Greater partnerships need to be established between existing Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this observation today at the opening of the First National NGO Network Summit, at the Hilton Barbados.
Senator Byer Suckoo stated that the lack of visibility was a major factor facing NGOs, as well as the ability to share similar visions. She however conceded that “no partnerships are ever without challenges”.
“It is difficult to merge even two visions, though similar, into one, without feeling that one or both is concealing some core element. However, effective partnerships take time and effort to build. NGOs can see each other sometimes as rivals competing for the same limited pool of resources for support, for visibility and even public commendation… that is human nature but it really has no place in our modern 21st century environment,” she underscored.
Acknowledging that there was strength in unity, the Labour Minister told attendees that rather than compete, they should share information about available technical assistance, training and funding opportunities. She further suggested that rather than each NGO commit the same mistakes, they should share experiences and best practices to avoid certain pitfalls.
Meanwhile, President of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society and organiser of the event, Kemar Saffrey, told his audience that one of the main reasons for starting and organising the Summit was that he heard the “cry and the complaints” of many persons who wanted to or have started their own charity.
“They didn’t know where to go or what to do; they didn’t know who the funders were; they didn’t know how to put together a proposal, how to be accountable and how to have good governance…not to mention I learned from my own mistakes. Hence, my team and I thought it best to hold a National NGO Network,” he explained.