Field presence of Dutch NGOs: What is the impact on civil soieties in the South?
Executive summary: In the last years, PSO has noticed that a number of Northern NGOs (NNGOs) have established field presence in the South, guided by the conviction that proximity to the target groups and the partners in the South would make their organisations more efficient and effective. However, there are also some negative views on the move, which has even been referred to as a new form of neocolonialism. The strengthening of civil society is a priority for PSO and its member organisations and has motivated the present report. “Field presence” is defined as keeping field offices with a building and an administrative structure and/or permanent officers at the site of the projects (consultants and advisors in the field for a short time are thus excluded). A distinction is made between operational NGOs, doing mostly humanitarian work and post-conflict rehabilitation through field offices and officers, and those doing structural development work, usually through local partners. A total of 29 PSO members have taken part in this report. Unless expressly clarified, they reflect the views of their organisations rather than their own personal opinions. The organisations were selected by PSO: all member organisations with some kind of field presence were invited to participate, as well as some organisations without field presence. Two experts were interviewed: Chiku Malunga in Malawi and Alan Fowler in South Africa. ...