Sam Worthington's blog

Forum Takeaways and Future Action

This June, InterAction held its 31st annual Forum. More than 1,000 attendees from over 350 organizations participated in the three-day event.
 
In an effort to synthesize three days of stimulating conversations, brainstorming sessions, and building connections with many of you at InterAction’s Forum 2015, let’s reflect on some key takeaways:
 

Why We Exist and How We Can Evolve

Effective development is ultimately local. It is driven by market economics, the private sector, and shaped by effective governance institutions, namely host governments. If this is true, our goal as international nonprofits working across borders is to “work ourselves out of a job.” Does this make sense? It does not for three reasons.

Wealth, Violence, and a Changing Development Landscape

The world is talking about new broader and deeper goals to eliminate extreme poverty and decrease inequality. Middle income countries such as Brazil and India have increasing wealth and capacity to uplift the poor. Simultaneously, governments in conflict-ridden and war-torn states are struggling or simply unable to provide basic services for their people. What is the evolving role of international NGOs in the Brazils and Indias of the world? What is the role of international NGOs in areas with weak and fragile states?

Ebola Crisis: We are in this for the Long Haul

Since my letter regarding the Ebola crisis in September, 5,160 people have died with a total of 14,098 cases due to the worst Ebola outbreak in history. The actual numbers are probably far worse. Local, regional and international partners, including 30 InterAction members, are collaborating to operate Ebola Treatment Units, conduct contact and identification tracing and perform safe burials while mobilizing communities to contain the virus at its source. 

Travel Restrictions Are Obstacles to Fighting Ebola

The NGO community is getting mixed messages. At the same time humanitarian organizations are being encouraged to rapidly scale-up efforts to contain the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, increased political rhetoric on travel restrictions threatens to create new barriers to the NGO community's response to this crisis.

Ebola – A Fragile Healthcare System’s Ripple Effects

Four years ago I traveled over a deeply washed away and rutted dirt track to visit villages in the northern Liberian jungle, in what is now the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak. I focused on a network of small health clinics, which were dealing with the scourges of war and the impact of gender-based violence. Once the emergency of war eased, foreign assistance for these clinics was cut – and now what remains of these clinics are at the heart of an Ebola outbreak. 

InterAction's Samuel A. Worthington: Stand With the People of Syria

It was just a few years ago that ordinary Syrian citizens were living their lives. Shops were open for business, bakeries were filled with warm Markook flatbread, schools were packed with children, and hospitals were sanctuaries for the sick.

To Leverage NGO Resources, Partnerships with U.S. Government Must Change

Over the past year and a half, InterAction and the NGO community have successfully stood in solidarity to defend our values and maintain the role of development and humanitarian relief within U.S. foreign policy. Our values affirm the inherent dignity and rights of all people, including displaced persons or those who are marginalized. They also reflect a mandate to alleviate suffering and to promote human well-being and opportunity.
 

A Year for Global Activism

In response to the past year’s political and cultural flashpoints, more and more Americans, of many different stripes, have engaged in activism to stand up for their values. Disturbing news headlines hit with daily increasing frequency and one can see a world spiraling out of control. Yet we see an increase in individuals working to promote positive societal change both here and abroad. Some of these efforts make the news, most do not, but around the world individual citizens are organizing themselves to have a greater say over their lives and future.

A Vision of 2018

I look towards 2018 with a sense of possibility that we, as a part of civil society, will be able to champion shared interests and deliver needed services with a new sense of purpose, as we advance human well-being in an ever-changing world. In spite of war, climate change, and dysfunctional politics, last year continued a generational trend of ever improving welfare across the globe. U.S. NGOs, each in their own way, contributed to this positive trend, particularly for more vulnerable populations.

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