InterAction: NGOs bring 'assets' to US aid

InterAction CEO and President Sam Worthington. Photo by: Ryan Rayburn / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

Why should the U.S. Agency for International Development strengthen its collaboration with U.S. nongovernmental organizations?

Because they bring accumulated knowledge, experience and social capital to development practice, InterAction said in a July policy paper, the first in a series of white papers exploring the relationship between the aid agency and U.S. nongovernmental organizations.

NGOs, according to the paper, have already established partnerships with local populations and have worked in areas “beyond the reach of U.S. government staff.” They are also not afraid to “take chances” to determine best practices in the field.

These assets are vital for a donor such as the United States, which is gearing toward a more “results-based” approach in its development activities. The paper lists several ways for both parties to be able to increase development effectiveness. USAID should:

  • Restructure the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid to include development NGOs or create a consultative mechanism in which NGOs will be able to consistently take part in strategic policy discussions.

  • Identify “all” areas where both parties can potentially collaborate. This means not limiting NGOs’ role to project implementers, one of the concerns raised by InterAction in the paper.

  • Partner with NGOs — which also raise money from private donations — to “optimize” available development resources to boost the impact of U.S. aid.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.