Dr. Daniel Sahleyesus Telake completed his Ph.D. at Bremen University in Germany. He has worked for local NGOs and the public sector in Ethiopia for over 14 years and continues to serve as a volunteer advisor to a local NGO. He has served as part-time instructor to universities in Ethiopia and Germany. Dr. Telake is a co-founder of ELDAN Education Center in Jimma, Ethiopia.
2005 0-7734-6088-8 This study examines the relations between Southern and Northern Non-Governmental Development Organizations based on patterns that the author observed in Ethiopia. Southern, or as alternatively called in this study, Local NGOs (LNGOs) and Northern NGOs (NNGOs), mainly use the term ‘partnership’ to describe their mutual relation and it has become a fashionable term among the larger development community. The evidence at hand suggests that ‘partnership’ has been perceived by most, if not all, as a superior type of relationship, but its practice is widely questioned by the local NGOs. The relationship is structured in such a way that the Northern NGO is the one financing the LNGO and transfers trust, which the trustee (the LNGO) is expected to be deserving of it. However, the relationship is not only about finance. Ideas, approaches and better forms of practice are also part of the relationship. Building mutual trust between the two groups would require genuine commitment on both sides.
This study demonstrates the existence of different types of relationships between Northern and local NGOs in Ethiopia. From the perspective of LNGOs, these relationships range from very poor (donor-recipient type) to that of fairly satisfactory (close to partnership) along a continuum. Generally speaking, solidarity-based relationships resemble most closely the model of genuine partnerships with church-based relationships coming in as a good second variety. Paternalism or domination was more frequently suffered by small NGOs working with fluctuating partners. This work will interest those working in the field of international development.