Are NGOs working in modern and dynamic ways to solve poverty, feed the needy and protect people who have just suffered from natural and humanitarian disasters? 

It may look like it at first glance, a new .ngo/.ong domain has been created for non-profits. [Domains can be found here, if you’re interested.] However some would say that this demonstrates they haven’t changed at all: large NGOs have created a market out of the humanitarian disaster zones they work in, and a new domain is a marketing tool that can be used to validate their ‘product’.

An article in IRIN, a news website affiliated with the UN, says it is hard to imagine a world without large NGOs such as Oxfam or Save the Children, “but 20 years ago it would have been hard to imagine a world without Kodak film and cameras, or multi-volume editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.”

However the article says these large organisations are “cumbersome” and at times slow to respond. To counter this Sean Lowrie, the Director of the START Network, which brings together 19 major NGOs, has created a fund which will be used to contribute to a local or international organisation that is best placed in a disaster situation. Funds could be released less than 3 days after an NGO in an emergency situation requests it.

Funds have already been sent to a project in Myanmar and another in South Sudan.

The interesting article continues by explaining the potential of internet-based activism and crowd-sourcing as a way of giving. Read it here.

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