Top 5 Challenges Non-profit Organizations Face with Communities in West Africa
Non-Profit Organizations often face some challenges with communities in West Africa. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the top 5 challenges Non-Profit organizations face with communities in West Africa.
1. Lack of Resources – The biggest issue with non-profit organizations in West Africa is the lack of resources. Vulnerable and marginalized communities in West Africa often need a surplus of resources to stay afloat due to the abject levels of poverty. The lack or scarcity of resources blocks non-governmental organizations from doing what they are meant to do- which is to help vulnerable communities. A lack of resources can be caused by scarcity of funds or emergencies that needed previously allocated funds.
NGOs often have several programs running at once as well as ongoing communication with previously successful programs. During situations like this NGOs especially smaller NGOs have to prioritize and focus on one issue at the expense of another. For example, feeding, clothing, and housing are emergencies that are addressed before anything else. A lack or scarcity of funds can lead to abandoned projects and the inability to foot the administrative cost of the non-governmental organization.
The solution to this problem is to ensure there are multiple partners, multiple grants and to always be on the lookout for funding opportunities available for only NGOs.
2. Lack of Strategy – More often than not, NGOs will have a strategic plan in place however, as the NGO takes off more needs arise as the multi-layered issues in vulnerable communities become exposed. For example in a farming community, the issue is no longer providing fertilizer but also protecting the land from thieves and poachers. Issues like that are inevitable and cannot be ignored therefore allowances should be put in place for issues that may crop up.
It is also vital that NGOs learn to pace themselves. There will always be an abundance of ideas but it important to focus on the strategy that has already been prepared. To combat this issue, NGOs can invest in coaching/training sessions that remind people of the original goal so they don’t stray too far away from the initial goal. Some ideas can be applied for further development but some may not apply to the NGO vision.
3. Cultural Insensitivity – Although this issue does not apply to all NGOs it is still a vital issue to address. For foreign NGOs attempting to assist vulnerable communities on a different continent, it is important that there is cultural respect. It can be quite easy to disregard the culture of marginalized communities and attempt to dissuade them from their culture however, it is disrespectful. If truly, an aspect of their culture is harmful, programs can be put in place to gradually educate them on the negative impacts.
4. Absence of Maintenance – One of the ways NGOs offer help to vulnerable communities is by providing infrastructures the community lacks. When building infrastructure it is important to keep maintenance in mind. If the community remains vulnerable without any development other than the new infrastructure, the community will be unable to maintain the infrastructure built in the community. The end goal of NGOs should be sustainability above charity. It is important that vulnerable communities are empowered to get out of vulnerability.
5. Reluctance to Network – At the end of the day, NGOs are just that, non-profit charities therefore networking should be encouraged between NGOs. If there’s an NGO doing similar programs, consider uniting forces and helping the community. Of course, it will be difficult to discern the NGOs with honorable intents however, uniting forces and resources will have a bigger impact on the community. Networking is important in all industries and this is the same for NGOs.
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