2012 Annual Report: Letter from the President

As we count down to a new set of global poverty and environmental goals in 2015, we continue to see remarkable strides in the well-being of the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. The past year saw the reelection of a U.S. president who has made global development a priority and committed in his inaugural address to tackle abject poverty around the world. Yet at the same time, governments limit the ability of civil society to thrive, climate change is now a harsh reality for many of the world’s poorest people and complex emergencies make humanitarian intervention in fragile states increasingly difficult.

The operating environment for international NGOs has changed enormously, with new actors and new norms emerging, and many U.S. NGOs are reexamining themselves and how they work to create change. Our community continues to evolve, and it is clear that while the development, humanitarian and human rights landscape is shifting under our feet, InterAction and our members continue to be relevant and effective actors for human development and social and environmental change.

In 2012, InterAction continued to play a key role as a convener, thought leader and platform for U.S. NGOs to come together to take collective action. As the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs, with over 30 active working groups led by nonprofit professionals, InterAction takes an active role in shaping policy and practice on key relief and development issues through the engagement of our over 180 members.

A little girl in Kenya drinks from the Hydropack, which uses forward osmosis to purify contaminated water into drinking water with a juice flavour. The photo was taken during a field test of its use during a flood crisis. Photo: Alan Lee

The year was one of growth for InterAction. The 2012 InterAction Forum was our largest to date. InterAction had over 100 meetings with congressional offices, assembled our flagship Foreign Assistance Briefing Book, and engaged member CEOs to develop recommendations on USAID’s relationship with the NGO sector, procurement reforms and local capacity building. We helped launch #GivingTuesday, continued to grow our social media presence and expanded our NGO Aid Map. InterAction was a key participant in the UN’s interagency discussions on how to improve humanitarian response and actively introduced reasonable changes to the U.S. government’s proposed partner vetting requirements.

The NGO community was in the spotlight on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last September when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced InterAction’s NGO Global Food Security Pledge. InterAction members have committed to spend over $1 billion in private resources over the next three years on programs advancing food security, agriculture and nutrition. This unprecedented commitment by the U.S. NGO community demonstrates that in this rapidly changing development ecosystem InterAction members are a major donor of private resources and a potential partner for governments and the private sector.

In 2012 the NGO community rose to a number of challenges, including humanitarian crises in Syria, Mali and the Sahel. Even as we actively engage Congress, the budget environment for U.S. foreign assistance continues to constrain our work. In a challenging and changing external environment, U.S. NGOs prove their relevance by speaking with a unified voice and partnering and innovating to be more effective in their programs. InterAction will continue to serve as a platform for this critical work.

Samuel A. Worthington
President and CEO, InterAction

Photos, top to bottom: Benjamin Rusnak; InterAction; Alan Lee.