Free website gives detailed outline of UK development sector

Users of NGO Explorer, created by two academics, can find out where organisations operate and information on what they do

Two academics have created a free website to provide a more detailed picture of the UK development sector and encourage more collaboration between organisations.

The NGO Explorer allows visitors to find out where organisations are operating and information on the services they provide.

Professor Dan Brockington of Sheffield University and Dr Nicola Banks of Manchester University created the site after completing a mapping project of the development sector.

The project provided new insights about the growth in income and number of organisations from 2005 to 2015.

After speaking to smaller NGOs, many of which were unaware of who else operated in the same countries overseas, or close to them in the UK, they began organising the data into a searchable online format.

The NGO Explorer website is based on Charity Commission data for England and Wales and was unveiled last week at an event at the headquarters of Bond, a network for more than 400 international development organisations.

Visitors can search for NGOs according to where they are based in the UK or where they operate overseas. For example, it shows that 213 UK NGOs work in Vietnam, and Sheffield is home to 100 NGOs working in 146 countries.

Banks said: "We know that the development sector acts quite differently from civil society as a whole, so it’s important we know more about it.

"With 90 per cent of development expenditure concentrated among just 8 per cent of large organisations in the sector, we’re excited to help to connect smaller organisations."

Brockington said: "We hope the NGO explorer will be used as a springboard for contacts, interactions and exchange."

The Economic and Social Research Council and the Global Challenges Research Fund funded the NGO Explorer.

Those involved now want to find ways to include Scottish and Irish NGOs on the website.

The site is available at ngoexplorer.org.

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