Accepted paper:

Achieving real impact: the role of power in international non-governmental organisations and community based organisations, a global alliance or empty rhetoric?


Lucy Kendall (COCO)

Paper short abstract:

Despite the formation of numerous organisations and partnerships initiated to address global inequality, progress has been at best slow and in some cases reversed. A shift in the power dynamic from North to South is essential and the time has come for change if real impact is to be achieved.

Paper long abstract:

This paper has emerged from my MBA research undertaken in 2015 which examines how the role of power in international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) has played a significant part in light of achievements (or lack thereof) of the millennium development goals (MDGs) launched in 2000. By analysing interviews with key stakeholders in the sector, the research found that although the INGO sector professes equality and partnership for community- led development, in many cases this is not the reality. At the time of the research, the much anticipated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) had just been announced, 3 years later, what has happened? Is progress being made or are failures to recognise the importance of the transfer of, or at the very least sharing of, power between North and South resulting in the likelihood that the SDG's will follow in the footsteps of their predecessors. The findings of the research suggest that global strategic alliances committed to establishing a balance of power between INGOs and local community based organisations (CBOs) is the key to ensuring that international development is led by southern voices. These alliances will require a commitment to change management and will undoubtedly see a shift in the power dynamic which will inevitably lead to challenges for both parties. The research will conclude that, handled with care, this new way of working will ultimately lead to greater scale and reach of development resulting in long term change under development principles.

panel C3
Unravelling, unfolding and unsettling NGOs' work, role and methodologies