonprofits can create a survival plan in uncertain economic times. Check it out here.

Student Led Conference: Making Markets Work for the Poor

 Permanent link

Interested in seeing how Maxwell Students are learning about international development and Transnational NGOs outside of the classroom? Check out the inaugural conference Making Markets Work for the Poor coordinated by the Maxwell School and the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA)


What’s it about? Making Markets Work for the Poor will examine how open access and free trade affect those in traditional market sectors through the lenses of labor, finance, agriculture, and international development. The conference will be organized in a panel format, featuring discussions on micro finance, environmental policy, women in the workforce, foreign direct investment and foreign aid, financial services for the poor, agricultural policies and food security, unions and workers’ rights, and stabilizing and growing informal economies. 

 

Website: www.cipamaxwell.com

 

When? Friday April 5: wine and cheese reception and Saturday April 6: all day conference event.

 

Where? Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

 

Cost? FREE!

 

How to Register: Register by clicking the RSVP button on the conference website: www.cipamaxwell.com 

New TED Talk by Dan Palotta

 Permanent link
Great new TED talk by Dan Palotta on what he calls "dead wrong" thinking on charities. This talk addresses some myths about the importance of overheads in nonprofits, as well as some other provocative ideas that have earned him praise as well as criticism.

Managing Stakeholder Relationships in TNGOs: 3/19 ,1230pm, Eggers 209

 Permanent link

TNGO Initiative & Maxwell Career Center present “Managing Stakeholder Relationships in Transnational Nonprofits”  

  

Balancing the expectations and needs of donors, board members, and personnel can be especially complicated in Transnational NGOs because factors like multiple nationalities, cultures, and languages can further complicate differing perspectives on how to best fulfill the NGO’s mission.  This panel of NGO practitioners (who also happen to be Maxwell Students!) will address practitioner experiences in managing TNGO donor, board, and personnel relations, and how the unique attributes of TNGOs can make that task both more rewarding and more challenging.

 

-Faith Korto Nimineh has over 9 years of professional experience in the field of humanitarian development with the United Nations Children’s Fund, Save the Children, and CE Turkett Consultants, LLC.

-Buddy Stora has more than 4 years of international experience working with Samaritan's Purse International Relief in both Liberia and the Sudan.

-Jessie Rubin a former Fulbright scholar in Nicaragua, has over 3 years of experience working with both environmental and youth oriented NGOs in Central America.

-Jane Erickson a former Fulbright scholar in Indonesia, most recently managed the Grants and Contracts Department at the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a public health non-profit with offices in over 30 countries.

 

Refreshments Will Be Served 

Tuesday, March 19th , 2013 12:30 PM
209 Eggers Hall  

 

 

Former CEO of WorldVision to Speak at Maxwell: 2/28 at 1215pm in 204 Eggers

 Permanent link

Dean Hirsch will share his experiences as the CEO of one of the world’s leading humanitarian NGOs. He will also present his views on the present NGO landscape as well as indicators for success and sustainability in TNGOs. 

 
 

Mr. Hirsch was World Vision president from 1996 through September 2009 and served as a Global Ambassador for World Vision until 2010.  Hirsch is known for refocusing World Vision’s development and advocacy work on children, and during his presidency, World Vision’s income grew five-fold.  Today, its 40,000 staff members provide health care, education, clean water, emergency food, tools, shelter and technical know-how to millions of the world’s poorest inhabitants.  Prior to his appointment as World Vision president in 1996, Hirsch served as chief operating officer, vice president for development and vice president for relief operations. Hirsch has worked extensively in disaster and post-conflict situations.

 

  

 Mr. Hirsch will also be giving a Career Talk Co-Sponsored by the Maxwell Center for Career Development at 2pm in Eggers 352 on February 28th.  Light snacks will be provided.  

 

New publication: 'Collaborative Propensities Among Transnational NGOs Registered in the United States'

 Permanent link

George E. Mitchell authored the article 'Collaborative Propensities Among Transnational NGOs Registered in the United States.'

 

Abstract: NGO collaborations and government–NGO relations have become popular subjects of inquiry in public administration. Analysis discovers that leaders’ organizations exhibit either an “independent” or an “interdependent” collaborative propensity. As members of global civil society, many transnational NGO leaders are reluctant, if not averse, in their attitudes toward collaboration with actors outside of civil society, particularly government agencies. Leaders of independent transnational NGOs evince concern over the implications of intersectoral collaboration for organizational legitimacy, whereas leaders of interdependent transnational NGOs appear to be attracted to the increased funding and recognition that intersectoral collaborations may provide.

Director of LGBT Program, Human Rights Watch, 2/25 at 7pm in 500 Hall of Languages

(Education) Permanent link

If you are interested in international human rights or LGBT rights around the world, check out this sponsored talk by the Syracuse University Humanities Center.  Graeme Reid, the Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, will be giving a talk entitled "The Trouble with Tradition: When 'Values' Trample over Rights" on Monday, February 25 at 7pm in 500 Hall of Languages.

New publication: The Planned Close of an NGO: Evidence for a New Organizational Form?

(Research) Permanent link

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken has published (with David Berlan, ABD in Public Administration) the article 'The Planned Close of an NGO: Evidence for a New Organizational Form?'

 

The article examines a human rights NGO (Realizing Rights) that ceased operations after only 8 years. A voluntary and planned end, this case raises the possibility of a new form, the time-bound organization. Through a series of interviews with staff, board members, the founder, and key external stakeholders, this study examines the nonprofit’s leadership, time-bound structure, strategic approach, and wind-down process. Drawing on the lessons of this case, the article identifies benefits and challenges of the time-bound organization form. A range of voluntary organizations could learn from this example and consider the form, including nonprofits experiencing a leadership transition, facing environmental threats, or considering a structural change such as a merger.

New publication: 'Networks in Public Administration: Current Scholarship in Review'

 Permanent link

Hans Peter Schmitz has published (with Jesse Lecy and Ines Mergel) 'Networks in Public Administration. Current Scholarship in Review,' Public Management Review.

 

Abstract: Network-focused research in public administration has expanded rapidly over the past two decades. This rapid growth has created some confusion about terminology and approaches to research in the field. We organize the network literature in public administration using compact citation networks to identify coherent subdomains focused on (1) policy formation, (2) governance and (3) policy implementation. We trace how these domains differ in their approach to defining the role of networks, relationships and actors and to what extent the articles apply formal network analysis techniques. Based on a subsequent content analysis of the sample articles, we identify promising research avenues focused on the wider adoption of methods derived from social network analysis and the conditions under which networks actually deliver improved results

Two Interviews with Srdja Popovic, Executive Director of CANVAS

 Permanent link

Check out two great interviews with Srdja Popovic, an internationally known activist and Executive Director of the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS).  Mr. Popovic was one of the founders and key organizers of the Serbian nonviolent resistance group Otpor that helped to unseat Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. In his TNGO Interview, he discusses the work of CANVAS and the importance of unity, planning and discipline in successfully toppling dictatorships. In his Career Interview, he shares tips on building a career that works to improve civil society.  

TNGO Initiative receives grant from the West Foundation to expand its Leadership Institute work

 Permanent link
As we have written in a recent Update, the TNGO Initiative is expanding its leadership development programming in response to clear demand from TNGOs. We received notice early January that the West Foundation in Indianapolis has awarded a 3 year grant to allow us to design additional programming, pay for the costs of practitioner contributors to the Syracuse based TNGO Leadership program (www.maxwell.syr.edu/leadershipinstitute) and to offset part of the administration costs. This core support is vital to expand and further institutionalize our capacity to deliver leadership programming to TNGOs.

TNGO Initiative is increasingly engaged in leadership development programming

 Permanent link

TNGO leadership has been one of the three pillars of interest of the TNGO Initiative since its founding in 2004 – governance, leadership and effectiveness. In the last 1-2 years, there has been a marked increase in its engagement in both commissioned as well as self-initiated leadership development programming. Of course it all started with the TNGO Leadership Institute’s first program on the specific leadership needs embedded in the transition of leaders who currently work at the second level of leadership in TNGOs, and who wish to prepare themselves for top leadership.  The first two programs of this nature, based on open registration, ran in September 2011 and May 2012, and were very well reviewed by participants. We are currently preparing for the May 2013 program of this nature.

 

Since then we have gained further momentum in leadership development programming: ActionAid, one of the top ten global development NGOs, has asked us to deliver an in-house, customized face to face program for all of AAI’s country directors, senior leadership team members and heads of function. Other NGOs such as Greenpeace, World YWCA and Oxfam are also inquiring about potential opportunities to collaborate on in-house leadership development. We are exploring the possibility of co-delivering a young leaders’ program with the Berlin Civil Society Center and the BMW Foundation. The well-known Institute for Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex in Great Britain is considering the possibility of co-delivering a Europe-based program on leadership transition with us and with Oxford HR, a well-known executive search company for NGO leaders. And we are in the early stages of thinking through a new program on leading and managing INGO coalitions.

 

This burgeoning work on leadership development is exciting to us and to the broader Maxwell community of leadership experts, such as Professor Peg Hermann, Director of the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Catherine Gerard, director of PARCC and Steve Lux, Director of Executive Education in Maxwell (among others). It also prompts us to think through how to expand the capacity of Maxwell to offer this type of NGO leadership development as well as individual leadership assessment work into the future, given the signals of burgeoning demand.

TNGO Initiative co-facilitates informal INGO Learning Group on Organizational Change

 Permanent link

In early 2012, a group of INGOs with offices, among others, in the UK and Europe who are interested in learning from each other about governing, leading and managing organizational change  in INGOs got together to share their learnings. Currently, Action Aid, Amnesty International, the Irish INGOs CAFOD, Trocaire and SCIAF, CARE, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Save the Children, WWF and World Vision are members. 

 

 

The informally-constituted INGO Learning Group on Organizational Change wishes to learn from each other in order to better design, manage, implement and evaluate their own change processes. The members engage in candid, ‘safe space’ discussions through teleconferences, face to face meetings and through a virtual meeting and document sharing space. The Group also aims to eventually document their learnings in formats suitable to peer INGO change managers and other external learning bodies and audiences

 

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Co-Director of the Transnational NGO Initiative, is co-facilitating the Learning Group Tosca together with colleagues from Oxfam International.  Catherine Gerard, Associate Director of Maxwell’s Executive Education Program and Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at Maxwell who is an expert on leadership as well as organizational change processes, also acts as a resource. For more information, check here.

Presentation by Srdja Popovic of the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies: Jan. 28th, 1230 PM, Eggers 220

 Permanent link

Srdja Popovic, Executive Director of the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), presents  'Youthquake - From Arab Street to Wall Street' 


 

Srdja Popovic, an internationally known activist, will discus the importance of unity, planning and discipline in successfully toppling dictatorships. He will also explain differences between "complete" and "incomplete" revolutions. Finally, he will elaborate on how different methods like the use of the Internet, humor, slogans and choosing battles which you can win can contribute to nonviolent revolution.

 

Srdja Popovic was one of the founders and key organizers of the Serbian nonviolent resistance group Otpor that helped to unseat Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. In 2003, Popovic and other ex-Otpor activists started the non- profit educational Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS).

 

CANVAS has worked with people from 46 different countries, including Zimbabwe, Burma, Iran, and Venezuela, in spreading knowledge on nonviolent strategies and tactics used by the Serbian pro-democracy movement to other non- democratic countries. CANVAS has worked with activists responsible for successful movements such as the Georgian “Rose Revolution” of 2003 and the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” of 2004-2005. It also transferred knowledge to Lebanese activists in 2004 to address the crisis after the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, and assisted participants in the Maldives’ revolution in 2008. Recently CANVAS has worked with April 6th, a key group in the Egyptian nonviolent uprising, as well as other groups in the Middle East.


Lunch will be provided

Monday, January 28, 2013
12:30 - 2:00 PM
Public Events Room, 220 Eggers Hall 


Student Research Opportunity with 2013 Moynihan TNGO Fellow

 Permanent link

The Transnational NGO Initiative hosts a senior transnational NGO leader each year through our Moynihan NGO Fellows program: these leaders spend 2 weeks of ‘intellectual rest and recreation” at the Moynihan Institute, researching a topic which poses a challenge to them as NGO leaders and which is aligned with our research interest in governance, leadership and effectiveness of transnational NGOs.  Many students have volunteered to do preparatory research for our Fellows and found that experience very rewarding.

This Spring semester, Dr. Uygar Özesmi, the Change.org Regional Director based in Turkey, will be our NGO Fellow. Dr. Özesmi will be here from March 31-April 12, 2013 and will be researching “servant leadership,” a concept that originates in faith based leadership models.  Dr. Özesmi will explore how “servant leadership” can be applied in a non-faith based setting, to a new leadership model that focuses on empowering and serving NGO constituencies in realizing their own expectations, needs and potential. This is a growing need in an era when individual citizen action has many more vehicles of expression due to the growth of digital social networks.  In defining servant leadership, Dr. Özesmi will address a specific series of questions:

 

-How have others defined servant leadership in the past and how does this new framing differ or add?

-How can servant leadership models be used in forming and revising the overarching organizational mission and vision thru networked participatory processes? 

-How close can the expectations and values of the constituency be matched with that of the organization? 

-How can servant leadership frame issues and choices with the constituency, both serving their most immediate concerns, and taking them on journeys that they want to go on?


We are seeking students who are interested in volunteering to do preparatory literature research on behalf of Dr. Uygar Özesmi  during the month of March before his arrival, as well as conduct followup work as necessary during his stay at Moynihan in April. These students will have an exciting opportunity to interact with this significant leader throughout his stay. We are hoping to count on approx. 5 hours a week of your time to devote to this assignment, for at least 4 weeks during the month of March.

 

If you are interested and available, please send your indication of interest, CV and time frame for availability to Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Director for Education and Practitioner Engagement, Transnational NGO Initiative, Moynihan Institute (tmbruno@maxwell.syr.edu; phone 443-5073). We hope to hear from you by  Jan 31 please.

 

Thank you for your consideration! For questions, please feel free to contact Kalila Jackson-Spieker, TNGO Graduate Assistant, who will coordinate the Fellowship (Kgjackso@syr.edu).

 

 

 

 

Student Research Opportunity with the 2013 Moynihan TNGO Fellow

 Permanent link


Announcement of exciting student volunteer research opportunity with

the 2013 Moynihan TNGO Fellow:

Dr. Uygar Özesmi, Change.org, Regional Country Director (based inTurkey)

The Transnational NGO Initiative host a senior transnational NGO leader each year through our Moynihan NGO Fellows program: these leaders spend 2 weeks of ‘intellectual rest and recreation” at the Moynihan Institute, researching a topic which poses a challenge to them as NGO leaders and which is aligned with our research interest in governance, leadership and effectiveness of transnational NGOs.  Many students have volunteered to do preparatory research for our Fellows and found that experience very rewarding.

This Spring semester, Dr. Uygar Özesmi, the Change.org Regional Director based in Turkey, will be our NGO Fellow. Dr. Özesmi will be here from March 31-April 12, 2013 and will be researching “servant leadership,” a concept that originates in faith based leadership models.  Dr. Özesmi will explore how “servant leadership” can be applied in a non-faith based setting, to a new leadership model that focuses on empowering and serving NGO constituencies in realizing their own expectations, needs and potential. This is a growing need in an era when individual citizen action has many more vehicles of expression due to the growth of digital social networks.  In defining servant leadership, Dr. Özesmi will address a specific series of questions:

How have others defined servant leadership in the past and how does this new framing differ or add?

How can servant leadership models be used in forming and revising the overarching organizational mission and vision thru networked participatory processes? 

How close can the expectations and values of the constituency be matched with that of the organization? 

How can servant leadership frame issues and choices with the constituency, both serving their most immediate concerns, and taking them on journeys that they want to go on?

 

We are seeking students who are interested in volunteering to do preparatory literature research on behalf of Dr. Uygar Özesmi  during the month of March before his arrival, as well as conduct followup work as necessary during his stay at Moynihan in April. These students will have an exciting opportunity to interact with this significant leader throughout his stay. We are hoping to count on approx. 5 hours a week of your time to devote to this assignment, for at least 4 weeks during the month of March.

If you are interested and available, please send your indication of interest, CV and time frame for availability to Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Director for Education and Practitioner Engagement, Transnational NGO Initiative, Moynihan Institute (tmbruno@maxwell.syr.edu; phone 443-5073). We hope to hear from you by  Jan 31 please.

Thank you for your consideration! For questions, please feel free to contact Kalila Jackson-Spieker, TNGO Graduate Assistant who will coordinate the Fellowship (Kgjackso@syr.edu).

You can find more information about the TNGO Initiative at: http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/moynihan_tngo.aspx.

New Article by TNGO Co-Directors: 'Accountability of Transnational NGOs: Aspirations vs. Practice'

 Permanent link

The TNGO Initiative announces the publication of an article by Co-Directors Hans Peter Schmitz and Tosca Bruno, along with contributor Paloma Reggo, in the December 2012 (Vol. 41 No. 6) issue of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. The article "Accountability of Transnational NGOs: Aspirations vs. Practice" examines new ways of implementing accountability measures beyond financial methods.  If you or your organization has a Sage Publications membership, you can access the article here. 

New Format for TNGO Interview Series

 Permanent link

We are excited to announce that a new, more accessible way of viewing videos from the TNGO Interview Series is now available. There are three different categories of interviews; The main TNGO Interview Series features features brief conversations with leading TNGO practitioners and scholars about the issues they face in their work; The Career Interviews allows practitioners to discuss how they developed a career in their chosen field; and finally, the Leadership Series features participants in the TNGO Leadership Institute reflecting on the needs of leadership in their organizations.  We hope you will check out all three series  here.  

 

 

 

Africa, Tech & Women: The New Faces of Development. 11/9, 11AM, Hinds Hall

 Permanent link

Join the School of Information Studies (iSchool) on Friday, November 9, from 11:00am to 12:00pm for the talk "Africa, Tech & Women: The New Faces of Development" given by '92 iSchool alumnus Liz Ngonzi. The talk will be held in Hinds Hall, followed by lunch in the Hinds Social Lounge.

 

Liz, international expert on technology and development,  is Founder/CEO of Amazing Taste, a values-led consulting firm that connects nonprofits, corporations & philanthropists to jointly achieve their strategic objectives through fundraising events & marketing (new media and traditional) campaigns, along with educational activities. She is Entrepreneur in Residence at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and also teaches fundraising technology at NYU George H Heyman Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising.  She received her Master of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University in 1998 and her Bachelor of Science in Information Management and Technology from Syracuse University iSchool  in 1992. Her talk, which was selected from over 3000 submissions to the 2012 SXSW technology conference in Austin, TX, looks at the multitude of ways African women are applying technology to advance Africa’s development, including use of social media, mobile advertising, internet connectivity and digital advocacy. 

 

Open to the public, guests welcome

RSVP to Barbara Settel istalum@syr.edu or call 443-5604

 

Interview with Dr. Steven Livingston on ICT & Transnational Advocacy

 Permanent link
Check out Tosca Bruno's conversation with Dr. Steven Livingston about his work on the impact of information & communications technology on transnational advocacy here. If you enjoyed his discussion on campus several weeks ago, you can learn even more with this in-depth interview.

Powerpoint for ''New Organizational Forms in Transnational Collective Action and Advocacy''

 Permanent link
If you missed Dr. Steven Livingston's talk "New Organizational Forms in Transnational Collective Action and Advocacy" last Thursday, you can now access his presentation slides & notes here.

Oxfam Practitioner Speaking 10/19, 8:30am, Eggers 341

 Permanent link
Tosca Bruno's Governance & Global Civil Society course is hosting Steve Price Thomas, G20/BRICSAM Strategy Manager & G20 Summit Team Lead at Oxfam International, via Skype on Friday, October 19 from 8:30am-9:30am, Eggers 341. Because Steve is such a major TNGO player, Dr. Bruno is opening the talk up to ALL Maxwell students. Steve will be discussing the what and how of effective global advocacy during his talk.  Hope to see you there!

Video Interviews with Subarna Mathes

 Permanent link
Subarna Mathes was a recent guest speaker at the TNGO Initiative whose work focuses on transnational advocacy monitoring, evaluation, and learning systems of global organizations.  You can check out an interview with her on those subjects here, and a discussion of career tips for new practitioners in similar fields  here. 

Talk on the Role of ICT in Transnational Advocacy: 1230pm, Eggers 341, 10/18.

 Permanent link

Dr. Steven Livingston, Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs at George Washington University, will be joining the TNGO Initiative on Thursday 10/18 to discuss the impact of information & communications technology on non-state collective action. 1230pm-2pm in Eggers 341 with lunch provided: Click here for more details. 

 

 

Handbook of International Relations, 2nd edition published

 Permanent link
The now available second edition of the Handbook of International Relations features an entry on 'International Human Rights' written by Hans Peter Schmitz and Kathryn Sikkink.

Talk on Evaluation of Transnational Advocacy

 Permanent link

Subarna Mathes of iScale will be joining the TNGO Initiative on Thursday, September 27th to discuss the rise of transnational advocacy and its implications for evaluation frameworks, methods, and tools.  The talk will be held in 341 Eggers from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. See here for more details. 

Review of 'Borders among Activists. INGOs in the US, Britain, and France' published

 Permanent link
Hans Peter Schmitz has written a review for H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews of the book 'Borders among Activists: International NGOs in the United States, Britain, and France,' by Sarah S. Stroup, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012.

New publication: 'Strategic Responses to Resource Dependence Among Transnational NGOs Registered in the United States'

 Permanent link

The journal Voluntas has published George Mitchell's research article 'Strategic Responses to Resource Dependence Among Transnational NGOs Registered in the United States.'  

Abstract: Many of the world’s largest and most impactful transnational NGOs are registered in the United States where they engage in significant fundraising activities to support their global operations. Their reliance on the external environment for financial support exposes them to resource dependence and the possibility of external control. However, as civil society organizations organized as firms, transnational NGOs attempt to maintain operational independence from the donors upon which they rely for funding. This article contributes to resource dependence theory by identifying the strategies that transnational NGOs employ in response to resource dependence, explaining the emergence of strategic response, and exploring the conditions under which NGOs are capacitated to preserve organizational autonomy. The responses transnational NGOs employ include alignment, subcontracting, perseverance, diversification, commercialization, funding liberation, geostrategic arbitrage, specialization, selectivity, donor education, and compromise. Elements of this strategic repertoire empower NGOs to resist external control, even circumventing and influencing donor preferences. Findings are based on in-depth, face-to-face interviews with top organizational leaders from a diverse sample of transnational NGOs registered in the United States.

 

 

Link to the publication.

 

George Mitchell's webpage.

Our Ineffectiveness at Measuring Effectiveness: A Dispatch from the Harvard Business Review

 Permanent link
Social entrepreneur Dan Pallota considers the obstacles to truly effective nonprofit program evaluation, and discusses how critically thinking about them can improve philanthropy. Find the article here.

TNGO Initiative: Annual report for 2011-12

 Permanent link
The annual report on the activities of the TNGO Initiative for 2011-12 is available here.

TNGO Initiative publishes article in Voluntas on new organizational form for TNGOs

 Permanent link

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken of the TNGO Initiative, together with David Berlan, PhD candidate in Maxwell's Public Administration program, recently published a new article in Voluntas, which has just become available online:

 


The Planned Close of an NGO: Evidence for a New Organizational Form?, Voluntas, doi: 10.1007/s11266-012-9300.

 

The article offers a case study of a new organizational form other TNGOs may want to consider as well: the medium-term, time bound organization with a planned closing. The case study analyzes Realizing Rights, an economic and social human rights focused NGOs founded by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The fairly unique organizational form of Realizing Rights included a medium term duration with a planned end-date and a well managed wind-down phase. The article examines the specific organizational challenges as well as potential of this type of TNGO.   

 

To access the article, please see our Publications page.

Transnational NGO Initiative presents on Charity Navigator developments during InterAction webinar

 Permanent link

On Monday June 4, Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken co-presented at a webinar benefiting the membership of InterAction, the US umbrella organization for development and relief INGOs. The webinar offered an update on how Charity Navigator (CN) -- the most influential web-based NGO rating system in the US --  is further developing its rating system. The webinar was directed at directors of evaluation as well as communication directors of InterAction members.


Now that Charity Navigator's 2.0 version -- which added transparency and accountability related indicators -- has been launched (Sept. 2011), the rating intermediary is researching the development of a 3.0 version that puts greater focus on results measurement and public reporting. Tosca, who is a member of Charity Navigator's advisory group, and whose students have beta-tested CN's 3.0 draft methodology for the last two years, summarized the students' findings to the InterAction members. It is clear that the eventual form of CN 3.0 will have significant influence on the results measurement and disclosure practices of INGOs, and that while InterAction members performed well on transparency and accountability criteria, this is less assured when it comes to results measurement and reporting.

Collaboration between NGOs and academics on research: perspectives from INTRAC

 Permanent link

The following is a blog post which was written recently by Rachel Hayman of the International NGO Training and Research Center (INTRAC) in Oxford, UK on productive relationships between NGOs and academics in the design and execution of research. This was based on findings of a small research project on this topic which INTRAC undertook recently, and for which one of the case studies was the research collaboration between Plan International Guatemala and the Transnational NGO Initiative in 2009 in the context of Plan's strategic evaluation of their transition in Guatemala towards a Rights Based Approach.



Should NGOs be shapers, producers, or consumers of research? Reflections on academic-practitioner research collaboration?

 

Posted by Rachel Hayman on 18 May 2012, INTRAC website

 

 

Stakeholder engagement seems to be all the rage in certain research funding circles. For a while the debate has focused primarily on how research can be better used by policymakers, government institutions, NGOs and civil society organisations. This 'research-to-use' debate is concerned with how research can be communicated in a way that makes it relevant, accessible and useable. It resonates with the 'impact' agenda hitting academic institutions – the need to demonstrate that research brings tangible benefits to society.

 

But the trend may be shifting towards more profound research relationships between NGOs and academic institutions. Practitioners are actively seeking academic partners – partly in response to the results agenda; donors and research funders seem to be encouraging collaboration. We see this happening in international development circles and within the humanitarian sector (for example, ELRHA's work).

 

Why should NGOs consider collaboration? It requires resources, institutional support, skills, a culture of critical enquiry, and a willingness to accept both positive and negative findings that may emerge. But it can also bring insights, solutions, credibility, evidence, and new opportunities.

 

At a recent workshop, one participant proposed that we consider the role that NGOs might or should play as shapers, producers or consumers of research. Here are my thoughts:

 

NGOs as shapers of research

 

NGOs should be doing this but could be doing it so much more. I've yet to look into this, but I wonder how many representatives of NGOs sit on the research funding committees that decide on research themes and funding priorities, or seek to influence them? In theory, practitioners should be extremely well-placed to observe gaps in the international development research that academics might plug, and to highlight potentially innovative ideas which some funders claim to encourage.

 

But this assumes that practitioners act upon those observations; that mechanisms exist for NGOs to feed research questions to academics – beyond personal links and happenstance; and that funders are willing to listen to NGOs. But there is more to shaping than just posing relevant questions. Much research in international development involves NGOs (international, national, local), their staff and the people that they work with, often in a very informal way. NGOs should also be proactive in monitoring how research is conducted, shaping the form of research as well as the content (an ethics role – another debate!).

 

NGOs as consumers of research


Translating research findings into action, policy lessons, advocacy campaigns, etc. seems an obvious role for NGOs. However, to do this, NGOs need to have a good understanding of the research being presented. If practitioners are fully involved in the research then the chances are they will have a reasonable idea what they can do with the findings. Too often, unfortunately, it is only at the point of dissemination that researchers attempt to engage potential end-users. This relies too heavily on academics taking the lead on sharing their knowledge – and many do this very badly. But NGOs also need to actively go in search of research, to demand that it be more accessible (more to follow on that point too!) and to make noise if research that is being produced and publicly-funded is not sufficiently addressing real needs and gaps.

 

NGOs as producers of research

 

But what about as producers? Many NGOs do not have a culture of critical enquiry and even the largest NGOs only devote a small percentage of their budgets to research (and that often gets squeezed when times are tough). This contrasts with the situation 10-20 years ago when NGOs were much more active producers of research and were pushing research boundaries in international development (see A Survey of Research by UK NGOs, INTRAC 1994). Nevertheless, NGOs still carry out research for many reasons – to feed advocacy campaigns, to improve programming, or to evaluate their activities. Collaborative research with academics likewise serves a range of purposes.

 

The question is whether researchers from NGOs should complement the expertise offered by their academic partners, for example in facilitating fieldwork or commenting on findings, or be fully involved. There are strong arguments for both positions. NGOs are not research institutions, but with the increasing cross-over of researchers between academic and practitioner worlds, much academic expertise on topics of relevance to practitioners does not sit within research institutions but within NGOs and think-tanks. And there are many NGOs who also want their staff and local partners to be involved, hence the growing interest in action research which may create (in theory) better ownership of the research, and has benefits in terms of organisational learning.

 

Where does this leave us? There are strong arguments for NGOs to collaborate more with academics, to play roles as shapers, consumers and producers, and to take advantage of the purported desire coming from some funders for more innovation and imaginative thinking. But there are a lot of hurdles to overcome for good collaboration to happen: different perspectives and mindsets, different time frames and institutional structures, different objectives and motivations, different publishing and dissemination needs. It requires NGO senior managers and boards to be open to scrutiny, willing to engage with whatever the research throws up, beyond searching for simple answers and headlines, and to accept that the answers will not come tomorrow.

 

It requires academic institutions to be open to genuine partnership, to place value on relationships and outputs beyond peer-reviewed articles in top journals, and to comprehend NGO timeframes, structures and advocacy needs. It requires research funders to take collaboration seriously and support genuinely innovative topics and partnerships, not treat stakeholder engagement as merely a means to achieving impact.

 

It is time to move the debate away from how NGOs (or other 'end-users') use the research that academics carry out, and move it much more towards good collaboration or co-production. If space is genuinely growing for collaboration, NGOs should grasp the opportunity, starting with recognising the value of collaboration and actively pushing to break down some of the institutional, financial and psychological barriers.

 

 

 

INTRAC is collaborating with the University of Bradford and World Vision on a project, funded by the Development Studies Association, looking research collaboration between academic institutions and NGOs.

 

 



Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

 Permanent link

Non-communicable diseases are creating rapidly rising health issues across many nations.  The main NCDs include cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory illnesses and share common behavioral risk factors, including smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and the harmful use of alcohol. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 60 per cent of global mortality, or 35 out of 59 million deaths in 2005 were caused by NCDs. Six of the top ten risk factors leading to death are NCDs. This burden is particularly high in low and middle-income nations, where 80 per cent of all deaths caused by NCDs occur. While many still believe that the biggest health challenges in developing nations continue to be infectious diseases, this view is long outdated. NCDs today are a greater threat to global economic development than fiscal crises, natural disasters, corruption, or malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDs. Addressing NCDs more broadly represents a crucial link between single issues such as alcohol and tobacco and the broader development agenda, including the discussion on what should follow after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.


 

NCDs have recently come more forcefully onto the global agenda. A September 2011 High-Level Meeting on NCDs convened by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly marked a watershed in the global response, but the commitments to this agenda remain shallow and continue to fall short of effectively addressing the global harm caused. A 2010 report of the Center for Global Development found that less than three percent of all global health funding in 2007 ($22 billion) was targeted at NCDs.  This stands in stark contrast to the fact that addressing most NCDs is relatively inexpensive and measures of prevention and treatment have a proven track record of success. We know this from the experiences of developed nations, but we have yet to apply it in much of the developing world. For example, raising taxes on and restricting the marketing of tobacco and alcohol are very effective, while distributing relatively cheap medicines (aspirin, asthma inhalers, beta blockers, etc.) will greatly reduce injury and death from NCDs.


 

Despite the fact that the global community could make a lot of progress very fast on NCDs, the agenda continues to be stuck in mere rhetoric. At the 2011 High-Level Meeting many of the problems slowing down action were on display. Food, tobacco, and alcohol industries hold a tight grip on governments and slow down policies harmful to their profits as much as possible. NGOs with their focus on specific issues were afraid that their ‘cause’ might lose out or argued that their issue was not adequately represented in the first place. And unlike the case of HIV/AIDs a decade earlier, there was barely any public interest, let alone street demonstrations by victims of the diseases and their supporters. Some observers argued that the NCD agenda is simply too broad and cannot be addressed effectively at the global level. As a case of complex collaborative governance, NCDs are a key issue not just because of their global burden of disease, but also because the emerging responses offer ample opportunities to research the failures and successes of strategies deployed to limit the harmful effects of NCDs. Students of global governance have variously studied the role of scientists, NGOs, industry, the public, intergovernmental organizations, and governments in addressing major challenges. In the case of NCDs, all of these groups play crucial roles, but even on the least controversial issues they have yet to produce effective collective action.

Follow Maxwell at:

twitter facebook youtube linkedin blog rss
Syracuse University Give Now

Transnational NGO Initiative | Maxwell School | Syracuse University | 346 Eggers Hall | Syracuse, NY 13244-1090