How do we judge our capacity as NGOs in a realistic way? How do we know if a partner is able to take on a new piece of work or adopt a new role? How do we know what forms of support to give to partners at a certain stage of their development? These are questions many northern NGOs face every day. There is a temptation to ask for simple rules of thumb or neat models to adopt.
INTRAC’s in-depth research to determine the factors affecting the strength of urban NGOs has examined over 140 organisations in urban areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It draws on a model which stresses the relationships between an NGO’s internal organisation, its relations and its programme performance. This model highlights the need to understand the context in which organisations are operating and recognises that the often dynamic, complex and paradoxical nature of organisations cannot be represented properly by a static model. The research findings reinforce the emphasis placed in the model on the importance of understanding an organisation in terms of what it does and who it relates to, rather than simply in terms of its internal life. Yet it challenges the emphasis placed by some on the centrality of the mission and vision in an organisation’s internal life.
ONTRAC 9. Building the internal strength of urban NGO's: the right way round or from the inside out?