How do ANGOs recreate themselves for the post COVID world?
Wednesday 8 July 2020 3:00 - 4:30pm via ZOOM
**Please note this session is strictly ACFID Full Members only and will be held under Chatham House Rules
International NGOs have long been challenged about their purpose, approach and role. These challenges have been magnified for several organisations in recent years because of decreasing funds received from the public. Across the sector this has led to agencies reducing staff and services.
The most recent challenges introduced by the COVID pandemic have widened the challenges for international NGOs, including those based in Australia. A recent survey conducted by ACFID among its members, points to concerns around decreased revenue and the impacts of COVID related restrictions on programs and partners.
Finally, in the humanitarian sector, the call for increased localisation of humanitarian responses is now aligned with the pandemic induced travel restrictions. Local CSO are renewing their calls for new approaches and different relationships with their rich country counterparts.
Several recent discussions have suggested that post COVID, Australian NGOs will need to find new ways of doing business. Australian NGOs are said to be at a critical juncture in their development, needing to move past self interest to find new forms in which to pursue their purpose. Discussions have touched upon mergers, downsizing, new types of partnership and other suggestions for change. The ACFID State of the Sector report in 2017 concluded,
The world that Australia’s aid NGOs work within is very different from that of the mid-1980s, but NGOs’ work is as important as ever. This is not likely to change over the next 30 years. Global disparities and need will continue. The context that Australian aid NGOs are working in is changing, however. For many NGOs this will mean a change in the way they work. Some NGOs will find their work shifts much more than others.
While the challenges have been widely discussed however, less attention has been given to processes Australian NGOs could utilise to evolve their organisations for the anticipated post COVID context. What are the steps towards change that will create resilient and sustained organisations, better equipped to pursue their vision and mission? What are the processes that will engage all stakeholders including board members and supporters? What are the business systems, staffing and other requirements for the new organisational forms?
Hosted by the ACFID Development Practice Committee and the ACFID Humanitarian Reference Group, this forum will provide a safe space for members to reflect on their organisational forms, business models and practice approaches that might be required in the post COVID-19 INGO world.
Facilitator: Linda Kelly
Bridi Rice: Director Policy and Advocacy, ACFID
Margaret Sheehan: CEO Childfund Australia
Fiona Tarpey: Head of Advocacy and International Programs, Australian Red Cross
Mat Tinkler: Director Policy and International Programs, Save the Children Australia
Michelle Higelin: CEO ActionAid Australia
Janet Cousens: CEO Act for Peace
Via ZOOM. Please register first below. Links will be sent on Wednesday 8 July 2020.
 ACFID survey results
64 Australian NGOs responded to the recent ACFID survey of its members. The survey was designed to examine how agencies are responding to the challenges of the COVID pandemic. Analysis of the questions focused on implications and impact for the organisations, indicates:
- ?31% of organisations identified impacts on their existing programs and/or their partners and people in communities.
- ?Alongside this 33% of the responses pointed to financial implications, either concerns with increased costs or problems with existing or anticipated reductions in revenue.
- ?17% of responses identified the need for more flexibility, both in the way programs were managed and in the anticipated requirements of institutional donors, particularly DFAT.
- ?13% of responses described how the crisis had led to new ways of working and interacting with partners.
- ?A smaller number of responses spoke about the impacts on staff, requirements to develop new communication approaches and the overall uncertainty in the sector at this time.
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