Articles authored by James, Rick

Practical Notes

Mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS is not just about adapting NGO programmes, but involves adapting partnerships. Working in a context of high HIV/AIDS prevalence has a considerable organisational impact on implementing NGOs. As staff, or relatives of staff, fall sick there is more time off work, declining work performance, increased medical costs, and extra training and recruitment costs. Simply to maintain capacity, NGOs will have to invest in changes to their staff planning, training and awareness programmes, health policies, and financial management.

The evolution and achievements of the Eagles Relief and Development Programme in Malawi are inspired and influenced by Christian values. The strength of Eagles comes from its integration of religious teaching and values with the way it works and from its decision to work through the local congregations, despite the challenges that such integration entails. The Eagles Programme challenges the stereotype of Pentecostal churches as being preoccupied with providing charity and welfare rather than justice for the poor.


HIV threatens the survival of many civil-society organisations (CSOs) in Africa. While we know the range of potential costs to such groups, we lack a detailed picture of the extent of the impact. This article highlights important findings from exploratory research in Malawi. Respondents perceived that overall performance in the four CSOs studied declined by an average 20 per cent because they were working in a context of high HIV prevalence. Yet the CSOs’ workplace response to this threat was very limited, and they remain highly vulnerable to future impact.
Learning and knowledge management are crucial capacities for many NGOs. This article attempts to answer such questions as: why is learning seen as so important for NGOs? How do successful NGOs actually learn? And what role do key individuals or leaders play in this process? The article draws heavily on the findings of a study of South Asian NGOs, which suggests that an NGOs ability to learn is dependent on its organisational culture and in particular the development of an internal culture of learning.


Religious faith has always had an intense but uneasy relationship with development. Donors are currently seeking greater engagement with faith-based organisations (FBOs). This positive shift needs careful consideration. Faith can be a powerful – but flammable – fuel for change. FBOs are highly diverse and complex. Donors therefore need to handle them with understanding and care. This article outlines both the major concerns about faith in development and also the potential ‘value-added’ of FBOs.