Category: Op-Ed

Effective Altruism and Its Lessons for NGOs

by Jonathan Leighton

Achieving concrete impact is an essential aspect of ethics and the goal of any organization aiming to help others. And it makes intuitive and rational sense that, for any given amount of time, money and effort available, we should try to have as much impact as possible. Although our specific goals might differ, what we ultimately care about is improving wellbeing and, more fundamentally, reducing suffering.

The Development Industry Needs an Overhaul of Strategy, Not a Change of Language

by Dr. Jason Hickel
Anthropologist, Lecturer, LSE & Adviser, The Rules

This crisis of confidence has become so acute that the development community is scrambling to respond. The Gates Foundation recently spearheaded a process called the Narrative Project with some of the world’s biggest NGOs – Oxfam, Save the Children, One, etc. – in a last-ditch attempt to turn the tide of defection. They commissioned research to figure out what people thought about development, and their findings revealed a sea change in public attitudes. People are no longer moved by depictions of the poor as pitiable, voiceless “others” who need to be rescued by heroic white people – a racist narrative that has lost all its former currency; rather, they have come to see poverty as a matter of injustice.

More Than A Mirror World?

by Jean-Christophe Nothias

It was a flash of audacity the non-profit world somehow came to accept. Four years ago, I set out to rank NGOs. The idea came up in conversation with friends in New York. We were comparing people who have a hand in transforming the world, and when discussion led to big money-movers like Gates, I asked about CEOs and top executives of major NGOs. The question drew a blank. As a journalist, I felt like the sector deserved celebrities; non-profits foster tremendous changes in society, but the scant publicity around their work leaves most of us in the dark.

Typhoon Haiyan – One year after the destruction

by Michel Rooijackers

I have worked as a humanitarian in some of the world’s biggest disasters for the past ten years, across Africa and Asia. I am used to seeing human suffering. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in October 2013.

15 years of action to assist victims of anti-personnel mines

by Petra Schroeter
Executive Director, Handicap International Switzerland

15 years ago, on 1 March 1999, the Ottawa Treaty banning the production, use, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines entered into force. At the heart of the civil society stakeholders’ concerns who drove its creation: victims and their protection. Fifteen years later, 163 States have signed the Treaty and committed to respect its principles. However, the battle is far from over.