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Non-Governmental Organizations Protocol


NGOs: In our protocol, we refer to NGOs as non-governmental organizations dedicated to addressing the needs of those in hunger and poverty. They typically depend upon charitable donations and government funding, as well as volunteer work. NGOs tend to fall under two main categories according to Duke University Libraries:  

1. Operational NGOs: Non-governmental organizations that design and implement development-related projects       

2. Advocacy NGOs: Non-governmental organizations that promote or defend a specific issue. 

Food Aid: Immediate assistance to the hungry and undernourished through the provision of food by importing or buying locally. Food aid does not include providing cash for food.


Article 1: All non-governmental organizations are required to participate in a database which will be designed to measure the effectiveness of various aid programs and make NGOs accountable for their performance (see Impartial Evaluation Program).

This will require NGOs to fully and publicly disclose information about their activities and their finances, including but not limited to the donations that they receive, the percentage of those donations that translate to aid, towards which activities that aid is directed, and the proportion of aid physically received by the targeted group or cause.


Article 2: All NGOs in a particular region should direct their short term aid efforts towards the schemes determined by the impartial evaluation program as the most effective and efficient for that region.  Special attention should be paid to the possible negative effects of aid programs.


Article 3: All NGOs working in the same region are required to coordinate their efforts in order to effectively divide the responsibility for the aid needed. This communication will be facilitated by the database.

Aid during times of emergency is often stalled or impeded due to the failure of organizations to communicate with one another.  This can result in organizations indirectly hindering other organizations’ efforts or multiple organizations focusing on one particular problem while another issue of equal importance goes ignored (Banerjee, 2007). Progress, therefore, is often inefficient under the current system.


Article 4: If an NGO is giving a country conditional aid, the country must first be in compliance with the Nation Protocol and demonstrate commitment to the protocol.


Article 5: NGOs should focus a greater portion of their efforts on risk prevention methods and global warning systems, and should work to respond more quickly to emergency situations.

Both of these approaches will save a tremendous amount of money in the long term:

“In Niger, in 2005, it would have cost $1 a day to prevent malnutrition among children if the world had responded immediately. By July 2005, it was costing $80 to save a malnourished child’s life” (Meikle & Rubin, 2008).

In general, studies have shown that $1 spent on prevention could save $40 in disaster management (World Bank, 2006).


Article 6: The United Nations and the World Trade Organization are required to put together and continuously update the International Policy Database, which will provide guidelines on rewriting international policies on agriculture and trade that will benefit the greatest number of nations.


Article 7: NGOs should be aware of the following ways in which aid can exacerbate conflict according to Peacemaker's Trust and take the suggested measures to minimize harm done in these conflict areas:

  • Theft: Aid is often stolen by soldiers and can be used directly or indirectly for the war effort. Organizations should attempt to prevent theft through such means as delivering food unannounced, varying food drop locations, and lowering the resale value of donated goods when it can be done without damaging their usefulness (Anderson, 1999).
  • Market Effects: Aid affects prices, wages, and the strength of the conflict nation's economy.  This can either help to reinforce the war-economy, or help to establish a peaceful economy. NGOs should avoid providing incentives for a prolonged conflict by such means as buying goods locally to encourage a peacetime economy.
  • Social Effects: NGOs should avoid emphasizing differences between opposing parties during conflicts. They should respect regional leaders and support their efforts to better the community.  Opposing regional leaders can exacerbate conflicts and reduce the effectiveness of NGOs (Anderson, 1999). In addition, NGOs should avoid using weapons and force at all costs, as this sends the message that force is an acceptable way to settle disputes.
  • Distribution Effects: Aid can go to groups that may be indirectly involved in the conflict. NGOs should therefore vigilantly monitor and track the effects of their aid.
  • Substitution Effects: Food aid sometimes substitutes for local resources, freeing up the unused local resources to be used by soldiers in support of the war effort. Again, NGOs should make use of local resources whenever possible.
  • Many of these problems require unique and creative solutions. NGOs should share creative approaches to these problems with each other through the online database. 

Conclusion: Aid organizations that comply with the protocol (as determined by the Impartial Evaluation Program) will be placed on a list of “approved” organizations, which will be published annually for the convenience of donors. Compliant NGOs will also receive the satisfaction of knowing they are maximizing the effectiveness of their funds and helping other organizations to do the same.

Works cited: 

Anderson, Mary B. (1999). Do no harm: how aid can support peace - or war. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Banerjee, Abhijit. (2007). Making Aid Work. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Peacemakers Trust. (2007). "'Do not harm': negative impacts of aid on conflict." Retrieved October 29, 2010, from

Easterly, W. (2006). The White Man’s Burden. New York: Penguin Books.

“Impact of Food Aid and Developed Countries’ Agricultural Subsidies on Long-Term Sustainability of Food Security in Southern Africa.” (2007) Economic Commission for Africa. Retrieved November 29, 2010, from

The World Bank. (2006). Prevention Is Better Than Cure: New Approach to National Disasters. Retrieved November 23, 2010, from,,contentMDK:20999434~menuPK:4644658~pagePK:64829573~piPK:64829550~theSitePK:4434963,00.html

Ramcharan, R. (2002, November). How does Conditional Aid (not) Work?. In International Monetary Fund. Retrieved November 23, 2010, from