Working with NGOs|
A Practical Guide to Operational Collaboration between
the World Bank and Non-Governmental Organziations
Summary of Key Points:
- I. INTRODUCTION
- NGO is a broad term encompassing a wide array of diverse organizations.
- The World Bank defines NGOs as "private organizations that
pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the
poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services or
undertake community development".
- The World Bank collaborates with CBOs, national and international
NGOs in a variety of different ways.
- Achieving the full potential benefits of NGO involvement implies
enhanced roles for NGOs earlier on in the project cycle.
- II.WHY THE WORLD BANK WORKS WITH NGOS
- NGO involvement can contribute to the sustainability and
effectiveness of Bank-financed projects by introducing innovative
approaches and promoting community participation.
- NGOs can help expand project uptake and reach, and can facilitate
greater awareness of diverse stakeholder views.
- III.HOW THE WORLD BANK WORKS WITH NGOS
- NGOs are active contributors to the Bank's economic and sector
work (ESW) and participate in lending activities from identification
through to evaluation.
- Currently, NGO involvement is most frequent during implementation.
Evidence shows, however, that NGOs can provide particularly
valuable input during project identification and design.
- Where NGOs are expected to participate in implementation, they
should also be consulted during design.
- IV.KEY ISSUES IN WORKING WITH NGOS
A. Identifying an appropriate NGO partner
- Selecting an appropriate NGO partner involves: i) gathering
information about the NGO sector; ii) establishing relevant
selection criteria, and; iii) choosing a suitable selection process.
- Clear selection criteria should be established based on specific
- Organizational capacity should be assessed according to an NGO's
proven track record, not its stated goals.
- It is important to identify "capacity-building" needs and strategies.
- Maximum transparency should be ensured in the selection process.
- B. Time issues
- Be prepared for possible extra staff/time needs early on in the
- Be aware of potential time fags/delays and the risk they pose to
- Ensure NGOs have an adequate understanding of project time-frame
- C. Flexibility issues
- Seek NGO/community input early on in the project cycle.
- Establish clear mechanisms for responding to local views and needs.
- Use mid-term review process to adapt project priorities/processes as
necessary according to local input.
- In areas where NGOs have a recognized comparative advantage,
take steps to maximize their institutional autonomy.
- D. Funding issues
- NGOs are generally cost-effective. They should not, however, be
viewed as a "low-cost alternative" to other types of implementing
- NGOs should not be expected to provide services free of charge or at
lower than market rates (unless according to a co-financing agreement).
- Clarify the expected status of NGO involvement (e.g.: informal
unpaid advisor, paid consultant, contractor, etc.) from the outset.
- Establish mutually acceptable fees and overhead costs.
- E. Procurement and disbursement issues
- Use simplified bidding documents, where appropriate.
- Consider the use of alternative procurement practices.
- If necessary, make provisions for advance payments.
- Provide training for NGOs in procurement and disbursement procedures.
- F. NGO-Government relations
- Consider conducting a state-NGO relations study.
- Keep in mind that government-NGO collaboration is not possible/
desirable in all cases.
- Always seek government-NGO complementarity.
- Understand how government policies influence the NGO sector
and, where possible, promote an enabling environment for NGOs.
- G. Importance of clearly defined roles and responsibilities
- Share all relevant project documents with participating NGOs.
- Consider the appointment of an NGO liaison officer.
- Organize a government-Bank-NGO information-sharing workshop.
- H. Contractual/legal issues
- Adapt standard contract agreements as necessary to meet specific
needs of NGOs/community groups.
- Write contracts in simple language.
- Consider using a Memorandum of Understanding or other alternative
form of contract.
- I. Capacity-building
- Consult with NGOs on appropriate strategies to support their
- Where appropriate, build a training component for NGOs into
- Encourage partnerships between international and local NGOs.
- Promote networking and information-sharing among NGOs.
- World Bank, Working with NGOs
A Practical Guide to Operational Collaboration between the World Bank and Non-Governmental Organziations
. Operations Policy Department, World Bank, 1995, pp.7-9.
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