How Can NGOs Support Education and Livelihoods in Post-Conflict Areas?
NGOs’ commitment to education and human development requires them to invest in the post-conflict transition phase. They must prepare for post-conflict conditions by ensuring their operations are post-conflict-sensitive. To do this, many NGOs rely on two key strategies. Firstly, they recruit local community members to serve as teachers. Secondly, they conduct capacity-building programmes and build relationships with local partners.
The ICRC and IFRC recently hosted a side event on education during the 33rd International Conference of Red Cross and Red Crescent. This event was an opportunity to launch a new pledge for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to address education-related humanitarian needs. This initiative is a result of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s exploration of the issue of education in post-conflict settings over the past three years. In this time, there has been considerable momentum and commitment for the issue, but questions remain.
The IMG approves tendering procedures and the selection of enterprises, which should reduce the NGO’s responsibility. However, this approach limits its choice and forces it to accept the lowest bid. In one particular case, the NGO had serious doubts about the contractor’s integrity. Moreover, the contractor was not paying his workers and suppliers, and his management of the works was poor. As a result, the NGO had to keep monitoring and supervision of the works.
NGOs can play a specific role in Balkan reconciliation programmes. Their access to the different groups that are involved in the ethnic tension makes them an invaluable partner in these programmes. Furthermore, they have good capacity for public awareness campaigns and advocacy. In addition, they can approach the civil society and state to build inclusive societies.
NGOs’ holistic approach to development
The need for a holistic approach to development in post-conflicted areas is a key part of establishing lasting peace in these areas. This requires the integration of social and economic development. At the same time, it requires a change in social patterns that engender conflict. This can be achieved through the activities of NGOs. They play an important role in local communities by acting as mediators between people from different backgrounds. By building a bridge between these groups, they can encourage old enemies to work together and resolve local conflicts.
NGOs do not make a profit but seek to improve the situation of their beneficiaries. Their non-profit status makes them constructive partners for local governments and local communities. In addition, their flexibility and ability to adapt to changing conditions is a significant advantage. As a result, NGOs can achieve rapid results while securing a greater degree of autonomy for their beneficiaries. Moreover, NGOs often have leaner administrative structures, so a higher percentage of their budget goes to beneficiaries.
In post-conflict areas, NGOs are uniquely suited to play a crucial role in rebuilding the country. Their networks allow them to reach groups responsible for ethnic tension and foster links between government and civil society. Moreover, they have worked in these areas for a long time, so they understand the particular needs of the country and region. In addition, they have a multifaceted approach to the return process and the subsequent reconstruction process, which makes them ideal for inclusive economic development.
Building the capacity of local organizations is vital for emergency assistance, reconstruction, and post-conflict peacebuilding. However, capacity-building efforts are not always successful. Some critics see capacity building as part of a neoliberal conspiracy.
This situation has a few main causes. First, the number of NGOs has grown beyond their capacity to effectively manage their projects. For example, NGOs with only a year’s experience were given project portfolios worth millions of dollars. This supply-driven situation resulted from opportunism on the part of donors and NGOs.
Second, many of these organizations do not share a common vision. While there were some common goals among these organizations, few had any sense of shared purpose. There were exceptions such as those concerned with women and human rights. Moreover, the number of NGOs was not consistent, partly because the definitions of civil society are unclear. In Bosnia, there were several hundred associations, many of which had existed before the war.
Third, NGOi also provides support to NGOs in their capacity-building efforts. These organizations can access its digital knowledge resource center, convening platform, and self-assessment platform to improve their operations. These organizations can also take advantage of its various training opportunities, including webinars, courses, and certificates.
NGOs’ relationship with local partners
The relationship between NGOs and local partners in education and livelihoods in post conflict areas has undergone a paradigmatic shift in recent years. This shift is characterized by a focus on operational efficiency, policy influence, and donor demands as the foundation of NGO legitimacy and transformative outcomes. In this context, NGOs have been forced to reconsider their approach and priorities, and their relationships with local partners have become increasingly complicated.
NGOs are increasingly acting as intermediaries, building bridges between grassroots organizations and national institutions. In this way, they can apply their local knowledge to help build a stronger social transformation. They also play a key role in strengthening local partnerships and fostering local governance.
NGOs must change their approach to accountability. They need to move from unequal relationships to equal partnerships. This is especially important in post-conflict areas where local NGOs are limited in resources. These organizations often do not have the resources to retain their staff and are subject to a number of complex processes.