I was working with an NGO in Lagos, Nigeria, fundraising to build a school in Ilage-Bariga, an informal settlement located in the city. Many in the community had been heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS, including orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) who were visibly neglected and not attending school.
Although we came up with significant funds to build three houses, it was evident that operating costs were significant, and more funds were required to keep the school open. We tried valiantly to raise money but fell short of the mark. The school never opened officially.
After I left, I understood that the NGO was able to secure funds for their health initiatives (they served women as well as OVC impacted by HIV/AIDS). The ‘school’ was quickly converted into a small health clinic and women’s centre, serving equally important community needs around combating malaria, TB and monitoring people living with HIV/AIDS. Although the original intention was not met, it’s a reminder that NGOs sometimes have to be flexible and creative due to funding constraints while still trying to serve their communities effectively.
Fundraising and Communications Specialist
Currently based in Maputo, Mozambique
working with CUSO/VSO at Livro Aberto (Open Book), a library and literacy organization.
2 thoughts on “NGO’s have to be flexible and creative”
While I agree that organizations must be flexible to a point, always following the money can lead to mission bloat, and in some cases can cause an organization to completely lose its way. Sometimes it is necessary to change your mission entirely though if there is a greater need that must be met. I think the key is listening to the community, not the money.
Thanks for your comment. You are right in that following the money can become a dangerous game to play and its one of the frightening realities of organizations in the Global North and South. This, undoubtedly, is the flip side to flexibility.
We hope you are finding the other stories-from-the-field engaging reads as well and should you have your own story to share for the series – we would love to hear it. You can send your message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!
– The Recrear Team