Ask anyone who works in the development/humanitarian sector on whether he/she thinks that the world is a better place because of the work they do… they will be embarrassed to answer that.
We all know that the system is broken even if we don’t say it out loud. The question is, what’s causing this issue and why it remains unresolved.
The short answer is that the nonprofit sector has become a business and many actors in the scene would like for things to continue as they are.
To explain this in more details, imagine groups of INGOs and United Nations agencies whom have been working in the developing countries for ages spending hug amount of resources on communities who are unable to get out of their poverty lacking basic human needs.
Let’s say if a project has clear outcomes and a reasonable theory of change, by the end of the project manged to meet it’s objectives. Organization reported successful implementation to donors and donors were able to reflect successful results to their Board of Directors. All of this sounds good if only what’s reported represents tangible change in people’s lives.
In my humble opinion, in order to fix this system donors should first ask themselves why they are helping third world countries? Donors nations are the driven force of this system and they could change how things are perceived. If their intentions are to genuinely have a positive impact on those communities then they should hold organizations accountable of the quality of their work and how impact is being measured.
Big INGOs and UN agencies consume huge amount of resources under the “overheads” umbrella covering staffing, administrative and other logistics expenses. By the end of the day, only a small percent of the overall funds reaches designated beneficiaries leaving many in need.
On the other hand, many governments of the developing countries tend to overlook the consequences of allowing these organizations to operate for years with no visible change only to make communities more dependent on their aid.
As players in this system, we have a responsibility of changing how it’s affecting our communities negatively. We should aim and work to build more resilient and economically stable communities and governments should start putting people’s interest before their own so nations could rise and human beings could live a decent life.