Future of NGOs lies in 'holy grail' of partnerships — Mercy Corps CEO

Like other industries before, the aid community is finally having its “disrupting moment” and the future of nongovernmental organizations lies in the “holy grail” of partnerships.

That’s according to Mercy CorpsCEO Neal Keny-Guyer, who sees NGOs linking up more in more with social entrepreneurs that promote innovation through their energy and fresh ideas.

“Organizations like us … are going to become more global, more market-oriented, [and develop] stronger partnerships with the private sector, what’s called shared value,” Keny-Guyer said during an interview with Devex President Raj Kumar at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. “We’re going to be pushing innovation in greeter ways than we already do. That’s critical for our future.”

The Mercy Corps CEO also discussed the situation in Syria, where he admitted that “where we want things to go and where we expect things to go may be two different things” and stressed that NGOs can save lives, provide some comfort and ease the misery, but “obviously we can’t provide the answer” to end the conflict.

Keny-Guyer said the Syrian crisis may well be most complex humanitarian emergency in our time — even more than the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo — due to its scale in scope, insecurity, the politics involved and the lack of any end in sight.

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    Carlos Santamaria

    As associate editor for breaking news, Carlos Santamaria supervises Devex's Manila-based news team and the creation of our daily newsletter. Carlos joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.