EDITORIAL. Hard times for the NGOs

Wishing you happy holidays with the latest Editorial by the President M. Crescenzi

It has been a tough first half of the year, both within our School and for the NGOs.

For what concerns the internal team of the School, we have been challenged by personal (health) problems of some of the collaborators, and also because, some of the new resources did not achieve the expected results.

This has put the ‘Historical Nucleus’, under a very strong pressure, in order to always maintain high quality in the relation with the students. However, this has somehow positively brought to some changes within our staff and to the emerging of new collaborators; it has moreover, reinforced the team spirit, it made us think on and improve some procedures. In order to share the decisions and coordinating in the best way – by valorising the contributions coming from those who in the school, work in different areas- we had decided to create a “Board of Directors” with all the sectors’ responsible: Rocio RequenaCinzia D’IntinoFederico AtzoriSilvia FontanaMarco Crescenzi and Fabian Krone (Strategic Adviser of the School).

The ‘worldwide’ widening of our impact, has moreover brought up, within the School, some healthy issues.

In terms of a ‘political-cultural’ approach: we aim to better promote and delineate the position of the school on issues such as: migration, poverty today and relation between development and emergency. 

In terms of ‘Leadership’ – The School, after 20 years (in September) is the only one in the world for numbers and impact achieved. At this point, we feel the duty not just of training the “best professionals” but also, the new Leaders of the civil society. This is translated into the formative programmes (Leadership Development) and into the pedagogic approach (always more a paradigm of “challenge” for the students). It will involve some big investment, also of budget and resources, for the students, and for me maybe – and I hope so- also a return of commitment in first person with the ‘guys’- like in the first 10 years.

In term of ‘address’ regarding the future role of the NGOs. The political attacks against the NGOs also “at home” like in Italy, led me to share the perspectives with managers of the main International Organisations- amongst which MSF, Save the Children, Action Aid, Oxfam, WWF. I think- and I said-that the NGOs should be more present at home, they should better guard the political (lobbying), cultural (for example by being in the schools to reinforce their awareness and reputation), media (major impact on public opinion) and legal (being ready to denounce those who slander and defame) areas.

The creation of a ‘crisis unit’ as a response to the political and media attacks. Not just fundraising and emergency in the short term-but more “doing society”.

In the medium and long term, this will have positive effects also on the fundraising: without defence and ability of response, reputation and fundraising collapse. Public researches (Italy) talk about serious losses of trust by the public towards the NGOs (3 interviewed out of  4) and confidential reports show risks in the loss of donations up to -40%. For this reasons, I have understood but not appreciated the shyness of some international organisations waiting for the dust cloud to end. Unfortunately, the NGOs bother, they bother Trump as well as May, and Grillo, it is not a dust cloud, but of mud, and mud does not fade away, it sticks. Be brave, colleagues, we are in war, let’s not hide our heads under the sand.

We are here for helping and reinforcing awareness and reputation of everyone, also at the price of being committed to a massive presence in the high schools and universities.

A special thanks to the colleagues of the School for their capacity and generosity, in primis to Rocio Requena.

A big hello to the students of the current editions, and to the (many) new entering.

Good luck with your studies, Enjoy your holidays!


Marco Crescenzi

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