Thursday, 23 January 2014

Effectiveness of Hungarian CSOs in the Field of International Development Cooperation

Short summary of the findings of the research project commissioned by HAND.

As a first step for engaging in the international processes and discourses on the effectiveness of development cooperation - particularly of NGOs, the Hungarian NGO platform HAND initiated a research project on the topic. The aim of the project was to assess the current concepts and practices of Hungarian NGOs to ensure that they bring about the positive social change they ultimately strive for during their work. In the framework of the project a survey was carried out on Civil Society Organisations (CSO) effectiveness among 19 Hungarian NGOs and its findings were summarised and published in the form of a study in October 2013. The survey was based on interviews conducted with NGOs and government officials. Focus areas of the research were: identifying the opinions and concepts related to the NGO’s own effectiveness, their knowledge about international initiatives, mainly the Istanbul Principles of the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness, their notions and perception on factors of the so called enabling environment and how all these are reflected in their everyday work.

Survey findings show that in Hungary addressing the issues of CSO development effectiveness happens only sporadically and mainly at the level of the individual organisations and none of the Hungarian or international initiatives around effective CSO work are widely known, accepted or adopted. In this way only few Hungarian NGOs are well versed in or even familiar with the Istanbul Principles however all of them more or less consciously try to live up to certain internal organisational principles, which are very much in line with some of the Istanbul Principles. Experienced humanitarian NGOs embedded in their international network and NGOs having civil society development as their field of operation tend to be more knowledgeable and conscious and they are more likely to assess their own work or develop internal documents, procedures integrating such principles. Almost every organisation recognises the need of starting a common coordinated reflection on the aspects of effectiveness in their work and the need for capacity building.

As for the external factors of the so called enabling environment NGOs think that in the Hungarian context the negative rather than the positive aspects are more prevalent in the legal, financial environment, regarding the potentials for democratic policy dialogue and most importantly related to public support. The lack of knowledge and social support related to development on the side of the general public is perceived a root cause for all other flaws as well.

For more information you can read the here.

Information provided by RĂ©ka Balogh, HAND

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