WS072 - The changing world of Northern NGO sectors
Convened by Lau Schulpen (Radboud University, the Netherlands) and Nicola Banks (University of Manchester, UK)

For long, Northern NGOs were considered the forefront of international solidarity. Over the years, critique grew as did the idea that INGOs are perhaps more part of the problem than of the solution. This critique then goes hand in hand with the idea that the world of Northern NGO sectors is consisting of comparable INGOs that are in crisis. Recent studies of (changes within) these sectors in the UK, the Netherlands, Canada and Norway, show that such a view is incorrect. That does not mean these national NGO sectors are one-on-one comparable.

In the workshop, academic speakers briefly present developments in their own national NGO sectors (the UK, the Netherlands and Canada respectively). This is followed by breakout sessions and a final plenary discussion where we compare these findings across different national NGO sectors and tease out where the findings converge and diverge. The workshop thus provides the basis for understanding developments of NGO sectors in selected countries (what are these developments over time and how do they compare?).

NB: Sessions 5-RT072 and 6-WS072 are consecutive sessions:

 The first session under the title ‘The changing world of Northern NGO sectors’ (5-RT072) presents the cases below, and uses break out rooms to tease out where the findings converge and diverge.

  • United Kingdom (Nicola Banks and Dan Brockington),
  • Canada (John-Michael Davis)
  • The Netherlands (Lau Schulpen).

The second (workshop) session of ‘The changing world of Northern NGO sectors’ (6-WS072) will build on the findings presented in the first session (5-RT072) .

With the collaboration of:

  • Leela Shanti (Small International Development Charities Network, UK)
  • Bart Romijn (Partos, the Netherlands)
  • Greg Madeley (Hands Across the Nation, Canada).

These speakers will situate these findings within the current climates facing their respective INGO sectors. We will discuss and debate with speakers and participants three key issues:

1.        The future of the small NGO

2.        In the context of #Shiftthepower debates happening around INGOs and local partner organisations, do we need to be having a similar discussion in donor countries which display such uneven sectors in incomes and expenditures?

3.        What role has and will the Covid-19 challenge play in INGO sectors currently and moving forwards?