Being effective in an NGO.

First thing first – What is an NGO? A non-governmental organization (NGO) is basically a legally constituted organization which is operated by legal persons who act independently from any government. Today, there are around 40 000 internationally operating NGOs across the world tackling various issues. Some examples are AIESEC, GreenPeace or the UNESCO. In Mauritius, we have around 140 approved NGOs operating to make the island a better place.

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Are we really impacting?

It is good to have so many NGOs driving the change in the world. But, are we really having an impact around us. Are we being effective enough to create THE change. Some days back, I read an article where the author said – “You will have half success in your operating year and the next half in your succesor’s one” – This question led me to think – Are we really thinking of the future generation?

Is the AIDS rate same as 10 years ago in Africa? Are our oceans cleaner compared to 10 years ago? Will our children have a good “Mother-Nature” in some 5 years? Well these are some questions for us to reflect on.

But, Lets be honest to ourselves. We will think about it for 5 minutes then what? Will this lead to concrete actions? Well lets see.

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Effectiveness

There are many problems which could not be solved effectively within a country and the world. I believe that for an organization to be successful, It has to be effective from the inside which will reflect on the outside – The outside being our world.

How can an organization be effective? There are a lot of ways to reach effectiveness according to its reality. But I believe there are some common squares that should be ticked.

1. Going back to the core

If an organization is not focus on its primary aim, most of the time it tries to tackle several issues at the same time. Somehow, along the way we tend to forget the real purpose of the NGO and its values. Usually members of an NGO don’t become effective because they are told to do to. They only drive the changes when they know the clarity of why of the organization and what is it trying to achieve. Today’s organization should really be focus-oriented while not deviating from its core.

2. Innovate

There are NGOs which exist for several years now and they gained experience and knowledge. But knowledge is not creativity. Within any organization , too much experience in a field can restrict the creativity in coming up with innovative solutions. The reason being that you know so well your field and how things should be done that you are unable to escape and come up with new ideas.

We are living a new era and our ways of operating can’t be similar to 20, 30 or 40 years ago. We need to constantly innovate in our approach to get the result we want.

3 Transformation

For some NGOs the status-quo was more or less present within the organization. Limiting themselves to an annual funding from partners and an ok-ish customer satisfaction until the next round of regulatory or funding review, so where’s the burning platform? Very often, leaders find it difficult to rally an entire organization to the need to change cause they see it as superfluous.

We should bear in mind that ” If we don’t take control of our own future and wait for someone else to tell us to change, it’ll be too late”

Conclusion

The paradigm shift is happening now and all the organization fighting for a better place should improve and make a global impact. We are no longer isolated. Our actions here have direct impact on someone living on the other end of the planet. For the future generation, our kids, to have a proper world to live in, We need to act now and today. But for the change to happen we need to improve from our inner NGO operations and become more effective.

The world we are living in is not ours, It is for our kids.

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