Poor gathering at Peoples Welfare Foundation

Who will care for them?

Faulty Donor Organisations Strategy

The international donor organisations spend billions of dollars on projects such as health, environment, education and poverty alleviation programmes through government institutions and NGOs but have not achieved the desired results; and this fact has also partially accepted in the World Bank report on poverty. It is a fact that establishing NGO in Pakistan has become a business; entrepreneurs and influential people establish NGOs to promote their own enterprises and money-making adventures. The donor organisations must share the blame if NGOs did not work properly in Pakistan because they also willingly provide huge amounts to only those NGOs which are established by influential and famous people.

Visiting many websites of donor organisations reveals that they demand sophisticated information, which can only be fulfilled by an NGO that has money and resources to hire experts from different field. There are only a few organisations that encourage new not-for-profit organisations. Most of donor organisations fund projects but are reluctant to provide money for general administrative expenses.

These donor organisations have not understood even after working in developing countries for many years that the unnatural clauses in application forms such as “board of directors consist of volunteers” opens more rooms for corruption than reducing corruption; this clause itself restricts less resource people to establish an NGO. It is much useful that resourceless but honest and sincere people establish NGOs with declared salary for the work; at least in this way there will be a slight reduction in unemployment. Many NGOs run a programme and take donations from different organisations for the same project; it happens because they have professionals who do the impressive paper work and fulfil prerequisites of the donor organisations, at least on paper.

It is also true that the donor organisations are not financing quality projects, which are providing good quality of services; for example, hardly any of educational institutions established by an NGO is providing quality education with adequate facilities. The same goes for other type of projects such as poverty alleviation programmes. For example, an organisation has proudly claimed in its advertisement that it has distributed bread of Rs900,00,000 in a year among the poor; it would have been much better that the organisation had spent the same amount in creating jobs for the poor. It seems that organisation is working on the strategy of ‘something is better than nothing’ without realising the fact that this strategy will never change the fate of the poor. If donor organisations are really willing to help poor people, they have to change their strategy.

The donor organisations should invest money in changing the basic fibre of the society. Instead of running poor educational centres, they must fund projects that provide quality education with modern facilities to the children of poor families. Similarly, if donor organisations are sincere in reducing poverty in countries like Pakistan, they must provide funds to those projects in which people can work and earn reasonable amount to lead a decent life. For example, they must consider establishing small industries, educational institutions, small shops, kiosks and other business in which ownership or partnership should be given to ordinary and poor masses.
It is also important they encourage those individuals to run NGOs who do not have resources instead of supporting entrepreneurs and influential people. In addition, the donor organisations have to take measures to remove corruption from their own organisations.

In short, donor organisations must accept their own mistakes if their projects have not brought the desired results or have not properly addressed the problems for which they provided the funding in developing countries like Pakistan. Thing will not change until they change their strategy.

Nadeem Yousaf

Article Published in The Statesmand, Peshawar