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Voice Out Loud Issue 24: How Humanitarian NGOs Work with the Private Sector

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Resource type:Articles
Language:English
Keywords:NGOs, System-wide performance
Agency:NGO Voice, NGO Voice
Date published:November 2016
Pages:16pp

In May of this year, governments, NGOs and international agencies came together at the World Humanitarian Summit to discuss the future of humanitarian aid worldwide. Also present, and involved in the process leading up to the Summit particularly around funding, were representatives from the private sector. Humanitarian NGOs and different private sector actors have worked together for years, but increasingly donors, including the EU, identify that there may be further potential benefits of private sector partnerships in times of ever-increasing humanitarian need. Such partnerships, though largely considered necessary, do not come without a challenge, particularly when applied in conflict settings where NGOs focus first on maintaining the humanitarian principles and standards. When NGOs seek to engage they must always carefully weigh the benefits and limits of the relationship with private sector actors. Starting off this edition of the VOICE out loud, Handicap International and Welthungerhilfe write about the benefits and risks of working with the private sector, and explain what systems and criteria they use to choose companies to work with. Several members give examples of their successful collaborations with the private sector in the field and at home. HelpAge writes about the conditions for successfully working with cash in emergency situations with help from business partners. Mercy Corps UK showcases how partnerships can vary in different country settings, giving examples from Greece and Syria. Finally, Polish Humanitarian Action writes about working with companies to raise funds for programmes in the field. In the view on the EU, Civil Society Europe presents outcomes from civil society reports that show evidence of shrinking civil society space in Europe. The section continues with an interview with Isabelle Brachet from the Action Aid EU office on the experience of development NGOs working on the role of the private sector in EU development policy and practice. The 'field focus' is written by Plan UK about continuing displacement from the Burundi crisis, the importance of protection for young people in a forgotten crisis, and the work Plan is doing in neighbouring Tanzania to address this. The VOICE @ work section highlights the networks' latest activities and publications, including roundtables and high-level meetings.

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