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Recent happenings from the TNGO Initiative

A Career Discussion with Dr. Maliha Khan of CARE USA- Tuesday @ 3pm

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Co-sponsored by the Transnational NGO Initiative at the Moynihan Institute, Maxwell’s Center for Career Services and the Student Group on Transnational NGOs:  


A Career Discussion with 


Dr. Maliha Khan 


Director for Program Impact, CARE USA 


Dr. Maliha Khan is a development practitioner in the fields of project and program design, monitoring and evaluation, impact measurement and gender with 20 years of international experience. CARE USA is part of the global federation CARE International, and is one of the biggest US based transnational development NGOs. Prior to joining CARE she was an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Sustainable Development degree at World learning’s SIT Graduate Institute. Over the years Dr. Khan also has worked as a consultant for a range of clients in the fields of natural resource management and gender, including the Ford Foundation, Heifer International, the World Bank, UNEP, the government of Pakistan as well as many bi-lateral agencies.   


Dr. Khan has a Masters in Social Anthropology from Quaid-i-Azam University of Pakistan and a doctorate from the State University of New York, where she specialized in Development Anthropology. 


Come armed with your career focused questions!  


When: Tuesday November, 2nd 3pm to 4pm.  

Where: 341 Eggers Hall 




Microsoft Moves to Help Nonprofits Avoid Piracy-Linked Crackdowns

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Microsoft is expanding its efforts to prevent governments from using softward piracy inquires as a pretext to supress dissent. by Clifford J. Levy, NYTimes

David Brooks reviews new book on Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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David Brooks of the NYTimes reviews the new book Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary. From the NYTimes Book Review.

Dr. Maliha Khan, Director of Program Impact at CARE USA visits the TNGO Initiative

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The Transnational NGO Initiative is proud to present:

Dr. Maliha Khan

Director for Program Impact, CARE USA

A system for measuring impact across CARE USA: Risks and Rewards

There is a growing need for Transnational NGOs to demonstrate their accountability, legitimacy and effectiveness in achieving their mission goals; but how does a TNGO set up systems for evaluating its programs as well as overall organizational impact?


As Director of Program Impact at CARE USA, a large humanitarian NGO, Dr. Maliha Khan tackles these issues every day. Dr. Khan is currently overseeing a process to measure CARE’s impact, improve knowledge management, and ensure that the organization is accountable to standards and codes of conduct. On November 2nd she will visit Maxwell to share her experiences in this process and address the questions of:

·         What are the challenges in putting such a system place and where is CARE in the process? 

·         What have we learned in the last 3 years of doing this? 

·         What changes need to happen in how we do development if an organizational assessment process like this is to be realized?

·         What are the rewards if we can pull this off?

·         What are the risks if we fail?


Dr. Maliha Khan is a development practitioner in the fields of project and program design, monitoring and evaluation, impact measurement and gender with 20 years of international experience. Prior to joining CARE she was an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Sustainable Development degree at World learning’s SIT Graduate Institute. Over the years Dr. Khan also has worked as a consultant for a range of clients in the fields of natural resource management and gender, including the Ford Foundation, Heifer International, the World Bank, UNEP, the government of Pakistan as well as many bi-lateral agencies. 


Dr. Khan has a Masters in Social Anthropology from Quaid-i-Azam University of Pakistan and a doctorate from the State University of New York, where she specialized in Development Anthropology.



When: November 2nd, 12-1:30PM

Where: IR conference room (between the IR and MPA offices)


We hope to see you there!


Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch visits the TNGO Initiative

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Advocacy Director of Children’s Rights, Human Rights Watch

The Campaign to End the Use of Child Soldiers: Lessons from a successful Transnational NGO-led coalition.

The recruitment and use of child soldiers is one of the most horrific aspects of modern warfare. Jo Becker, founding chairperson of the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, will discuss the global campaign that secured a UN treaty banning the use of child soldiers, legislative initiatives to withhold military assistance from governments using child soldiers and focused attention from the UN Security Council to hold child recruiters accountable.

Ms. Becker is the Advocacy Director of Children’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch She is responsible for the organization’s global advocacy strategy on issues including child labor, children and armed conflict, juvenile justice and violence against children.

Ms. Becker holds a master’s degree in political science from the Maxwell School. She is an adjunct associate professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University.

When: Tuesday September 21, 12:00-1:30pm

Where: 341 Eggers Hall


Then, at 4pm Eggers 341:
A Career Discussion with

Jo Becker

Human Rights Watch is a major U.S. based human rights NGO. Ms. Becker is responsible for the organization’s global advocacy strategy on issues including child labor, children and armed conflict, juvenile justice and violence against children. Ms. Becker is also the founding chairperson of the International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, which campaigned successfully for an international treaty banning the forced recruitment of children under age eighteen or their use in armed conflict.

Come ready with your career focused questions!

When: Tuesday September 21, 4pm-5pm

Where: 341 Eggers Hall


Accountability in Global Environmental Governance, Pardee Center

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Hans Peter Schmitz participated in an experts workshop on accountability in global environmental governance jointly organized by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Boston University's Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. The September 9 workshop fomulated an agenda aimed at inserting more meaningful accountability measures into global environmental governance, particulary during the run-up to the Rio+20 environmental summit of 2012. A lunch time panel discussion focused on why wide-spread agreement on a need for greater accountability (to close the ever-widening gap between commitment and compliance) has not been translated into action. Other participants included Ambassador Lumumba Di-Aping of Sudan, the country’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Chief Negotiator for the G-77 on environmental issues; Adnan Amin, Director of the United Nations Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) Secretariat; Adil Najam (Director, Pardee Center); Deborah Murphy (IISD); Mark Halle (IISD); Maria Ivanova (UMASS-Boston); Tom Bigg (International Institute for Environment and Development); Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz (International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development); Miquel Munoz (Pardee Center); and Ulf Melgaard (Danish Embassy to the United Nations).

American Political Science Association (APSA) Task Force on Rights-Based Development and Participatory Governance

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APSA task forces work to enhance the public presence of political science by bringing political science research to bear public policy questions ( link). The newly created task force puts primary emphasis on the politics of economic development and governance, asking under what conditions specific rights-based and participatory policies enhance agency, democracy, equality and capacity. During the past decade, many new approaches to development emerged and political science can play an important role in evaluating the effectiveness of rights-based policies, cash transfers, expanded participatory governance, among others. I presented evidence from the TNGO Initiative's ongoing research evaluating the implementation of rights-based approaches in local and indigenous communities in Guatemala. At the 2011 APSA meetings in San Francisco, dedicated theme panels will serve to present the results of the task force. The task force convenor is Michael Goodhart (University of Pittsburgh). The members of the task force are: Archon Fung (Kennedy School, Harvard University), Varun Gauri (World Bank), Siri Gloppen (CSI, Bergen/Norway), Louise Haagh (University of York), Patrick Heller (Brown University), Stephen Ndegwa (World Bank/Yale University), Enrique Peruzzotti (UNRISD), Thomas Pogge (Yale University) Shahra Razavi (UNRISD), Anja Rudiger (National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, NESRI), Guy Standing (University of Bath), Peter Uvin (Tufts, Fletcher School), Brian Wampler (Boise State University), and Susanna Wing (Haverford College).

Research suggests nonprofit watchdogs mismeasure, calls on nonprofits to disclose better data

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Research based on data from the TNGO Interview Project, as well as independent analysis, suggests that US nonprofits are being evaluated by nonprofit watchdog agencies according to the wrong definition of organizational effectiveness. Rather than evaluating effectiveness based on goal attainment, and efficiency based on program cost-effectiveness, nonprofit watchdogs rely on speculative financial proxies that incorrectly substitute for effectiveness and efficiency. In a presentation delivered during the DMA Nonprofit Federation New York 2010 Conference, I explained why prominent nonprofit watchdogs are barking up the wrong tree and how nonprofits can help correct the discourse about nonprofit effectiveness by generating and disclosing higher quality data about results and cost-effectiveness. Through improved evaluation and disclosure practices on the part of nonprofits, the efforts of some watchdogs to improve their systems could meet with greater success. A draft of the white paper, “Reframing the Discussion About Nonprofit Effectiveness,” was distributed at the conference.


by George E. Mitchell

New interview with World Vision Program Director, Maxwell alum, available in Interview Series

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Our interview with Chance Briggs, Program Director for World Vision International in Mozambique and Maxwell alum ('95-'96), who worked in a range of NGOs before joining World Vision, is now available in our Interview Series. Learn what are the main challenges currently for this major faith based NGOs, one of the largest in the world, and the skill set one needs to be effective.

TNGO Initiative announces collaboration with Issam Fares Institute at American University Beirut, Lebanon

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 The TNGO Initiative is proud to announce a new collaborative relationship with the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) at American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Drawing on the example of the TNGO Initiative Interview Study, IFI researchers are adapting and extending the US TNGO study to Arab NGO leaders across Lebanon, Syria and potentially the wider Middle East region. Given its strong capabilities and reputation in the region, IFI will take the lead role in the effort, with the TNGO Initiative providing advisory assistance with research design and implementation. IFI's study will closely mirror the TNGO Interview Project, enabling in-depth, large-N comparative study between US and Arab NGOs.


While NGOs have become important advocates for environmental and human rights issues across the Middle East, relatively little is known empirically about how they succeed in influencing public policy, and under what circumstances. This new collaborative relationship will explore these issues as an important component of IFI's Research, Advocacy and Public Policy Program (RAPP), which seeks to understand how civil society organizations like NGOs, think tanks and research centers can improve public policy across the Middle East region.


The IFI team is lead by Rami Khouri, IFI Director, journalist and editor at large of Lebanon's popular Daily Star newspaper, and Lana Salman who has coordinated the RAPP program since its inception two years ago, and will include well-known AUB scholars as principle investigators.

"The joint research we have initiated with the Moynihan Institute at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University represents and exciting and important stage in the development of our programs at IFI because of the combination of collaborative and comparative research that comprises the heart of the work. We feel this kind of project epitomizes how Arab and American and other foreign research universities should work together, both to share their expertise in methodology and other aspects of research and to jointly analyze public policy issues of mutual interest to both societies. 


The specific issue of how and whether NGOs in the Arab world influence policy making fits into our larger interest in understanding the two poles of the public policy world: how policy making institutions operate and make decisions, and how others in society (NGOs, think tanks, international agencies, the private sector) use research, knowledge and advocacy to influence the policy making process. The political environment in the Arab region is unique because it the only collectively non-democratic region in the world, where government decisions are made in a largely nontransparent and minimally consultative manner. This makes it even more useful to conduct research that can help us understand the entry points whereby NGOs and interested other actors use research and advocacy to influence the policy making process.

We are delighted to partner with the Moynihan Institute at the Maxwell School in this project, which is part of a growing relationship between AUB and Syracuse University. We hope the knowledge we generate is useful for driving a more rational and constructive policy making in the Arab Region and the USA alike, and we look forward also to assessing in the future the impact of this research in various sectors." -- Rami G. Khouri


"In preparation for our joint workshop held last week, IFI held consultation meetings with NGO leaders, policy makers, academics and donors, and summarized what has been published about NGOs in the Arab world in peer reviewed journals. One of the main conclusions from the literature review, which was also echoed during the consultation meetings, is that few researchers from the region have written about NGOs in international peer reviewed journals. This project will constitute a platform for local researchers from Lebanon and the region to write about NGOs and policy change in their own context, contributing to indigenous knowledge production, much needed in the Arab world." -- Lana Salman.


A link to IFI's RAPP program can be found here.  


ISTR’s 9th Annual Conference: a great platform to reflect on third sector leadership

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Where are Asian civil society organizations going to find good talent to take-up the reign of Asian NGOs? In discussions with Mark Sidel, president of ISTR, the question of leadership transitions and successions came up. Mark’s observations on the problem of succession planning for the top leadership jobs in Asia’s third sector are encouraging and alarming all at once: it depends on the situation and which constituents we think about. If you are a leaders in transition—say the head or the executive VP of programs for instance, the fact that there is very good money to be made out there as a consultant to Asian NGOs is a good thing. But if you are the soon-to-retire CEO or the chair of its board, the situation might pose a real dilemma. On the one hand, the pool of consultants that holds expertise in your issues is growing, but the pool of “long-term” retainable talent, analysis, and governance for the capacity and sustainability of your NGO--which you likely had a hand at founding, is shrinking at a proportionate rate. Though this is not classic “brain-drain” issue, the metaphor is useful for thinking of the leadership cost to gaining high-value short-term consulting support. The consulting may very well energize the NGO around the programs or issues it engages, but suppose it’s at the cost of organizational leadership for sustainable governance and influence in the long-term, then some fast-forward thinking may be needed.

Mark’s not the only one who has vivid examples, stories, and data on leadership in transition issues. ISTR was a great opportunity to meet others who resonate with these concerns. A lively discussion erupted on the topic with Deborah Edward of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at UT Austin and with Benjamin Lough of the Center for Social Development, Washington University in St.Louis. Debora’s research looks at the challenges of leadership cultivation in transnational NGOs, while Benjamin looks at the rates and trends of international volunteering by corporate and Diaspora leaders and concedes possible effects on civil society leadership options. Jenny Green whom I have the pleasure of sharing sessions with, explored differences in perceptions about moral and leadership in a set of Australian NGOs, interviewing the CEO and the Chairs, and discovering that pairings were consistently patterned: either both came out of the private sector or both were insiders to the third sector for very different framings of challenges ahead. Jenny is at University of Technology, Sydney. Jason Kettle and his co-author Triparna Vasavada at Penn State view part of this leadership in-waiting challenge through the lens of gender and entrepreneurship. When I put the question to Jason about how leadership gaps in the next generations of NGO leaders might be understood, he talked to me about on-going research on nonprofit-value statements. We discussed NPO values as possible constraints and opportunities in the exercise of leadership and about it as a possible indicator or constraint to explore variations in distribution of third leadership in the 50 states. As an aside, he his colleagues are using Atlas.TI for coding purposes and they are well versed in contingency theories of leadership.

This was great conference. Hats off to Margery Daniels and her team at the ISTR secretariat, and to Mark Sidel for their leadership and nurturing of third sector research.

Christiane Pagé

Up-date from Istanbul @ The Annual Conference of the International Society for Third Sector

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Today July 8, 2010 is the second day of the annual conference of ISTR. This afternoon I presented “From Change Agents to Method Actors: The Effects of TNGO Leadership Style on Responsiveness to Constraints”, a leadership match theory and empirical research paper Peg Hermann and I have been working on (look for slides soon). Our data source: the TNGO interview project (see preceding post). A few researchers showed interest in the combination of computer aided qualitative analysis software--in our case Atlas.ti, with the content analysis of the natural language processing capability of Profiler Plus for leadership assessment. I’ll post my slides when I get back. But mostly questions gravitated about the gaps in leadership assessment and opportunity matching for leaders in transition (from CFO, VP International Programs, COO etc. to CEO, from smaller to larger NGO, from private sector to third sector, from domestic to international body). Joanne Baulderstone of Flinders University in Adelaide did a great job moderating the panel. Earlier in the day she gave a fascinating paper exploring a developing trend in rural Australia where non-profit organizations contract the state as a service provider: sounded to me like the “filling-up” of the state in opposition to its “hollowing-out” adding a “contracting-in” flavor to the continuously co-evolving relationships between civil society and governments. 


Yesterday was a good day to network and see friends. I caught-up with Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy Research at the American University of Beirut (AUB), and Nabila Hamza, President of Foundation for the Future. Both are interested in comparative studies and field-based evidence research matched to public policy need in the broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) region. Foundation for the Future has been using the CIVICUS Civil Society Index as a means to help in their own mapping and funding decision-making in the BMENA region. Nabila was very keen to see that we are collaborating with Ingrid Srinath the secretary general of CIVICUS on future plans and assistance to civil society leaders in transition (this is in parallel with relations that Tosca Bruno-VanVijfeijken and Steve Lux @ Moynihan have initiated with that foundation). I also met up with Kareem Elbayar, Legal Advisor MENA region, at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law in Washington D.C., with Hoda Harb, Regional Outreach Officer for the International Development Research Centre of Canada in Cairo, and had the pleasure of spending some time with renowned Egyptian activist, Saad Eddin Ibrahim 


Met up with Ian Bruce, a professor at the Case Business School, City University London who is also founder and President for the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at that university. We talked a little about Charity Navigator in the US and the work of my colleagues, specifically about contributions by George Mitchell and Hans Peter Schmitz @ Moynihan to the debate on NGO effectiveness posted @ the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations blog for Humanitarian and Development NGOs domain).  


Overall the number of parallel session seems notable to me as a first time attendee. International Third Sector research and practice is doing well and growing.  


Core TNGO Dataset Now Available

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The Transnational NGO Initiative is proud to announce the public release of its core dataset based on extensive interviews with top leaders from a diverse sample of 152 transnational NGOs. The dataset is derived from over 200 hours of digitally recorded interviews with top leaders, whose responses generated over 19,000 qualitative quotations captured with more than 400 qualitative codes. With additional secondary data from Charity Navigator, organizations’ Forms 990, websites and annual reports, the core dataset contains over 300 variables describing how TNGO leaders understand issues related to governance, goals and strategies, transnationalism, effectiveness, accountability, leadership and more.  The TNGO core dataset offers an unprecedented glimpse into the perceptions and perspectives of TNGO leaders.


The Transnational NGO Initiative would like to foster a community of researchers interested in studying TNGOs and their leaders. We hope that the core dataset will help catalyze further TNGO research.  To obtain the dataset, please follow the instructions to submit a request. The dataset is available in Stata, SPSS and Excel formats. Optional scripts run in Stata.  


James McGann to give talk on think tanks and civil society, April 23

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Maxwell's Executive Education Presents the following Public Talk:


"The Role of Global Think Tanks in Strengthening Civil Society"

Dr. James G. McGann


Friday, April 23rd


204B Maxwell Hall


James G. McGann is a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and Director of its Think Tanks and Foreign Policy Program.  He is also Assistant Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. McGann has served as a consultant and advisor to the World Bank, United Nations, USAID, Soros, Hewlett and Gates Foundations and foreign governments on the role of nongovernmental, public policy and public engagement organizations in civil society.


War on Want and Oxfam America Leaders Discussed Global Poverty and Justice at Maxwell

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Co-sponsored by the TNGO Initiative and Moynihan's European Research Centers, Dave Tucker from War on Want and Gawain Kripke from Oxfam America discussed their organizations' approaches to fighting global poverty and injustice on April 8, 2010.  Tucker serves as Trade Campaign Officer at UK-based War on Want and shared his PowerPoint with us following the presentation.

New web interviews with Oxfam America and War on Want leaders now available.

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New web interviews with two recent TNGO visitors, the Director for Policy and Research at Oxfam America, Gawain Kripke, and the Trade Campaign Officer of War on Want, a UK based global justice NGO, are now available. These interviews focus on the challenges of effectiveness in NGO advocacy, and on career tracks and advice in this arena. War on Want is a major partner in the Europe based 'Seattle to Brussels' network, and as an organization is linked to UK based trade unions. Click here.

Web video interviews with TNGO leaders now available on Interview Series webpage(2)

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The TNGO Initiative now undertakes web video interviews, of a short conversational nature, with visiting TNGO leaders. Each leader is interviewed twice, with the following purpose in mind: one, to obtain their perspective on TNGO sector issues; and two, to obtain their career advice for students. See the first interviews with leaders of Amnesty International and Plan International here. Additional interviews will be added regularly, so be sure to sign up to our TNGO blog.

Two NGO Leaders Share Perspectives on Sustainable Fund Development

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At the end of March, the TNGO Student Group hosted a two-hour program on sustainable fund development for NGOs, both domestic and transnational. Executive MPA student Shouvik Mitra presented his experience from PRADAN (Professional Assistance for Development Action), based in India. He was joined by Peter Vogelaar from Syracuse's neighbor, Utica, NY, where he serves as Executive Director of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and Compass Services. They jointly presented their organizations' increasing emphasis on sustainable funding mechanisms considering the recent constraints posed by the global financial crisis. Mitra shared PRADAN's success with earned income revenues generated from rural business development programming and the need to enhance ownership of these programs by the beneficiaries and communities served. Vogelaar presented an alternative approach to sustainable fund development by marketing in-house services to bring in organizational revenue.

For more information, access both presentation files:

Shouvik Mitra, PRADAN
Peter Vogelaar, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees

Reflections from TNGO Fellow, Colm O'Cuanachain, Amnesty International

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We are excited to share this positive feedback from one of our March 2010 TNGO Fellows, Colm O'Cuanachain, Senior Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International.  Colm writes:

"The opportunity presented by the Moynihan Institute and the TNGO Initiative was extremely useful and productive.  It presented a welcome balance with time to reflect and read (a rarity!), time to interact with faculty to consider the work in hand, and the benefit of having students working on the same issues and unearthing valuable resources that are of direct use in my work."

During his two week visit here in Syracuse, Colm presented his research findings on the issues of leadership in Amnesty International, a multi-stakeholder and multi-governed TNGO.  For more about his presentation, please access his powerpoint.  


Presentation to InterAction’s Evaluation and Program Effectiveness Working Group

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On Tuesday, George E. Mitchell shared his research about organizational effectiveness with InterAction’s Evaluation and Program Effectiveness Working Group (EPEWG). InterAction is a coalition of U.S.-based international NGOs focused on poverty reduction and humanitarian aid. The EPEWG, one of the coalition’s many active working groups, aims to build organizations' capacity to evaluate impact, demonstrate effectiveness, and contribute to global aid effectiveness initiatives.

The presentation draws on data from the TNGO Interview Project to reveal how top leaders of TNGOs define the construct of organizational effectiveness. The results suggest that academics are wrong to reject the so-called “goal-attainment” model and that current disclosure practices in the nonprofit sector systematically fail to generate meaningful information about organizational effectiveness. The latter situation might be addressed through specific modifications to Part III of the Form 990 (or through independent initiatives), but change is unlikely to occur anytime soon. But until it does, critical stakeholders will remain in the dark about whether NGOs are actually achieving what they promise.

TNGO Leaders to Debate Global Trade Reform, April 8, 2010

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In partnership with the Moynihan European Research Centers, the TNGO Initiative presents:


Debate on Global Trade Reform:  EU & US NGO Advocacy for Social Justice 


Dave Tucker, Trade Campaign Officer, War on Want, U.K.

Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy & Research, Oxfam America


Thursday, April 8, 2010


060 Eggers Hall


This debate brings together transnational NGO advocates from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss Fair Trade & Social Justice Advocacy.  What policies and institutions are being critiqued in the the US and the EU, and at the international level?  What organizations, coalitions, and networks are active in advocating changes to the current global trade regime?  How do the two NGOs represented compare and contrast and what explains their differences?  Are greater advances being made in one system over the other?  To what extent are advocates in the Global North working together and how might they do so more effectively?


Join us for this interesting debate and discussion!


Web video interviews with TNGO leaders now available on Interview Series webpage

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The TNGO Initiative now undertakes web video interviews, of a short conversational nature, with visiting TNGO leaders. Each leader is interviewed twice, with the following purpose in mind: one, to obtain their perspective on TNGO sector issues; and two, to obtain their career advice for students. See the first interviews with leaders of Amnesty International and Plan International here. Additional interviews will be added regularly, so be sure to sign up to our TNGO blog. 


Maxwell Student and NGO Practitioner to Present on Innovative Fund Development: March 31st

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Strategies for Financial Sustainability in NGOs, Transnational and Local:

Perspectives from PRADAN (India) & The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (USA)


Wednesday, March 31, 2010 

12:00, Eggers Hall 341


Sustainability is increasingly a hot-button term in the NGO sector, both transnationally and locally.  More specifically, financial sustainability has become a central issue for many NGOs in light of the global financial crisis and related limitations on traditional revenue sources for NGOs. 
The TNGO Initiative and TNGO Student Group will host a workshop on the following questions for financial sustainability in the NGO sector: 
-Under what conditions are self-sustaining fund strategies legal and socially acceptable? 
-How are self-sustaining fund mechanisms working for Pradan (rural development NGO in India) and the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (refugee assistance in Utica, NY)?
-How are the beneficiaries and communities served involved in managing and governing these self-sustaining fund mechanisms?
-What are the advantages and disadvantages associated with self-sustaining fund strategies?
-What capacity is necessary for the beneficiaries and NGO to implement self-sustaining fund mechanisms?

Shouvik Mitra, Humphrey Fellow in the EMPA program, will present his perspective on financial sustainability from his experience as a Team Leader for PRADAN, an Indian NGO focusing on rural development.   Peter Vogelaar, Executive Director of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, will discuss the financial sustainability strategies of MVRCR.

PDF Poster Available Here 








Reflections on Rights-Based Approaches from our March visiting TNGO practitioner

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Ricardo Gomez, former country director of Plan International in Guatemala, provided the following reflections on his research on RBA with the TNGO Initiative: 






Rights Based Approach (RBA) programming aims to ensure the exercise of rights via a process that starts with the poorest and most deprived populations, requiring their active participation to generate bottom up action aimed to guarantee the realization of all human rights across all sectors of the population. 






State institutions (good governance) and citizenship (active civil society) are the essential pillars  



of RBA to ensure the primary roles of the state as duty bearer and of citizens as right holders are executed. Rights are truly exercised –only- when the state fulfils its obligations to guarantee rights to all citizens. NGO’s tend to distort this equation by permanently providing direct services and goods to citizens, discounting the legal responsibility of the state. When this takes place, poor populations tend to lose their sense of citizenship and their status as right holders. NGOs with constant handouts  –charity - turn citizens into beggars. 


Plan International, a TNGO working in 67 countries in five continents has started to implement a rights based approach to strengthen its impact on children’s lives and rights. Plan International in Guatemala started this process in 2004, gradually moving away from a service delivery and community led projects. Plan Guatemala’s six year RBA experience was evaluated by the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs which highlighted positive outcomes as well as a set of challenges to be addressed in the near future. 


Plan Guatemala’s RBA supports the exercise of the right to health. Plan Guatemala (PG)used to provide health services to 600 rural communities, and in 2005 started to implement an RBA strategy. In January 2005, PG signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health to extend their services to communities associated with Plan. At the same time, PG implemented a program to support citizens to access, embrace and monitor these services. During the first year, PG financed 80% of the Ministry of Health’s program budget, while in subsequent years this financial support declined systematically till Ministry assumed all costs. This agreement ended in March 2009, the Ministry complied with all the terms and up to date communities continue to exercise their rights to maternal and child health care services.  


RBA requires TNGO’s to be more strategic and less operational, to move away from direct service delivery and handouts, to ensure institutions fulfill their duties. 

 by Ricardo Gomez, March 2010


New Publication: Rights-Based Approach to Development

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Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Uwe Gneiting, Hans Peter Schmitz, and Otto Valle (contributing author): Rights-Based Approach to Development. Learning from Guatemala, a report commissioned by Plan International, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs 2010


New Approaches to Evaluation: Comparative Impact Assessment

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In New Approaches to Evaluation: Comparative Impact Assessment, author Jesse D. Lecy offers an innovative and robust approach for comparative evaluation assessment. Cutting across issues of governance, information systems, data collection, transparency and organizational learning, Lecy articulates a comparative framework and demonstrates how adoption hurdles can be addressed. The model is sensitive to methodological, demonstration and implementation challenges. A small “read-time” investment with big returns for solution-driven scholars and practitioners of impact measurement, development, evaluation, and microfinance. Read the abstract and follow the link. 



"The aid process is challenging from an allocation standpoint because donors must choose between many organizations with imperfect information about all of them. This paper explores a possible method for correcting the information asymmetry inherent in allocations through comparative impact assessments. The approach combines methods from impact studies and process evaluations to create a framework for comparing the performance of all organizations simultaneously. Micro­finance is chosen as the sector for review, and past impact studies and survey data are used to flesh out the framework for a comparative approach". 


Discussion on Proposed Charity Navigator Changes

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George E. Mitchell and Hans Peter Schmitz offer their insights about the proposed changes at Charity Navigator, which plans to overhaul the system it uses to rate nonprofits on a zero to four star scale. Data from the TNGO Project suggest that a meaningful watchdog system must inform potential donors about organizations' programmatic goals and acheivements, not just their financial ratios. This is the direction in which Charity Navigator would like to head, but for the proposed changes to work NGOs need to get more serious about program evaluation.

Follow the ongoing discussion on the Hauser Center blog.


Article in NYT on measuring success by mission, not profit

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This New York Times article, in the Oct. 3 2010 edition, illustrates one of the distinctive differences between the NGO world and that of the business sector, i.e. goal or outcome accountability as one driving force for NGO staff:

New Interview with Jo Becker from Human Rights Watch now available

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Our interview with Jo Becker, Advocacy Director of Children's Rights at Human Rights Watch and Maxwell alum ('92-'93) is now available inour Interview Series. Learn what are the main challenges currently faced by this major transnational NGO.



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