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Non-government organisations (NGOs)

Working with Non-government organisations (NGOs): Effective Development Partners Statement

DFAT works with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) every day. We share knowledge and information when developing policy, we collaborate on program design and implementation, we partner on program delivery, and we share lessons when evaluating our programs. Local, international and Australian NGOs help us to achieve the goals of Australia’s development program and Partnerships for Recovery, the Australian Government’s development response to COVID-19.

NGOs are integral to our development efforts. They reflect Australian values and are one of our nation’s core strengths — building on the deep and enduring ties between the Australian community and communities and institutions across our region. We will support them to maintain and strengthen these linkages throughout the course of the response to, and recovery from, COVID-19.

NGO connections bring trusted relationships, local networks and knowledge, and established infrastructure and capabilities. They can provide a valuable base for DFAT to mobilise a quick response to emerging issues. They can also make Australian support highly visible.

NGOs often have a comprehensive understanding of local contexts and deep development expertise, with sophisticated models that guide their understanding of, and approach to development. They focus on building local capacity and empowering communities to manage their lives and livelihoods. Their strong local partnerships and approach to strengthen local systems supports locally-led development and humanitarian responses, and ensures sustainability. NGOs also often work in areas that others don’t or can’t reach, such as in remote, fragile and conflict affected areas.

Australian NGOs can bring additional benefits to DFAT’s development activities. They mobilise public support and voluntary contributions for development.

NGOs are a key part of civil society, and DFAT supports strengthening civil society to achieve effective governance. As civil society actors, NGOs can be powerful agents for change, and the emergence of an informed and engaged civil society is an important development outcome in its own right. It enables communities to play an active role in the development process – from helping shape policy and partnerships to ensuring that programs are inclusive, relevant and effective for the community.

Complex development challenges require partnerships between government, the private sector, civil society and others. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasises that the knowledge, expertise and finance of all must be harnessed to achieve our goals.

DFAT works with effective NGO partners which are aligned with our priorities, sharing ideas, expertise and finance to maximise the impact of our development activities. We work with NGOs which have demonstrated their ability to deliver results against our objectives, which offer value for money, and which have strong local partnerships that support collaboration, capacity building and sustainability. We use a diversity of funding mechanisms, considering the context, the purpose of the program and NGO partner capacity.

More information on how DFAT works with NGOs:

More information on DFAT’s development policy and priorities:

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