Fundraising News: World NGOs called on to foster local fundraising

International NGOs do not do enough to challenge the culture of dependence in developing countries and must do more to encourage local donors, according to Indian fundraising consultant Bharati Ramachandran.

Speaking at the International Workshop on Resource Mobilisation organised by the Resource Alliance in South Africa last week, she said that NGOs working with local groups need to do more to get them to fundraise for themselves from local communities. "They need to start talking to them about the need to raise resources."

But Ezra Mbogori, executive director of Mwengo, an NGO support group based in Zimbabwe, said that many international NGOs avoid encouraging local fundraising because they are afraid of becoming redundant.

"International NGOs have also resisted suggestions that funding from European governments should go straight to southern NGOs," he said. "This is short-sighted, narrow thinking and not in their long-term interests."

Ramachandran suggested large organisations should use the resources they have in order to train local fundraisers and encourage local groups to be more sustainable and independent. She said that a lack of local fundraising in developing countries meant that financial resources were left untapped, and wealthy local people were often unaware of the problems caused by bad health and poverty in their countries.

But she added that it was difficult for NGOs to work against the attitude of dependency on northern countries. "People are used to the money just coming in. It's hard to make people believe that they can fundraise for themselves."

However, Ramachandran noted that some international NGOs such as Skillshare are trying to encourage local groups to fund themselves more independently.

"Skillshare International's approach to development is to partner with local organisations to build their capacity, so that they become sustainable organisations," said spokeswoman Lynne Slowey.

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