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Aid Effectiveness and Peoples Self- Development Evaluating the Impact of Western NGOs in Strengthening Albanian Civil Society Aida Orgocka – Fahim Quadir.

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Presentation on theme: "Aid Effectiveness and Peoples Self- Development Evaluating the Impact of Western NGOs in Strengthening Albanian Civil Society Aida Orgocka – Fahim Quadir."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aid Effectiveness and Peoples Self- Development Evaluating the Impact of Western NGOs in Strengthening Albanian Civil Society Aida Orgocka – Fahim Quadir York University, Canada EADI/DSA Conference University of York, September 20, 2011

2 Presentation focus Development aid provided by NGOs and CSOs Operational strategy of creating spin-off NGOs/localization that claims to build local capacity for sustainable interventions Issues Design Implementation of the strategy Extent to which strategy creates entities that are capable of managing development on their own in a sustainable manner.

3 Evaluating localization Evaluating the contribution of WNGOs - looking a gift horse in the mouth; Paucity of data and information from which to draw firm conclusions about the impact of WNGOs.

4 Case study method The case study method allows to conceptualize impact in the context of little systematic information; It provides space and opportunities for asking new questions beyond what current literature on impact suggests; It links contextual influences prominently to outcomes; Provides for how different models of LNGO start-up lead to the same outcome of stronger capacities of the NGO sector to do development work.

5 Situating localization in aid to civil society Albania - recipient of foreign aid starting in the early 1990s; Little systematic information is available on financial aid to civil society; Significant in terms of re- creating a civil society sector; Civil society was shaped and determined by the expectation of western support to recover from the communist experience. Courtesy: CIA The World Factbook - Albania

6 The civil society building project The aim was to foster a culture of democracy and pluralism that values participation, transparency, accountability and responsiveness Giving voice to disadvantaged communities; Increasing civic engagement and popular participation in decision-making; Enabling ordinary citizens to successfully manage development on their own. Emergence of NGOs – overwhelming figures

7 WNGOs and building civil society WNGOs were trusted as actors with the ability to produce desired change; Significant resources channelled through WNGOs: Set up offices; Hired nationals to do the work; By way of exit - moved toward forming and training LNGOs.

8 Evaluating impact of localization Designing localization in accordance with contextual needs; Enabling legacy of development intervention programs; Streamlining vision and mission with country needs; Social engineering sustainability.

9 Methods Interviews with reps from 9 LNGOs Document search Interns in the LSNGOs Cross-case analysis.

10 Issues of Design Little mapping of country level evaluation experiences in the field/feasibility of sustainability; Little effort at synergies with other NGO-s in the field; No indicators established by WNGOs before the decision to create LNGOs; No benchmarks were established/shared.

11 Legacy Brand-new NGOs: originally established as a program unit within a donor agency; established directly from a WNGO; and established through contract arrangements between a donor agency and a WNGO.

12 Legacy Generally, the donor agency/WNGO identified the areas of intervention, which was embraced by the local entity created; They had clear objectives of building local capacities to address local problems; Operational funding secured for a few years; Downside WNGO resisted the idea of creating an LNGO as this meant taking the WNGO out of the field in Albania, losing operational costs and creating more competition.

13 Legacy Transferring assets - continuation: A program office/branch of a WNGO transferred its assets to an LNGO upon decision to exit; WNGO identified and re-recruited the people that would continue the work in the LNGO; LNGO was merely a continuation of the program activity of the WNGO.

14 Legacy Strengthening a weak NGO: No equal footing – dictated relationship; WNGO imposed what the local partner perceived to be stifling procedures of transparency that impacted the process of strengthening the local NGO; Double standards - imposing transparent rules was not reciprocated by the WNGO.

15 Streamlining vision and mission Continuing on the tradition of the parent WNGO; however strategic re-evaluation was done to align with contextual needs; Strategies to tackle issues of concern inherited from WNGOs; Donor priorities and agenda remain key in revising vision and mission.

16 Social engineering sustainability Organizational sustainability: Mentoring an LNGO and building staff capacities and networking through support with operational funds and technical assistance; Timeframe was imposed, not discussed; duration of support was not always sufficient; Staff retention was a serious challenge.

17 Social engineering sustainability Programmatic sustainability: Inherited programmatic fields of action, but little systematic planning on how to sustain the same kind of activity with reduced funding; Challenge: institutional memory and communities.

18 Social engineering sustainability Financial Sustainability : Key financing mechanism – diversification of funding; Yet little training in fundraising or access to potential partnerships; Few alternative resources for operational activities; Donor funding and practices – not cognizant of capacities of LNGOs

19 Social engineering sustainability Monitoring and evaluation No stocktaking of general M&E practices at LNGO operational and programmatic level; Programmatic M&E processes of specific projects Little or not technical expertise to support LNGO level evaluations. Success determined through: Mandate still relevant – effecting change in policy & practice; Beneficiaries: how well the job is done; Requests for future partnerships

20 Lessons learnt Labelling the process – spin-offs/legacy/ continuation – lost in translation – they left Creating identity - preserving legacy and reconciling expectations – several did not want to go back to roots; Knowing how to exit as an WNGO enters a country.

21 Questions for further analysis Strategic need: do the LNGOs provide for the lack in the institutional capacity observed? The significance of the type of LNGO created – to what extent should localization efforts focus on grant fundraising model and donor diversification as key to sustainability? Measuring success and impact of LNGOs - to what extent does inheriting the work of WNGO become an operational liability or an asset?

22 Instead of conclusions Empowering the natives, thats a very good theory. But an international organization cannot use this [creation of an LNGO] as a way out. So you transfer the power to local organization to operate legally in a country, and this is a good pretext to leave a country. It would be way more honest to close their activity and exit, than leave the ball on the court of one, two, ten locals that trust the process and have the passion to engage [but no partner to play with]… Supporting an organization for two years, and then zero support, This is not development, this is closing shop.

23 Thank you!

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