InterAction: Local capacity building needs access to civil society

Building local capacity in development is definitely the wave of the future for international nongovernmental organizations, but governments have their own share of responsibility in the process.

“If governments provide the access to civil society space, iNGOs already have a huge collaborative role with local civil society in building capacity, opportunities, dynamism and activities that can really move us forward,” Lindsay Coates, executive vice president for InterAction, told Devex at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

Coates explained how in the current pull toward localisation, iNGOs “are being smart, looking at how effective they can be at the overarching goal of addressing the needs and concerns of the world’s poorest people,” which in the long run cannot be done without building their capacities.

“We’re in a very dynamic, changing environment right now … with the current Millennium Development Goals … from a charity model, where we deliver services to people, to a post-2015 model, which is much more collaborative,” she said. “Our members want to be nimble and responsive to what’s going on in the world.”

Coates also discussed innovative leadership at iNGOs, where she gave the example of how Habitat for Humanity is growing a mortgage market in developing nations: “That’s really exciting, not your traditional NGO work … [but about building] the social structure in a country in collaboration with local groups.”

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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.