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A brief presentation of the course
This entirely online, open and distance course is restricted to professionals with several years of experience in International Development Cooperation in NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) or Governments, in the South or in the North. The two basic goals are (a) to provide better knowledge of what are the identity, role, challenges and potential of Northern NGOs, basically European, and (b) to afford a hands-on experience with some Internet tools.
In 1999 Northern NGO channeled around 7 billion dollars of foreign aid, which is far more than the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) or many bilateral Agencies. How is the growing dependency of NGOs on official aid affecting them? What weaknesses are challenging them? What are the principal trends and discussion issues among them? What will they be like in ten years? Through the course you will also get familiar with and be learning to use some internet tools, such as search tools and discussion forum. The course is given by Olivier Berthoud, SDC staff, who has a wide experience in teaching in different contexts, and has been working these last 19 years for and with NGO in Development Cooperation, 14 years in the field mostly in Latin America and 5 years in SDC's headquarters in Bern.
To participate in the course you need to have access to a computer with an Internet connection and a browser, and connect 2 to 5 hours a week in several sessions, at times of your convenience. The course is 7 weeks long, and it will demand you between 6 and 8 hours a week of work. The course admission fee is US$ 200 and you have to add to that your local communication fees to access your Internet provider as well as the printing cost of some material you will wish to rather read offline. The course is organized by Edinter.net and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC, Berne) and the the Swiss Coalition of Development Organizations, although these institutions cannot be held responsible in anyway for the form and content of this course. A participation certificate will be delivered to students satisfactorily responding to the evaluation criteria.
2/ You have access to the Internet with a
browser (Netscape or Explorer 3 or higher, Mac or PC) and you are familiar
with the basic functions of a browser (find a site, page back, work with
several windows). That means that you are familiar with a Word Processor
and e-mail as well. During the course, we will not be able to help you
with problems related to these issues. Computer system requirements: IBM
or compatible (486/33 CPU minimum) with Windows or MAC or compatible with
6.05 operating system or higher, 8 megabytes RAM, 20 megabytes free hard
disc space, modem with a 9600 baud rate minimum.
Expected student outcomes
2/ A better knowledge of how to retrieve
useful information from the Web without loosing time and a practical and
critical idea and feeling of some basic communication and learning tools
available on Internet.
The background, the role and the strategies
of NGOs as actors in the Civil Society.
The growing dependency of NGOs on official
aid as an identity threat.
Accountability and performance assessment
as vital challenges.
Scaling up and mainstreaming as weaknesses
NGOs have been innovative in testing new solutions to old problems. What are the limitations to making these new solutions regional or national policies, and thereby expanding the impact of local experience?
Resources and tools for further information
Before session 1: You should take the introductory tour to the Web platform that will be used during the course.
Session 1: An introduction to the course and resources, preview of the subjects to be covered. Personal work will include a pre-test and a brief biography.
Session 2: Northern NGOs. What are we talking about? An introduction to the history of these institutions. Their principal goals and strategies. Different ways of classifying them. humanitarian assistance and development aid. Personal work will include writing a brief paper.
Session 3: Identity and role of Northern NGO and their relation to the State. Common characteristics and variety in a diversity of national contexts. Transnational and multinational NGOs. Specialized and emerging NGOs. Personal work will include a role play in a live online chat.
Session 4: A case study: the Swiss NGO scene. Major and minor actors. Classification methods. Particularities of the Swiss Institutional set-up. Financial relations with the Government. Fund raising policies. Accounts and accountability. The image of themselves and of their partners in their campaigns. Personal work will include a sketch of your final work.
Session 5: What is the impact of NGOs? Evaluation, self-evaluation and planning methods. Meta-evaluations of NGO impact. Personal work will include a Internet search on an issue of your choice.
Session 6: What future for NGOs? Some basic challenges: accountability, scaling up, mainstreaming, global issues and local action. Within or outside of the system. Emergency Aid as a threat. True partnership with or dominant role over Southern NGOs. Relations to corporate world. Personal work will include writing your final paper.
Session 7: Students' work discussion
and wrap up. Grades. Course evaluation.
23 November 2000
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