Sam Worthington's blog

What We Mean by “Civic Space” and Where We’re Pushing Back

What is civic space? It’s the ability for health clinics to operate freely towards eradicating polio in Pakistan, it enables humanitarians to rapidly deliver shelter after a hurricane in the Philippines, and it is imperative to the fight for greater justice and equality in South Africa, and here at home. Or, for that matter, it is the ability of people-based organizations to fight against injustices or for human well-being anywhere.

Nepal: A Call to Action

Six months ago many in the humanitarian system wondered if it was the worst it has ever been, with crises in Syria, South Sudan, and the Central Africa Republic. Then came Ebola. And Yemen. And now Nepal. The thing is, we are all part of a larger system. And that system is overstretched. It takes individual and institutional supporters to provide the flexibility demanded to quickly respond in these high-stakes situations.

A New Strategic Framework

I have returned from a relaxing and rejuvenating three-month sabbatical. I would like to thank Lindsay Coates for her strong and effective leadership as acting president & CEO during my absence. After fruitful discussions with InterAction members, staff, leadership, and various stakeholders, both Lindsay and I are proud to announce that the Board has finalized InterAction’s 2015-18 Strategic Plan.

The Evolving Role and Future Relevance of the US NGO Sector

After 8 years serving at the helm of InterAction, the Board has graciously offered me a sabbatical, from later this month to early April, 2015. During this period I will have no access to e-mail, or any InterAction related work, and I welcome this opportunity to recharge and relax.  I am honored that for a part of the next three months I will be a resident policy fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy.  This is a welcomed chance to reflect upon our sector’s relevancy and evolving role.

Dispelling the Myth: An Evolving Relationship between NGOs and Private Businesses

A common misperception regarding NGO-private sector relations is one based on mutual distrust and occasional confrontation; or with the advent of corporate social responsibility funding, one solely based on donor-recipient transactions. With the international development landscape rapidly evolving, some historical and present-day assumptions are simply inaccurate.

The following statements are not true of operational U.S. NGOs:

NGOs Further Democratizing Aid and Development

InterAction members spending over $4 billion in private resources for community-driven efforts in Africa

U.S. NGOs investing to help children reach their 5th birthday

In 2015, InterAction’s member NGOs will spend over $450 million in private, nongovernmental funds on child health and survival, a substantial increase over this year’s spending. These dollars will allow children around the world to reach their fifth birthdays and lead healthy, productive lives. Having worked for years to advance the wellbeing of children, I know firsthand why these investments are so critical.

USAID And InterAction Sign Landmark Development Partnership - And Now The Work Starts

USAID and InterAction have just announced a first-of-its-kind agreement in a major effort to accelerate progress in the global fight against hunger and malnutrition. The agreement, signed May 19 on Capitol Hill, aims to maximize the impact of USAID and U.S. NGOs’ global food security and nutrition efforts – and it represents a landmark commitment by long-standing partners to collaborate in new ways to end hunger.

A Farewell to Peter Bell, an NGO Leader and Dear Friend

Last week the U.S. NGO community lost a friend and leader, Peter Bell, who in his lifetime helped shape the concept and direction of global NGOs. As the president and CEO of CARE for a decade, Peter had the opportunity to steer an organization that makes a difference in the lives of countless people, and for years after he continued to influence the work of NGOs as a thought leader. I was fortunate to know him as both a mentor and dear friend.

A 30th Anniversary Wish List of Headlines for 2014

This is a critical time for those of us working toward a more equitable, peaceful and sustainable world. 2014 marks the run-up to reaching the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals, setting a new global development and sustainability agenda for post-2015 and achieving an accord to counter climate change. As we push for continued positive and lasting global change for the world’s poor, U.S. NGOs have an increasingly important role to play – one that is vastly different than 30 years ago when InterAction was established. 

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