Every day, around the world, passionate social change leaders are rising to the challenge – being the agents of change they want to see in their communities – educating girls, unshackling women from exploitation and sexual discrimination, unleashing the power of technology to give even the most vulnerable access to financial support, and so much more. These agents of change are the critical last mile in implementing the big, world-changing Sustainable Development Goals in the developing world.
They are also at the end of the trail of donor dollars. As implementers for other international NGOs or multilateral agencies, funding is programme-related with little left for core overheads such as communications. Even the most respected NGOs in low and middle-income countries lack easy access to the kinds of non-programme related supports that can significantly accelerate their impact.
In a noisy market, having expertise and capacity in the fundamentals of communications, advocacy, marketing and fundraising are essential to gaining traction. A strong voice with a clear narrative builds the reputation and visibility that unlocks new, long term donor support and allows the creation of coalitions of like-minded organizations to realize complex system change.
Since the world came together in 2015 on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the buzz is about ‘localizing aid’ and ‘shifting the power to local and national NGOs’. Frankly speaking, this can only be achieved if we begin funding the technical, non-programmatic skills of local NGOs.
Alongside investing in, for example, reducing maternal mortality, infant malnutrition and improving outputs of smallholder farmers, we must invest in the core management capacity of local NGO agents of social change. These are the people and organizations positioned to drive the changes that will deliver significant and enduring improvements in their communities.
Lets build a movement to truly #shiftthepower and #localizeaid by investing in the core competencies of local partners delivering every day on making their world a better place for all the women, men and children who live there.