December 2014

The NGO chargesheet

In a climate of rampant corporatism and the retreat of governments from service provision, NGOs have mushroomed. Today the largest NGOs have budgets that rival transnational corporations. But is the hope invested in their activities justified? Many NGOs draw a significant amount of their funding from governments and corporations. Has this corrupted their aims? And to whose interests are they accountable - the people they claim to serve or the cherished 'major donors'? In the name of professionalism many are rigidly hierarchical and permeated by a corporate ethos. They court powerful establishment figures to sit on their boards. How well can they take up cudgels for people facing extreme disadvantage? Reformist in nature, can they ever be radical? Do they help people's movements for justice or do they undermine them by speaking on their behalf?

This month's New Internationalist inspects these and other criticisms of the ways in which NGOs function. For many of us, donating to NGOs is a way of expressing solidarity for the causes we believe in; it matters that we choose the right channels.

企業や利益団体の政治への介入、そしてまた行政が社会的サービスの運営から手を引いているということもあり、NGOが続々と誕生している。今日、最大手のNGOは、彼らが目の敵にする多国籍企業と肩を並べるほどの予算規模をほこっている。しかし、私たちがその活動に期待していることは、十分に実行されているのだろうか? 多くのNGOはかなりの資金を政府や企業から得ているが、それが彼らの目標に影響することはないのだろうか? またNGOは、誰の関心事について取り組んでいるのか。NGOが裨益者であると主張する人々なのか、「主要な援助資金提供者」なのか? 


もともと改革を進めてきたNGOだが、それをもっと大胆に行うことはできないのだろうか? NGOは、公正を求める民衆の運動を支援するのか、それとも自分たちの恩恵のために、そんな運動の足を引っ張ってしまうのか?







Stories making the news this month
6 TV’s transgender trendsetter
6 Organized acts of kindness
7 Russia’s unseen casualties
7 London’s tarpaulin revolution
7 Re-introducing… Evo Morales
8 Syrian art and soul
8 Women protected in Egypt
9 Mine shafted in Canada
9 Elusive justice after Bhopal
PLUS: Scratchy Lines by cartoonist Simon Kneebone and Reasons to be Cheerful.

The Big Story
Non-Governmental Organizations
10 NGOs – do they help?
There are more NGOs today than ever; some are bigger than ever. Yet, discovers Dinyar Godrej, questions persist about their role.

14 The company they keep
Big NGOs and big corporations – Ian Brown finds they are getting a bit too close.

16 Aiding and abetting
Cartoonist Polyp’s satirical take on field work.

18 Evicted by charity
The green imperialism of some conservation charities, by Sophie Pritchard.

20 Contested territory
Accused by the government of stalling development and by critics on the Left of not being radical enough, NGOs in India are facing many challenges. Dionne Bunsha reports.

23 What is the right response to the Ebola crisis?
MSF respond to charges against the way they operate in Sierra Leone.

24 The unwelcome return of development pornography John Hilary on a degrading spectacle that keeps coming back.

28 Is this your fingerprint? Do you recognize it?
Strange goings-on in the trial of indigenous protesters accused of killing police in Bagua. Roxana Olivera reports from the Peruvian Amazon.

Mixed Media
34 Music reviews
Silk & Stone by Amira Medunjanin; Lament by Einsturzende Neubauten.

35 Film reviews
Citizenfour directed by Laura Poitras; We Are The Giant directed by Greg Barker; Winter Sleep directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

36 Book reviews
The Drum Tower by Farnoosh Moshiri; The Final Charge by Dawood Ali McCallum; The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck; They Can’t Represent Us! by Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini.
PLUS: Also out there…

30 Essay
Jeremy Seabrook considers the myths of radicalization.

33 Mark Engler
Seize the spirit of 1989.

4 Letters
Doing it ourselves to end the oil age; stop belittling men.

5 Letter from Bangui
Ruby Diamonde escapes the city and delights in the beauty of the rainforest.

26 Country Profile: Chad

32 Making Waves
Sofi Lundin meets Catherine Hamlin, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and doctor extraordinaire.

38 And Finally
Best-selling author Elif Shafak on Twitter, Turkey and making peace with her fears.




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