All the organizations are on a slow track toward a higher degree of professionalization and accountability. But none of them has an explicit organizational methodology to get there. Elements of such a methodology include Merlin’s contract approach with its local counterparts, the IRC’s quantitative goal setting, and ASRAMES’s local capacity building. Participatory programming can also be an element of such an approach. Interestingly, this professionalization coincides with the integration of more development-oriented activities into their daily work.

All organizations guard their autonomy. Although they cooperate with other organizations in UN and NGO coordination meetings, they often prefer to work alone—or at least without interference of other organizations—in their health zones. Merlin does this explicitly. But the IRC has a tense relationship with FOMULAC and the same holds true for Malteser and Fondation Sud Kivu.

These four complementary strategies are key aspects of organizational survival. They help the organizations adapt to the difficult operational conditions of humanitarian crises. At the same time, they provide opportunities to obtain new donor funding.

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