Big donors and NGOs get help on making aid more effective


The global recession has forced governments and private foundations to drastically review and reduce their plans for public spending and grant giving.

At the same time, public trust in many organisations involved in humanitarian and development aid, public service delivery and policy advocacy is declining. Big donors are inevitably becoming more discerning in determining who they will fund.

In particular charities and other civil society organisations (CSOs) are coming under increasing pressure to demonstrate their accountability.

In recent years, the sector has been hit with various high profile scandals, including the sexual abuse of children and women by aid workers in war-torn and disaster areas and wasteful use of public donations such as in the case of UNICEF Germany.

However, knowledge among CSOs working at global and national levels of accountability tools designed to improve effectiveness and strengthen public trust is fragmented and underdeveloped.

A leading expert on issues of global governance and accountability, the One World Trust, has spent the last year compiling the first ever comprehensive inventory of CSO sector self-regulatory initiatives such as such as codes of conduct, certification schemes and rating agencies aimed at improving accountability.

The database provides detailed information on accountability initiatives worldwide, which include their scope, compliance mechanisms, and which CSOs participate in them.

It will enable potential donors to make more informed decisions about which organisations they might support and will help CSOs decide which initiative is most suited to their needs.

To date, 309 self-regulatory initiatives have been identified worldwide, most of which have only been developed since the 1990s.

Robert Lloyd, projects manager at One World Trust, said: “We are all significantly more careful about what we do with our money now than in previous years and this goes for charitable donations too.

"Individuals and businesses ought to have the peace of mind that the CSO to which they are donating – no matter where in the world they are located – is working towards achieving the quality and accountability they would expect.”

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