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Qualitative Evaluation

Evaluation of International Organizations (Part #3)

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Methods In this section the value and weaknesses of NGOs will be listed as viewed by those convinced of their importance and also by others who are less enthusiastic.

Favourable View of NGO Value One view, given in a report to Unesco on the value of NGO work, is that the specific values of international nongovernmental action reside in:

  • representation of the link between the indi vidual and the international community
  • contribution to the rapprochement between peoples by grouping individuals of different nationalities with similar views
  • adoption of a positive approach in favour of progress as opposed to the defensive governmental attitude
  • efforts to break down the rigid apparatus of vested interest
  • ability to inspire vocation to serve inter national community. (Speeckaert, G.P., D4).

Favourable View of NGO Weaknesses A list of the general problems and weaknesses of NGOs is given below. This represents the remarks and suggestions made at a meeting of NGO executives in Paris in 1966:

  • need to improve relations between the international secretariat and the national members or national committees
  • weakness of the national secretariat compared to some of its national members, leads the latter to consider the international secretariat ineffective. This can lead to national secretariats establishing separate programs in parallel with the international program
  • difficulties of extending nembership to geographically distant developing countries. Such members need stimulation and financial support which it is not always possible to supply from limited budgets.
  • progressive encroachment on the NGO sector as a result of the various formulas of state control that are being adopted in many countries. This makes it difficult for NGOs to remain outside politics
  • increasingly difficult relationship with IGOs because of the lack of effort to project an NGO image to the national delegates of these organizations
  • lack of staff, equipment and finance because of inability to convince people in the right quarters of the value of NGO activity
  • lack of internationally recognized legal status for NGOs
  • lack of adequate working relations between NGOs in related fields

One view itemized NGO weaknesses as including: lack of strong leadership; lack of good communication between the organization's leaders and its membership; lack of a permanent secretariat; and the -need to extend geographic representation further to become more truly international in character. The commonest and most serious weakness is inadequate financing (United States National Commission for Unesco 1964).

Other Views of NGO Value Many political scientists are convinced that in the current state of international relations, NGOs can only hope to modify slightly the acts of intergovernmental organizations. They consider that NGOs can do little to achieve any real o, r useful cooperation (Meynaud, J., A18, p. 385-405).

Another view expressed in technical terminology is that "different types of private international associations perform, in various contexts, the articulation, aggregation, and supervisory functions and provide for both innovation and boundary maintenance. The role of crossnational management and labour groups in the European integrative process is also a reflection of this". (Miles, E., D5).

Other Views of NGO Weaknesses In one approach to the study of international organization, international NGOs are specifically excluded because it is claimed that "their role in international system function performance is minimal". (Haas, M., D6).

Another view is that "despite the successes which international non -governmental organizations have had, problems remain. There are too many, some of them the result, possibly, of the efforts of 'idle women in search of celebrity .... politicians on the downward slope.... ambitions individuals, and ... sincere, determined but unrealistic men'...Many have large resources, many more few, resulting in a competition for funds from a limited number of sources... Finally, the very freedom of international nongovernmental organizations in a world characterized by ideological struggle is the gravest problem facing them." (Blaisdell, D., D p. 388

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