NGOs Assess Relationships With Local Partners

The quality of relationships between international NGOs and their local partners relates directly to the effectiveness of their development work. Recognizing this, 25 organizations participated in a survey last September to collect feedback from their local partners. Findings from the survey, conducted on behalf of U.S. and European organizations by UK-based Keystone Accountability, are available in this public report (each organization also received a confidential report). One of the report’s main findings is that local organizations do not want to be treated as sub-contractors; what they value most is assistance in becoming “strong, independent and influential organizations.”

More than 1,000 local partners worldwide submitted feedback, providing international NGOs with information on what they were doing well and where change was needed to create more effective partnerships. Local partners were asked to rate international NGOs in several areas, including: financial support, non-financial support, the agreement process, relationship and communications, and monitoring and reporting. In addition to providing individual organizations with feedback on their performance, the survey established benchmarks for each area, allowing organizations to see how they compared to other agencies participating in the survey.

Each organization is now analyzing the results of the survey and conversations are underway both internally and with local partners to ensure the correct changes are made. To complement these internal processes, InterAction is arranging a session on partnerships with local organizations for the Forum, our annual conference (this year's Forum will take place from August 10-12 in Washington D.C.). British organizations that participated in the survey held a similar event on March 18, and plan to organize future meetings to discuss partnerships. These events on both sides of the Atlantic reflect international NGOs' commitment to acting on the results of the survey, and more importantly, to transforming relationships with local organizations into equal partnerships.

For more information, including how your organization can participate in the survey, please contact Laia Grino, Coordinator of NGO Effectiveness, at lgrino@interaction.org.