“How to help the public trust NGOs again”

“The Conversation” recently posted the following article:

“Allegations of misconduct and unethical behaviour by Oxfam staff during its response to a humanitarian crisis in Haiti in 2011 and other behaviour by some working in the humanitarian aid sector has raised serious concerns about public trust and accountability in charities and triggered a statutory inquiry into Oxfam.

According to many commentators, the Oxfam scandal will have a lasting impact on public perceptions of the organisation’s trustworthiness. Some segments of the media have portrayed the humanitarian NGO sector as something of a “Wild West”, where predators can abuse freely with no check on their activities.

The gravity of the scandal means that something must be done to repair the lost trust. The most popular type of solution – one advocated in such times – involves some type of increased oversight and tighter regulation of NGOs. But we must be careful in jumping to conclusions. Not only are there already a large number of oversight and regulatory mechanisms already in existence, but the addition of more will shift resources away from the work that the government and the public value NGOs for to meet new bureaucratic requirements.

This might be unnecessary if, as we suggest, NGOs could alternatively regain trust by working to re-establish the social message that the public and government identify with NGOs in the first place.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.




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