By their very nature non-profit organizations are persistently concerned with the need for continual fundraising to ensure the sustainability of the services they provide at little or no cost to their beneficiaries. While private donations play an important role, for the most part operating expenses are met through long-term grants from various public and private institutions. In order to diversify their sources of financial support, organizations also frequently compete for short and mid-term funding through writing and submitting proposals for projects designed to accomplish one or more specific goals. But while some form of outside support is vital for nearly all non-profit organizations, an implicit association comes with accepting outside funding which could call into question an organization’s independence.
Organizations in Sri Lanka need to be particularly careful in regards to funding with even the slightest appearance of foreign influence. In recent months a number of politicians and government ministers have been hurtling all manner of accusations at virtually anything with an international connection. The general refrain proclaims with shrill alarm that international non-governmental organizations want to re-colonize Sri Lanka and local organizations have all been bought through grants by sinister foreign influences. In fact NGO’s might be even more heavily regulated than for-profit business within Sri Lanka by being required to submit to the government detailed annual audits of all funding and expenditures, but apparently humanitarian aid and the civil sector remain among the foremost threats to national politics.
Even a conspicuously benign organization such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was condemned for supposedly supplying the LTTE with military support based on the “evidence” of keeping emergency food ratio at their field offices. Other eminent institutions face dire accusations of “undermining national sovereignty” for debating the appropriateness of international intervention as one possible resolution of the ongoing conflict. While any person with even a passing knowledge of world politics knows that governments often seek to exert “spheres of influence,” one still wonders about the political accusers’ own motives for vilifying any non-state actors in domestic affairs.
Posted By Adam Nord (Sri Lanka)
Posted Mar 2nd, 2008