2011 Annual Report: Letter from the President

Letter from the President

The ecosystem in which international NGOs operate has changed significantly in the past several years. New actors have taken new roles on the global stage, bringing new resources and skill sets to the table. The problems facing the world are more interconnected, making partnering and leveraging increasingly important. These shifts have large implications for InterAction and its members.

2011 saw our community challenged by a number of external factors, including crises in Japan, the famine in the Horn of Africa and a severely constraining budget environment. Amidst these challenges, InterAction’s members are increasingly partnering to achieve greater impact and effectiveness, and advocating for our community’s ideals with one common voice. InterAction has continued to serve as a platform for common action, strengthening its role as the leading coalition of U.S. NGOs working to alleviate suffering and increase human dignity for the world’s most poor and vulnerable populations.

InterAction expanded in 2011, hitting the 200 member mark and deepening our capacity in the areas of public policy, development and humanitarian policy, and communications. The 2011 InterAction Forum was our largest to date, bringing over 1,000 participants together to discuss a range of critical and strategic issues. InterAction’s members are the engine of our work, engaging in our 31 working groups and a myriad of initiatives, such as our NGO Aid Map. Members helped draft landmark standards around material assistance and catalyzed the creation of both our indirect costs initiative, which is working to change the conversation around overhead cost rates, and the InterAction Business Council, which brings corporate and nonprofit leaders together to discuss how through partnership we can deliver results.

InterAction has increasing access to high level policymakers, and has been an active and dynamic participant in shaping the policy environment for development and humanitarian work. Leading up to the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, InterAction played a leading role facilitating dialogue and consultation between the U.S. government and our members, successfully influencing the outcome of the conference. I had the privilege of accompanying Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the official U.S. delegation. InterAction was also consulted to help craft the World Bank’s new Global Partnership for Social Accountability, and has been engaged by the UN to shape the Transformative Agenda, which seeks to improve coordinated humanitarian responses.

While InterAction has been able to leverage its policy influence, 2011 saw our sector confronted by a number of serious external challenges as the ecosystem continues its dramatic evolution.  Our task is to ensure that U.S. NGOs still see themselves as a community that can come together to forge common positions and partner for greater impact, even in challenging, turbulent times. We remain committed to doing just that, showing resilience, forward thinking and an unending commitment to poor and vulnerable populations around the world.

Samuel A. Worthington
President and CEO, InterAction

(Top photo: Eric Kruszewski)