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Recent happenings from the TNGO Initiative

Transnational NGOs: Big Brother or Collaborator with Global South Domestic NGOs?

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What are the issues that divide the experiences of domestics NGOs and transnational NGOs (TNGO)s? And what processes are best for bridging those gaps? Mr. Mutasah and Ms. Mcube will discuss the structural and environmental issues that produce conflict and competition rather than collaboration and partnership between domestic and transnational NGOs. The discussion will also articulate what conversations domestic and transnational NGOs should be having, at what stage and with whom, as well as how they should frame their priorities.

Tawanda Mutasah
Tawanda Mutasah, International Director of Programs, Open Society Foundation,

Mary-Jane Ncube,
Humphrey Fellow at Maxwell and Executive Director, Transparency International, Zimbabwe

Tawanda Mutasah is International Director of Programs at the Open Society Foundations (formerly Open Society Institute -- OSI) in New York City, and was formerly Chair of OSF's Africa Advisory Board. He previously directed the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, and, among other pre-OSI roles, served on Oxfam GB's international advocacy staff.

Mary Jane Ncube has ten years of experience working as a specialist in anti-corruption and governance. She has extensive experience working with governments, local authorities and parliaments in Southern and East Africa. Mary Jane is currently the Executive Director for Transparency International Zimbabwe

Useful Predictions about the US Nonprofit Sector by Ken Berger- CEO of Charity Navigator

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CEO of Charity Navigator, Ken Berger, shares his predictions about future developments in the US nonprofit realm. The TNGO Initiative's George Mitchell will share a panel with Ken and others at InterAction’s Annual Forum, August 2011, in Washington DC.

Rights-Based Approaches (RBA) at the American Political Science Association (APSA)

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Hans Peter Schmitz was appointed to the American Political Science Association's Task Force "Democracy, Economic Security, and Social Justice in a Volatile World." APSA task forces are charged with "(1) putting the best of political science research and knowledge at the service of critical issues that have major public policy implications and (2) sharing with broader society what political scientists know about important trends and issues in areas of public concern." The report of the task force will be published at the next APSA meeting in September 2011 in Seattle. Hans Peter will contribute the TNGO Initiative's research on rights-based approaches to the task force deliberations.   

Global mapping of TNGOs

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Did you ever wonder about the global impact of transnational development NGOs? The US-based umbrella organization Interaction has begun tracking the global presence of its membership, see here, for example: projects related to food security.

Interview with Ignacio Saiz, Executive Director for The Center for Economic and Social Rights

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The Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) focuses on the fulfillment of economic and social rights, such as the right to food, health, education and water. In this interview, Ignacio Saiz, Executive Director of CESR and 2011 TNGO Fellow, speaks with Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken about the specific challenges and opportunities in this relatively new sector within human rights advocacy.

TNGO Initiative undertakes review with PLAN USA

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The TNGO Initiative recently embarked on a collaborative research project with the U.S. branch of the transnational development NGO Plan International. The project aims to assess changes in effectiveness and sustainability of Plan’s operations as a result of the organization’s change in program strategy. By analyzing internal evaluation documents from more than 50 program countries, the researchers hope to be able to identify if and how development strategies, such as promoting community awareness and participation, strengthening accountability and responsiveness of state institutions, and fostering alliances with local partner organizations contribute to enhanced program results for transnational development NGOs. These approaches, reflected in PLAN's Child and Community Centered Development (CCCD) strategy, encompass some RBA components.


This project constitutes the second research cooperation with Plan International. In 2009, the TNGO Initiative conducted an intensive six-month strategy evaluation of Plan International’s work in Guatemala aimed at assessing the shift of Plan towards a rights-based approach (RBA)  to development. The evaluation found that rights-based approaches, as implemented by, have the potential to be a coherent and effective framework for community-based development work but require significant transformation of an organization’s practices and increase the reliance on the commitment and performance of local actors. The current project builds on these findings and aims to elaborate them by comparing evidence from a sample of other program countries.

This collaborative research project ties in with the initiative’s mission to conduct applied research, which helps to enhance the work of transnational NGOs while at the same time contributing to relevant academic debates, such as aid effectiveness or rights-based approaches to development. The results of this project are planned to be published in relevant journals and thereby accessible to interested practitioners and academics.


Hans Peter Schmitz, Uwe Gneiting and Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken are undertaking the review; their work will be finalized by the end of June, 2011.

With Mission Accomplished, some NGOs go out of business

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This New York Times article describes the fairly rare cases of some NGOs that decide voluntarily to go out of business. The TNGO Initiative is currently finalizing the preparation for publication of a case study on just such a case: Realizing Rights.
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