2010 Annual Report: Letter from the President

The Evolving Role of the U.S. NGO

As development issues become more interconnected and complex, our community is swiftly adapting so that we can better address the needs of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Foreign assistance is no longer handed over to developing country governments or showered on local communities without a firm plan or conditions in place. Many actors shape development assistance in the 21st century, and our approach must be inclusive, innovative, empowering, multisectoral and owned by all stakeholders in a society. The InterAction community is at the forefront of this evolution.

In 2010, our community led the U.S. operational response to major humanitarian crises in Haiti and Pakistan, ensured the protection of vulnerable people within and outside of those areas, and worked to improve gender equity across all programs. Our humanitarian efforts illustrate how flexible NGOs must be: from first responder to community trainer to committed advocate, NGO staff must adapt to fill unique gaps of each crisis.

InterAction has encouraged transparency and open collaboration across sectors by mapping our members’ response in Haiti, branching out in 2011 to also map global food security projects and actions in the Horn of Africa. Through this platform, InterAction strives to facilitate partnerships, improve coordination, and encourage informed decisions about where to direct development resources. Our Best Practices and Innovations Initiative promotes effective approaches and practice standards to boost the impact of agricultural and nutrition field programs.

These efforts are deepened by our convening role around foreign assistance reform and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). InterAction coordinated our members to submit input into the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) and the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s partial draft of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) rewrite. Our second biennial Foreign Assistance Briefing Book outlined our community’s recommendations on a range of development assistance issues to identify opportunities for the 112th Congress to take action in these crucial areas.

Internationally, our community has contributed to the G8/G20 discussions through a series of development policy briefs and a paper detailing recommendations for accountability, governance, financial inclusion and more. We mobilized our members and worked with international partners to make a visible and coordinated presence outside of the G8/G20 meetings. InterAction also attended the Civil G20 Dialogue in Seoul.

The InterAction community is diverse, flexible and resilient. Regardless of external changes or programmatic focus, InterAction members share a core commitment to helping communities around the world overcome obstacles and shape a vibrant, equitable and sustainable future. We work with multiple partners from the U.S. government and the United Nations to corporations and the American people. Confronting adversity and overcoming uncertainty is precisely where we excel, and I am confident that our commitment to whole-of-society, multisectoral development will continue to provide support to and build the capacity of vulnerable populations around the world.

Samuel A. Worthington
President and CEO, InterAction