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NGOs Live by the Code, Ideally

By Xeno Acharya, Global Washington intern

The use of a code of conduct as an ethical guide is not new. Previously popular with the military, the code has recently become fashionable among NGOs. Over the past decade, a lot of NGOs have formed and tried to adhere to various codes of conducts. They come in different flavors, these codes. They are either country specific (click here to see an example of code of conduct for NGOs working in Ethiopia) or project specific (click here to see an example of code of conduct for NGOs working in HIV/AIDS), or they are country level codes that empower recipient countries and prevent donor communities from monopolizing aid activities, such as the Paris Declaration (2005).

Recently, a few big players in the global health arena have partnered to produce yet another NGO code of conduct for health systems strengthening. These partners, including Health Alliance International, Partners In Health, Health GAP, and Action Aid International, have managed to add more than forty-five different NGOs as signatories for the code. The NGO code of conduct for health systems strengthening came about as a response to the recent growth in the number of international non-governmental organizations initiated by increased aid flow. Due to crowding of NGOs with similar niches, recipient country governments have a hard time managing all the programs, making effective project implementation virtually impossible, thus counteracting the purpose of aid in the first place.

The NGOs code of conduct for health systems strengthening has the following six articles:

I. NGOs will engage in hiring practices that ensure long-term health system sustainability.
II. NGOs will enact employee compensation practices that strengthen the public sector.
III. NGOs pledge to create and maintain human resources training and support systems that are Read More

Former Gates Foundation Leader to be Nominated for USAID Administrator

by Global Washington Policy Coordinator Danielle Ellingston
Rajiv ShahRajiv Shah, formerly the director of agricultural development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be named to head USAID just in the nick of time.  He has already been confirmed by the Senate for a position in the Department of Agriculture, so it is possible that he will sail through confirmation for USAID administrator and we will have someone in place in early 2010.

Shah’s bio is impressive: he has an MD, a degree in economics, and a lot of international development experience.  He also has ties to the Seattle community, having served on many boards of local organizations including the Seattle Public Library and Agros International.

Much has been said about Shah’s youth- he is only 36 years old, which could be an asset but it may also work against him.  According to a hill staffer quoted by the Politico Blog, “He will be a good antidote to some of the stagnancy currently plaguing the agency and will hopefully have a mandate to fundamentally change the way business is done over there. … Also hear from the Agriculture Committee staff that he’s done a great job thus far and is very well-respected.”

It sounds like Shah may be the agent of change that is needed over at USAID, since talk about foreign aid reform is heating up.  2010 is going to be an important year for foreign aid reform. Read More

Blueprint for Action: Convene, Strengthen, Advocate in a Digital Democracy

blueprint_screenshotGlobal Washington just launched our crowdsourcing site, Blueprint for Action, a collaborative social media project dedicated to building a ‘digital democracy’. We encourage everyone willing to share an innovative idea for tackling global development challenges to participate in setting priorities for the sector. Blueprint for Action is an inclusive forum for you to connect with other progressive thinkers dedicated to eradicating poverty, improving global health, promoting human rights and empowering women around the world. By fostering a community of creative participation and open dialogue, we all strengthen our power and resolve against social and economic injustice.

To strengthen our unified voice, contribute your priority for global development in our Feedback Forum at:

To read about crowdsourcing as an emerging communication tool in philanthropy, take a peek at Kristi Heim’s profile in the Seattle Times. Read More