Magazine article International Trade Forum

Grass-Roots NGOs Develop Trade: Non-Governmental Organizations Can Bring Complementary Skills, Knowledge and Commitment to Trade Development Projects, Particularly Those Helping Poor Communities

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Grass-Roots NGOs Develop Trade: Non-Governmental Organizations Can Bring Complementary Skills, Knowledge and Commitment to Trade Development Projects, Particularly Those Helping Poor Communities

Article excerpt

Often, blocks to exporting are not directly related to trade matters. Poverty, HIV/AIDS, disabilities and cultural isolation are examples of issues that can stop people from running successful businesses. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) experienced in dealing with problems such as these can complement "traditional" trade development organizations to build export capacity.

In a few cases, they have led export development. For example, NGOs concerned about the effects of intensive farming promote trade in organic products.

Although NGOs may not be the first partners that spring to mind when designing trade development projects, our hunch is that their role is increasing, as in other areas of development. These roles are not well documented, so we thought we'd ask around--starting with our own staff.

Choosing Good Collaborators

by Fabrice Leclercq, ITC Senior Trade Promotion Officer

ITC'S Export-led Poverty Reduction Programme has worked successfully with NGOs since it was launched in July 2002. NGOs, with their close links to poor communities, are among our partners, though not necessarily our main ones. To give an idea of the types of partners we have, we work with the State Development Corporation in South Africa and a private company in Brazil. We created a foundation in Bolivia and work with a producers' cooperative in El Salvador.

Find a match

Selecting the right partner is critical to the success of our projects. We also think about how partners are able to work together as an interactive network, with regular workshops or other forms of exchanging information. We ask ourselves the same questions about a potential partner, whether it is a trade support institution or an NGO:

* Ownership: Do poor communities have a voice in the organization, in both planning and implementation?

* Leadership: Is the organization committed to helping poor communities, and will it cooperate and communicate with other stakeholders?

Financial sustainability: What is the organization's ability to generate sustained income? Are its accounting procedures accurate and transparent?

Capacity: What is the organization's capacity to implement, monitor and evaluate activities?

Services: What services (including advocacy) can the organization give to poor communities or its members or its customers?

These guidelines are in our training toolkit, which govern how our Export Poverty Reduction Projects work. The guidelines are also useful for authorities and donors seeking to introduce poverty reduction projects into their development programmes.

The toolkit has five volumes. It includes a major section on identifying, selecting and establishing links with programme partners, particularly NGOs.

In the work that we do--integrating poor communities into existing production and export chains--we are exploring partnerships with NGO members involved in fair trade, as they may be suitable partners to boost producer efforts and help market goods.

Contact: leclercq@intracen.org

Community-based Tourism in Colombia

by Matias Urrutigoity, ITC Trade Promotion Officer

For us, it was very important that the NGO we work with in our community tourism project was formed by local people to develop the local economy and that it has the support of Colombia's national trade promotion organization, Proexport. This has been our guarantee of local ownership and proper institutional backing for the development effort.

The project centres on San Andres and Providencia, small Colombian islands that are situated in the Caribbean off the Nicaraguan coast. The islands were once part of the British empire and the islanders are descendants of African slaves and speak English and Creole, in contrast to the rest of Colombia. Their way of life is more Caribbean than Latin American and is based on fishing. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.