Partners and beneficiaries: questioning donors

This article discusses the intermediaries between donor and beneficiary; the southern NGOs and other groups and institutions who are the recipients of grants and who carry responsibility for delivering the project to the intended population. The role of southern NGOs has changed, and so has the northern donor context; thus agencies like Oxfam have to reconcile pressures and priorities in which southern partners' interests figure less prominently than before. The article proves the value of partners, also to challenge donors to demonstrate that they are adding as much value as possible in the donor/intermediary/beneficiary relationship. It is suggested that the principal contribution of donors such as Oxfam should be in more imaginative use of their comparative advantages. Northern funding for NGO partners is much affected by the way in which Southern NGOs vary, according to their many different national contexts and histories. In the 1990s, northern development NGO donors are moving away from some of the assumptions of development practice in the last two decades. This has led to questioning of relationships with southern NGOs and to re-examination of the comparative advantages and distinctive contributions of different donors. This article also appears in the Development in Practice Reader Development and Patronage. Abstract supplied by kind permission of CABI.