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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

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15 Mar 2006 - 11:03
Public participation: Selection of partners as a role of donors
The most crucial step in effectiveness of aid is the selection of credible partners from the NGO sector.

Unfortuantely, due to corruption in Africa, the NGO community is no different from the larger one. There are many NGOs that are corrupt and more that are pro-government and do not serve the people. In fact, it seems that governments are not just happy with having pro-government NGOs, but in some cases, e.g. The Arab Water Council, formed by the Ministries of Water in Egypt and Sudan, do form their own NGOs!! Which defies the definition of NGOs in itself.

The donors seem also to accept government suggestions, usually of pro-government organizations, who are in the case to follow have never been actors in the project area, and ignoring the real independent actors in the field.

The example I am giving here is that of the Nile Basin Discourse (NBD) a group of mostly Wild Life organizations SELECTED to participate in the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI,, a mainly water resources management project!!

The Nile Basin Society, has been working on exposing the falacies of that approach at the 3rd World Water Forum resulting in closure of the NBD office after spending Can$ 1 Million doing nothing.

An e-consultation, turned sour when it was discovered that the DFID-appointed facilitator (an ODI consultant) was really not 'facilitating', but rather consulting privately with the same group of people/organizations of the old NBD. The result was a funding proposal to re-fund the same group that was submitted to the EU Water Facility. Again, the NBS succeeded in stopping that funding after initial approval.

The result was that the DFID directly funded the project!!!

We are now in possession of the CIDA's evaluation and audit reports of their funding of the NBD project ( as well as If the DFID or ODI are really interested in 'learning' and/or effectiveness of aid, they should really have strict criteria for NGO involvement particularly as regards the experience of the organization in the filed of the project proposed as well as transparency, accountability and independence from governments.

Best wishes,

Dr. Nabil El-Khodari
Nile Basin Society

"If the people will lead, the leaders will follow" Dr. David Suzuki
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