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Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 0

Examining NGO accountability in Suriname

Research Plan
Student: Tania Muskiet
Student number: FHRISS0308018 FHR Institute for Social Studies
May 2010

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Table of Contents
Acknowledgement
Abstract
Chapter One: Introduction pg
1.1. Background————- ———————————————————— ———– 5
1.2. Research objectives—— ———————————————————— ——— 6
1.3. Research questions———- ———————————————————— —– 6
1.4. Analytical framework———- ———————————– ————————— 6
1.5. Relevance and justificati on—————————————————– ————- 7
1.6. Information sources——— —————————————————– ———— 7
1.7. Methodology———– ———————————————————— ———– 8
1.8. Scope and limitation of the study———– ———————————– ———— 9

Chapter Two: Theoretical framework
2.1 NGOs and their governance role————- ———————————————- 10
2.1.1 Governance definition—— —————————————————– ———— 10
2.1.2 Relation with donors and government———- ——————————— ———- 12
2.1.3 Relation with beneficiaries————— ————————————————— 13
2.1.4 Interorganizationa l relations————————————— ————————- 13
2.2 NGOs and accountability——– ———————————————————— 14
2.2.1 Definition of accountability —————————————————————– 14
2.2.2 Opponents’ views of accountability———- ———————————————- 16
2.2.3 Proponents’ views of accountability———- ——————————————— 17
2.3 Conclusions————- ———————————————————— ———– 19
Chapter Three: NGO Status and -Governance
3.1 NGO definition and characteristics———– ——————————————— 20
3.2 Four NGOs————– ———————————————————— ———- 21
3.3 NGOs and their legal status —————————————————————– 23
3.4 NGO governance———– —————————————————– ————- 23
3.4.1 Basic principles of NGO governance——————————————- ———– 23
3.4.2 Relations with donors and government——- ——————————————– 24
3.4.3 Relations with beneficiarie s—————————————————– ———— 25
3.4.4 Interorganizational relations———————— —————————————- 26
3.5 Conclusions————- ———————————————————— ———– 26

Chapter Four: Presentation of Findings and Analysis; NGO Accountability
4.1 Traditional approaches—- —————————————————– ————- 27
4.1.1 Donor regimes—————— —————————————————- ———- 27
4.1.2 Certification——– —————————————————————– ———- 28
4.1.3 Legal Accountability——— ———————————– —————————– 28
4.2 Modern approaches——— —————————————————– ————- 29
4.2.1 Downward and internal accountability—– ———————————- ————- 29
4.2.2 Upward and external accountability——– ———————————– ———— 30

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4.2.3 Functional and strate gic accountability—————————————– ———– 30
4.3 Conclusions————- ———————————————————— ———– 32

Chapter Five: Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 What is required by donors? —————————————————————- 33
5.2 What is required by Government? —— ————————————————— 33
5.3 What do NGOs require? — —————————————————– ———— 34
5.4 Why is NGO accountability so modest in Suriname ———————————– 34
5.5 Why is modern accountability not applicab le in Suriname? ————————— 35
5.6 Recommendations—– ————————————————————- ———- 36

Appendixes

Appendix 1: Bibliography
Appendix 2: List of informants
Appendix 3: Case description of the four NGOs
Appendix 4: Questionnaire

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This study is the produc t of a MPA thesis.
In this thesis a number of Surinamese NGOs were researched. The research done could be named
intrusive, for it require d a thorough scrutiny of the particip ating NGOs on the subject of NGO
accountability. NGO accountability is a sensitive subject and in the process of identifying and
inviting potential NGOs for participa tion it became clear that opening up and allowing others to
investigate on the matter was not easy. This is the reason why some were not available and have
cut off early. Nevertheless, I did have the coope ration of some important NGOs in Suriname to
which I am grateful.

I would like to express my sin cere gratitude to the NGOs who enabled me to lift up the curtain
and take a look behind the scenes . Without their cooperation this study would not be possible. I
must therefore acknowledge Mrs. Christine Na arden, Mrs. Mariska Muskiet, Mrs. Justine
Eduards, Mrs. Fidelia Graand-Gal on, and Mrs. Sheila Ketwaru.

As for the donors who are not less important in obtaining knowledge regarding the subject of
NGO accountability, I am grateful to the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations
Development Program, the Dutch Embassy and Cordaid.

Sincere thanks to the staff of the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation for their
insights.

I also express my thanks to Mr. Kees Biekar t for his supervision and for putting me back on
track every time.

I am grateful to everyone else from the NGO field who was willing to discuss the matter and
reveal their experiences and opinions.

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ABSTRACT

This research was done to determine the nature of NGO accountability in Suriname.
For that purpose a case study was done of four NGOs, namely: Moiwana Human Rights
Organization, Bureau Forum NGOs, the Pater Ahlb rinck Stichting and Marronvrouwen Netwerk.
On the basis of the experiences of thes e NGOs the concept of NGO accountability was
examined. The research had set out to also discus s the matter with other relevant persons in the
NGO sector, as well as donors and government officials.
There are traditional and modern approaches to NGO accountability.
The study shows that in Suriname in general the traditional approaches are used by NGOs to give
accountability of their activities. These are based on donor regimes, legal requirements and
certification.
The modern approaches to accountability are curre ntly not the focus of Surinamese NGOs. The
modern approaches focus on stakeholder relations , relations in the environment of the NGO, and
the impact of the NGO on others in its environment, short term and long term.
These accountability methods are not used by Surinamese NGOs and are in general still a
challenge for the sector as a whole.

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Chapter One

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

In Suriname NGOs are important development partners. They have a prominent role in the
implementation of many poverty reduction and su stainable development projects. They are
important development partners, responsible fo r planning and implementing strategic action.
The state alone is no longer responsible for good governance. Good governance became
important after the 1980s when the debt crisis of developing countries called for adequate
interference (J. Williamson, 1990:1). According to Williamson the debtors had to ‘put their
houses in order’. To do so there were conditi ons which became known as the good governance
agenda. Besides efficiency and effectivene ss the agenda encompassed transparency and
accountability. The good governance agenda was a dopted by the Washington Consensus and the
World Bank. During the 1990s the accountability c oncept was applied to all who ‘partake in
governance’, including NGOs.
The fact that NGOs are responsible for significan t amounts of resources, justifies the need for
accountability and transparency within and from these organizations. They are responsible and
accountable for their actions. This accountabil ity concept does not only relate to their
relationship with the donor, but also concerns the beneficiaries and other stakeholders. It can thus
be said that in a society wher e NGOs are active there must be an ethical willingness on the side
of the NGO to give account of its activities, for this is part of good governance. It can also be
said that the role of NGOs has increased, judging from an increased amount of funds granted to
NGOs. This development has given voice to a call for accountability and transparency on the
part of NGOs.
The need for more accountability does not only regard the donors, but also considers other
stakeholders such as the government and the bene ficiaries. Furthermore, the extent to which
accountability is given to the stakeholders is also part of the accountability debate.
The main concepts in this study are:
• Governance
• NGO accountability
These concepts are defined in chapter two.

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1.2. Research objectives
When talking about accountability, in general th ere is a focus on the relation with the donor.
With this individual study projec t I want to show that currently NGO accountability is limited to
the donor and lacking or not sufficient with regard to other stakeholde rs. It is therefore
recommended that measures be taken which will enhance NGO accountability.
As much as attention is given to the relation with the donor concerning accountab ility, attention
should also be given to the rela tion with other stakeholders, such as the beneficiaries of NGO
services and the government.
This study sought to explore and analyse the nature of NGO accountability in a number of
identified Surinamese NGOs to determine the scope of this concept with regard to these NGOs.
The general objective of this study was therefore to analyse whether NGOs in Suriname are
accountable and how accountability of their activities is given.
For this purpose the foll owing objectives are set:
• To find out how NGOs are directed and controlled;
• To find out what the existing methods of accountability are;
• To assess how these methods work in relati on to existing donor and government policies
and NGO policy.

1.3 Research question
Taking departure from the above pictured approa ch that NGOs are responsible and accountable,
the following question is central to this research:
Why is NGO accountability so modest in Suri name and why is modern accountability not
applicable?
In order to address this particular prob lem the following sub questions are asked:
What is required by donors?
What is legally requi red by the government?
What do NGOs require?

1.4 Analytical Framework
The current debates on NGO accountability enco mpass the views of proponents as well as
opponents.

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To the opponents of NGO accountability NGOs are of the view that governments as well as other
actors are using the accountability debate to stop or restrict NGO activities. The reason according
to them is that NGOs are considered to be c ontesting the status quo and therefore determine a
need to control and limit th e NGOs in their rights to:
‘Voice on policy decisions, to participate in political discourse, to mobilize and serve a
public, to organize and monitor and comment on the governance process’ (Jordan and
Van Tuijl, 2006:6).

According to the opponents of more NGO accountabilit y, a number of strategies are used to limit
NGOs in their rights. One of these strategies encompasses the challenging of the legality of
NGOs. The government may try to limit NGOs through regulation.

In the literature proponents of NGO accountability argue that NGOs are accountable due to their
governance role. Furthermore, every actor in development should be accountable. There are
different forms of accountability based on tr aditional and modern approaches to NGO
accountability.

1.5 Relevance and Justification
The study is designed to get an overview of the nature of accountability in Surinamese NGOs
and to contribute to the a dvancement of NGO operation.
With this study I want to present relevant information regarding the nature of NGO
accountability in Suriname. Surina me is receiving development aid and NGOs play an important
role in identifying, implementing and evaluating development projects. It is therefore relevant to
determine how NGOs deal with accountability in the relationship with their stakeholders.
Furthermore it is important to also find out if NGOs encounter barriers or difficulties in this area
and how these are dealt with.
This research fits in the litera ture in such a way that it examines the identified NGOs’ positions
with regard to accountability. The study explores the different views regarding these concepts
and how the identified NGOs can be positioned within these views.

1.6 Information sources
Important sources are literature, websites and key resource persons.

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a. The literature used for this study enco mpasses the concept of NGO accountability.
b. The main websites are: www.ngotransparency
and www.wango.org
c. NGO persons from the 4 (four) identified NGOs are: Board members, directors, staff, and
stakeholders such as: donors, government of ficials and people within the community.
d. Other NGOs.

1.7 Methodology
This is a qualitative study in which research consisted of field work and fact finding on the
selected NGOs. For the purpose of establishing what the current nature of NGO accountability is
in Suriname and how accountability is dealt with, a case study was undertaken of four influential
and prominent NGOs. These NGOs work at local and/or national level. They are Moiwana
(Human Rights), Marronvrouwen Netwerk (Maroon women), the Pater Ahlbrinck Stichting
(interior) and Bureau Forum NGOs (interior).
These NGOs were chosen first, because of th e impact they have on the communities and groups
they work with as well as government. Second, a ll four NGOs are partnering or working together
with one or more Ministries in one or more areas and they also network or cooperate with other
NGOs. Third, they can be considered as big NGOs either judging from the amount of funding
they receive or because of the reach of their in fluence. Fourth, it was interesting to investigate
their accountability relationships, considering the number of years they have been active in
Suriname.

Through interviews with community members, directors of NGOs, NGO staff, government
officials, board members, officials of donor organizations and researchers information was
gathered. About 40 interviews were conducted on the basis of a list of questions. A difference
was made between the four NGOs and other re levant interviewees from other NGOs. With
regard to the ‘case study NGOs’, the questions asked covered NGO relations with stakeholders
and other NGOs, NGO management and Bo ard, NGO activities and NGO funds, current
accountability methods and their condition us ed by the NGOs to give account to their
stakeholders.
Interviews with other inform ants regarded their insights considering NGO accountability in
Suriname; the way they perceived the concept an d how in their opinion it should be exercised.

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Interviews with the four case study NGOs sometimes were difficult, because of the sensitivity of
the subject. Interviews with donor organizations were the most difficult. They were reserved and
not willing to discuss ‘their partners ’ in depth. Answers were kept overall.
Interviews with smaller NGOs and community members which in some cases were also
members of Community Based Organizat ions were comfortable and easy.
Indirect sources of information included NGO documents, donor documents and websites.

1.8 Scope and limitation of the study
International NGOs (INGOs) are outsid e of the scope of this research study. This study is limited
to Surinamese NGOs. Furthermore this research does not take into consideration the debate on
what an NGO is or is not. The study is limited in that in general NGOs give limited insight into
their activities.
The NGOs in this study are NGOs that identify and implement development projects for the
enhancement of local, underdeveloped commun ities or groups. They are registered NGOs,
focused on advancement of Human Rights situation, the interior and women and related issues in
Suriname. They work at a local and/or national leve l and they are able to do so through the use of
donor resources.
The donors making sources available for these purpos es and which were part of this study are the
UNDP, the Dutch Embassy, IDB and Cordaid. Th ree out of the four NGOs have working
experiences with at leas t two of the three donors. This presented a stronger basis for analysis of
experiences and on the other hand enabled the identification of possible barriers for all parties
within the diverse areas.
Due to the sensitivity of the research, the researcher had limited access to internal NGO
information.

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Chapter Two
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
NGOs have an important role in bringing aid to the communities in Suriname. In the last decade
this role has increased, judging from an increased amount of funds granted to NGOs. This
development has given voice to a call for accountab ility and transparency on the part of NGOs.
As with any concept there are significant propon ents and opponents to NGO accountability. The
purpose of this chapter is to present the most current debates in the literature on NGO
accountability.

2.1 NGOs and their governance role
The analytical framework for this research encompasses proponents’ and opponents’ views
regarding NGO accountability and governance.
The mainstream in the views concerning NGO acc ountability represent the view of proponents.
This view is based on the concept of good govern ance of which accountability is an important
aspect.

2.1.1 Governance definition
NGOs do not only have partnerships with government, donors and communities, but their
Interorganizational re lations have become very important wi th regard to their governance role. In
this perspective the definition of Kjaer on govern ance is clear. It refers to governance as:
“Self-organizing, interorganiz ational networks characterized by interdependence,
resource exchange, rules of the game and si gnificant autonomy from the state” (A. Kjaer
2004:3).

This implies that NGOs have a willingness to orga nize themselves in networks; that they depend
on each other; have an exchange of information; play according to the rules of the game and are
significantly autonomous from the state. Th is also implies, given the principle of
interdependence and network that there is a relationship in which partners are accountable and
open to one another.
Accountability according to the World Develo pment Report 2004 is “a set of relationships
among service delivery actors with five feat ures, namely delegating, financing, performing,

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having information about performance and enforcing. Delegating refers to the explicit or implicit
understanding that a service will be supplied. Financing regards the provision of the resources
enabling the service or paying for it. Performing relates to supplying the actual service. Having
information about performance is about obtaining relevant information and evaluating
performance against expectations and formal or informal norms. Enforcing is about being able to
impose sanctions for inappropriate performance or provision of rewards when performance is
appropriate” (World Bank, World Development Report 2004, Chapter 3: 48).

Governance:
“Governance refers to self-organizing, inte rorganizational networks characterized by
interdependence, resource exchange, rules of the game and significant autonomy from the state”
(A. Kjaer 2004:3).
From the perspective of the World Bank (1991: p i) governance is defined as ‘the manner in
which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for
development’.
However, according to the International Counc il on Human Rights Policy the concept of NGO
accountability is problematic for some NGOs, because of two reasons. First, there is no
equivalent for the term ‘accountability’ in some languages. Accountability most of the time is
used in the sense of ‘explaining one’s actions’ or simply as ‘responsibility’.
What is responsibility?
Responsibility is defined as:
• having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone;
• being morally accountable for one’s behavior;
• being capable of being trusted;
• Having to report and be answerable.
(Source: Compact Oxford English Dictionary (on line version) www.askoxford.com.)
The second reason according to the Council why th e accountability concept is difficult to deal
with is that it regards a one-on- one contractual or representational relationship with a person or
body. The form of ‘I hire you, so you are accountabl e to me’, ‘I elect you, so you are accountable
to me’ does not apply to NGOs for they are not elected like governments are and they are not
businesses which are accountable to their shareholders. This does not imply that NGOs do not

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have (legal, moral and ethical) respon sibilities, but they are accountable differently than
government and companies. This according to th e Council is especially the case with Human
Rights NGOs: “It is more complicated to pinpoint activities of Human Ri ghts Oorganizations that
advocate or campaign than it is to identify the responsibilities of organizations that
provide services. Second, the discussion is difficult because human rights
organizations are exposed to repression and run specific risks because of their work,
to a greater extent that most other NGOs” (International Council on Human Rights
Policy, Human Rights Organizations: Rights and Responsibilities, 2009: paragraph
82-84).

Tandon makes an important distinction between NGO management and governance. According
to him management has to do with: the daily implementation of programmes. Governance
however is concerned with ‘the effective functioning and performance in society, which is a
legal and a moral obligation’. These are based on the vision, mission and values of the NGO (in
Edwards & Hulme, 1995:42).

2.1.2 Relation with donors and government
NGOs as development institutions are favoured by donors to attain donor goals, namely bringing
sustainable development within the reach of the poor communities. This is so because they are
flexible and not (too) complex; they have a legal status and operate autonomously from
government. On the other hand NGOs are also important partners for government, because of
these same characteristics.
Potter (et al, 2003: 311) imply that NGOs have the ability to innovate and adapt, they have a
tradition of working with poor people, women as well as men from the grassroots and with
commitment. Furthermore, these organizations ca n ensure that the views of the local poor
communities are taken into account; they promot e community participation, reaching the poorest
and introducing innovative appr oaches to development.
These partnerships with donors and government place NGOs partly in charge of development
planning and implementation of strategic action, which not only implies their governance role,
but also purports this role. Partly, because government is st ill responsible for the overall
development (picture) in all communities. The fact that NGOs are active in certain communities

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does not relieve government of its duties and NGOs as they have indicated, consider government
planning in their work as a guiding principle.

2.1.3 Relation with beneficiaries
In the current relationship between NGOs, the positi on of or the relation with beneficiaries is
becoming more important. Turner and Hulme (1997) look at the partic ipation process very
pragmatically. According to them participation is a technique with practical difficulties. They
also indicate that it is a common belief that participation increases the success of projects,
however there is only a small cadre of people with appropriate skills and they are already
overextended (Turner and Hulme, 1997:72-76).

Proponents of stakeholder particip ation like Bryson (2004:27) argue that this is undertaken for a
reason, namely that people be involved if they have information which cannot be gained
otherwise or if their participation is necessary for the successful implementation of activities.
Bryson also argues that th ere can be too much or too little participation.

2.1.4 Interorganizational relations
As mentioned before NGOs do not only have partnerships with government, donors and
beneficiaries. Their interorganizational relations have become just as important. Keeping in mind
the definition by Kjaer (2004:3), NGOs establish relations with other NGOs for the purpose of
self organization and interdependence. Donors and government are more and more stressing the
importance of interorganizational NGO networ ks (PLOS interview). Donors are trying to
eliminate duplication, while government is trying to regulate and orde r the NGO sector. It is
important that government set th e borders of the playing field. However, it is the NGO that
determines whether she plays the game or not. The interorganizational relationships among
NGOs stimulate ‘horizontal acc ountability’, that is, more accountability among NGOs within
one sector (Jordan, 2005:7). This is stimulate d, because mostly donors want to acquire more
cooperation among NGOs for the sake of efficien cy and cost reduction. NGOs could learn from
each other and thus improve through more competition in a certain sector.
As Fox puts it, horizontal account ability creates and empowers checks and balances within
interorganizational ne tworks (Fox, 2000:1).

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2.2 NGOs and accountability

2.2.1 Definition of accountability
Inherent to governance is accountability. With responsibility comes accountability. According to
the World Bank accountability is: “A set of relationships among service deliv ery actors with five features, namely
delegating, financing, performing, having info rmation about performance and enforcing.
Delegating refers to the explicit or implicit under standing that a service will be supplied.
Financing regards the provision of the resources enabling the service or paying for it.
Performing relates to supplying the actual service. Having information about
performance is about obtaining relevant informa tion and evaluating performance against
expectations and formal or informal norms. Enforcing is about being able to impose
sanctions for inappropriate performance or provision of rewards when performance is
appropriate” (World Bank, World Development Report 2004, Chapter 3: 48).

This definition inhabits five aspects of wh ich namely performance, information about
performance and enforcement are important to this study, for this is where the aspect of
accountability comes into play. It is the str ong belief that accountability is part of good
governance and because of the role of NGOs in society they are accountable and must apply
principles of good governance (Jordan & Van Tuijl, 2006:11).

Agnes Callamard (in Jordan & Van Tuijl 2006:1 85) defines accountability as including two
important principles according to which the state, individuals and organizations give account of
their actions and are held res ponsible for them. The second prin ciple considers the fact that
individuals, organizations and st ates must be able to report their concerns, complaints, abuses
and get compensation where necessary. With this definition accountability comes full circle.
There is room for accountability, but there should also be room for complaints and concerns and
ultimately compensation.

According to Edwards and Hulme (1995:9), acco untability is seen as the’ means by which
individuals and organizations repor t to recognized authorities and are held responsible for their
actions’. It encompasses the following characte ristics: goals, transparency of decision making
and relationships, honest reporting of what res ources have been used and what has been
achieved, an appraisal process judge if results are satisfactory, concrete mechanisms for holding

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to account (i.e. rewarding or pe nalizing) those responsible for performance (1998: 15). They
make an important distinction between func tional and strategic accountability, whereby
functional accountability is accounting for resour ces, the use and immediate impacts. Strategic
accountability focuses on the (multiple) immedi ate and medium or long term impacts of the
actions of an NGO on its environment (1995:9).

All these definitions have a strong focus on th e relationships of the NGOs in their service
provision activities, with the sc ales tipping in the advantage of the beneficiaries and other
organizations belonging to the environment of the NGO.
According to D. Songco (2006:5), it is not just about being accountable financially to donors, but
it is about the quality of change brought about in people’s life.

Why is NGO accountability so important?
According to Lee (2004:4-7) NGO accountability is important because of the power that NGOs
have to change or influence policy. This makes th em influential in the political sphere, therefore
they are accountable. Their work has become more visible, but the accountability with regard to
their work is not sufficient. The work they do is based on values of which trust is a very
important one and basic to the principle of gi ving accountability. This can increase trust and
tackle issues of secrecy and undemocratic governance.
Their questioning of other institu tions regarding accountability has al so put them in the spotlight.
According to Jordan & Van Tuijl (2006:6) account ability is important simply because it is a
responsibility of every NGO. Therefore the concept must be viewed within the framework of
rights and responsibilities of NGOs. Accountability is a normative concept (2006:9).

2.2.2 Opponents’ views of accountability
As with every concept there are opponents of NGO accountability. To the opponents of (more)
accountability like Bendell (2006: xi) this question is seen as another bureaucratic hurdle, a
threat to achieving NGO goals, and a domina ting influence of government and donors.
Jordan and Van Tuijl (2006:4) indicate that ac countability has been used by those who feel
threatened by the rise of NGOs as a political force. This has become an attack on NGOs with the
purpose of discrediting their organi zation and what they stand for. From this point of view NGO

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accountability is eroded by a hidde n agenda and does not serve the purpose of enhancing the
quality of life of those which are impacted by NGO activities.

The arguments used to obtain more accountability can be used as an ‘attempt to have unlimited
control’ over NGOs. Therefore Edwards & Hulme (1996:117) pose the questions: who is asking,
for whom and why, need to be carefully considered.
They (1996:109) furthermore imply that NGOs ha ve the right to do what they do unhindered by
state interference through regulatory measures.
According to Edwards & Hulme (1996: 9-10) ther e is this problem of ‘over-accounting’ or
‘under-accounting’, whereby NGOs are account able upward (Board, donors, state) and
downward (beneficiaries, partners, staff) which pr esents problems, because of theses ‘multiple
demands’. Equal accountability to al l according to them is impossible.

The position of especially NGOs with an advoc acy focus such as human rights, have voiced
resistance to the call for (mor e) accountability. Their position in the NGO sector is viewed as
different in comparison to NGOs with a focus on social service provision.
The International Council on Hu man (2009:3-25) rights is of the opinion that human rights
defenders and defenders organizations need protection. In a draft report on rights and
responsibilities of these organizations the C ouncil indicates that accountability should be
perceived as responsibility. The greatest fear of the Council is that the claim for accountability
can be (mis)used by governments to repress the voices of those advocating human rights and
those with a watchdog role in society. However, the Council recognizes that Human Rights
NGOs are “responsible” in a different way. Huma n rights NGOs are not ‘hired’ by the groups
they work for. In the view of the Council, these NGOs have an obligation to do something
(concerning human rights); they ar e morally accountable; they must be trustworthy; they must
report honestly and be answerable.

Kilby (2004:2-6) implies that the issues whic h are addressed by development NGOs, such as
social service provision, are a concern of the greater public and not just a small group of
beneficiaries. In this way accountability should not just be given to a small group of constituents.

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He identifies a situation whereby NGOs are not obliged by law or by their own rules to give
accountability to their beneficiaries. This influen ces the quality of accountability when it is given
to their beneficiaries. The account ability relationship with other stakeholders such as government
also influences the accountability relationship with th e beneficiaries. The result of all this is that
the beneficiaries will not end up having the necessary control that is required with accountability.
Kilby (2004: 16) furthermore indicates that NGOs ar e accountable to their values, for their work
is an expression of their values.

2.2.3 Proponents’ views of accountability
In March 2005 the Ministers of developed and developing countries, responsible for
development cooperation, as well as Heads of multilateral and bilateral development institutions
met in Paris. Purpose of the meeting was to re form the ways in which aid is delivered and
managed. The basis for this in tervention was the five-year review of the Millennium
Development Goals that would ta ke place later that year. As a result, commitments were made,
among other things, to enhance mutual accounta bility and transparency in the use of
development resources. These commitments became known as ‘The Paris Declaration’
(Hout: 2009). The declaration has bo osted the call for accountability.

Traditional Approaches
Until now the traditional approaches to acc ountability according to Jordan and Van Tuijl
(2006:14) encompass legal accountab ility, certification and donor regimes. These are viewed to
be more geared towards the technical discussi on of operational or functional accountability.
These processes are mostly init iated by government in an attempt to regulate civil society.
However in my opinion these approaches are mo re top-down and oriented towards ordering, but
do not consider accountability mechanism as part of a more qualitative approach. All of these
processes regard the question: who is spending the money and on what (Jordan 2005:8)? Merely
establishing a legal status until now has not in fluenced accountability mechanisms towards all
stakeholders. The same goes for certification. These processes have provided governments with
legal handles for this sector, but they do not consider substantive accountability mechanisms,
namely towards the target groups that NGOs work for. They do not consider the position of those

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 1 8

who the service is provided for, nor do they guara ntee the desired qualitative change of life for
these groups.
Edwards and Hulme (1995: 6) make an importa nt point when they consider performing
effectively and accounting transparently essent ial components of responsible NGO practice on
which legitimate developm ent intervention depends.
Jordan and Van Tuijl (2006: 4) furthermore consider organizational responsibilities,
responsibilities embedded in the mission and respons ibilities to different stakeholders, important
accountability areas.

Modern approaches
The modern approaches to the accountability concep t take into consideration a more qualitative
view. Accountability for the sake of being te chnically accountable, namely to the donor and
government is not enough. From this perspec tive the accountability debate has developed
towards qualitative accountability of ultimately br inging a qualitative change in the life of
beneficiaries.
The modern approaches focus on the questions: w ho is accountable, to whom, for what, how and
with what outcome (Jordan & Van Tuijl 2006:18). This perspective has become known as
democratic accountability (Jordan &Van Tuijl 20 06:115). Most NGOs (as well as donors) are not
used to this perspective. The emphasis has been on accountability towards the donor. This has
been named upward and external accountability by Alnoor Ebrahim. Downward and internal
accountability regard the beneficiaries and the internal organization (Jordan 2005:12). This type
of accountability is problematic in NGOs, fo r they are not democratic by nature.

Alnoor Ebrahim (2003:815) fu rthermore distinguishes functional and strategic accountability ,
whereby functional accountability is described as giving account for resources, the use of
resources and immediate impacts. Strategic accountability is described as giving account of the
impacts that activities have on th e actions of other organizations and the wider environment of
the NGO. Functional accountability according to Ebrahim has a short term focus, while strategic
accountability has a long term focus.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 1 9

The problem that NGOs have with functional and strategic accountability is that the impact of
their activities is measured for the short term and account for resources is donor-driven. If and
when constituents are considered, acc ountability is minimal or non-existent.
Jem Bendell indicates democratic accountability as the accountability of NGOs towards those
they affect who have less power. This implies that: ‘in the relationship Donor-NGO-Beneficiaries, the accountability of one helps create a
more democratically accountable system if; it is accountable to those parts affected by its
decisions/actions; that have less power; and th at are accountable to other parts of the
system in the same way’ (2006:5).

The view of accountability as indicated by Bendell puts accountability of the NGO to the
beneficiaries, those that have less power, first.
Tandon (in Edwards and Hulme 1995:48) sees accountability as having three important
dimensions: a clear mission; demonstrable performa nce, which is important for feedback and the
norms; rules and styles of functioning that good institutions can relate to.

2.3 Conclusions
NGOs are non- governmental organizations which are responsible for increasing amounts of
funds as development NGOs. They have a gove rnance role according to which they are
accountable. They also have a relationship with th eir stakeholders to which they are accountable.
With the exception of mostly Human Rights de fenders or NGOs active in this field, the
mainstream in the literature pres ents a view that is in favor of NGO accountability. Opponents of
NGO accountability argue that NGOs ar e legally not required to give accountability other than to
their donor. They also argue that equality to all is impossible to reach and simply more
accountability does not put benefi ciaries in charge. Proponents of NGO accountability consider
NGOs to be accountable to all th eir constituents. There are differe nt forms of accountability with
varied focus on donors and constituents.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 0

Chapter Three
NGO STATUS AND -GOVERNANCE

The aim of this chapter is to first define what an NGO is and to introduce the four Surinamese
NGOs which are part of this study. Secondly, the chapter aims to present information on the
status and the governance role of NGOs which is basic to the accountability principle. The
chapter also presents background information on the NGOs which are part of this study. These
NGOs have their own field of activ ities and are able to obtain funds from several donors active
in Suriname. They are active in the area of social service provision and human rights.

3.1 NGO definition and characteristics
In this study the definition used to describe what an NGO is, is used by the World Association of
NGOs and is as follows: an NGO is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization. Not for
profit implies that any profit is invested back into the public mission of the NGO. Non-
governmental implies that the NGO is independe nt from government and not established by
government agreeing to do so (NGO Code of Ethi cs and Conduct, 2004:6). Not for profit in this
definition does not imply that an NGO cannot ma ke a profit, however the profit in this case
should be used for the purposes that the NGO pursuits in her mission statement.
Under the Surinamese law there is no definition for NGOs.
Research done by the UNDP in 2008 on capacity of Surinamese NGOs indicates that NGOs are
not established for personal profit. Profit generati ng activities are not to be used for members or
management. NGOs have a formal status, statutes or other governing documents portraying their
mission, objectives and scope. They are ac countable to their members and donors.
NGOs belong to the third sector which implies that they are financially and operationally
independent of Government, ot her public authorities, political parties or commercial
organizations. They act on concerns and issues related to the well being of people, specific
groups or society as a whole; they are value-based, since values are at the base of their goals and
mission (Stichting Projecta, 2008: 5-6).

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 1

3.2 Four NGOs
As mentioned before the NGOs which are part of this case study are Marronvrouwen Netwerk
(MVN), Pater Ahlbrinck Stichting (PAS), Stich ting Moiwana and Bureau Forum NGOs (BFN).

The following tables present background information of these NGOs. To create a better
understanding of these NGOs it is n ecessary to present a clear picture on their legal status, target
groups, objectives, and cooperation with government, projects and activities.
In the appendices this information is presented more extensively.

Table 1 Legal status, fiel d of activity, objectives and target groups
NGO

Legal Form Field of activity Objectives Target groups
MVN Registered
Foundation Maroon women Advancement of
Maroon women Maroon Women
PAS Registered
Foundation Maroon and Indigenous
Communities Sustainable
development of
Maroon and
Indigenous
Communities Maroon and Indigenous people in
the interior
Moiwana Registered Foundation Human rights Human Rights
Watch dog and
Advocacy in
Suriname Surinamese society in general, and
specifically groups or individuals
who are victims of human rights
violation
BFN Registered
Foundation Basic provisions/Economic
empowerment/Environment
and health Sustainable
development of
indigenous,
maroon and urban
communities Maroon and indigenous
people/urban population/regional
organizations

Table 1 indicates that the four
NGOs are all registered foundations. They have a legal status,
namely that of the Foundation; the most commonly used in Suriname. They have a Board, staff
members and a director. They operate according to their articles of association by which the
Board is responsible for the s upervision and policies. Their ob jectives encompass sustainable
development, namely regarding women, human rights and maroon and i ndigenous communities.
The target groups are made up of maroon women, maroon and indigenous communities.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 2

Table 2 Cooperation with Government, other NGOs, projects and activities
NGO

Cooperation with
Government
Cooperation with
Other NGOs
Sort of Projects and activities
MVN Ministries of Home Affaires
Justice, Regional Development Interior Network Gender Mainstreaming
Participation in Board of
Bureau for Standards and
Foundation against Human
Trafficking
PAS
Ministries of Education,
Regional Development,
Ministry of Labor,
Technological Development &
Environment Interior Network Development Legislation
Sanitation, the production of
podosirie (maroon drink),
Moiwana
Ministry of Justice Marron Vrouwen Netwerk, United
Nations Association Suriname, and
Women’s Rights Center Human Rights Reports for the
United Nations, pleading of a
number of cases at the Inter
American Court of Justice,
intake of human rights offences
by individuals and/or groups,
Awareness on Human Rights,
Shadow Human Rights reports
BFN
Ministry of Regional
development, Ministry of
Labor, Technological
Development & Environment,
the Ministry of Education,
Ministry of Health, Ministry of
Agriculture Women Network, Interior Network Training and coaching of
organizations and networks in
planning and management,
vocational training of early
school drop outs, action-based
situation analysis and base-line
studies, influencing policy and
lobbying to solve problems,
Project development and
fundraising for communities,
poverty reduction through
micro-finance.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 3

When looking at table 2 it becomes clear that th e four NGOs work together with Government
and also participate with other NGOs and/or in existing NGO Networks. The projects they
execute vary. They are active in areas such as lobbying to solve problems, fundraising, training
and coaching, development of legislation, a nd participation in government commissions.

3.3 NGOs and their legal status
For the purpose of this study it is relevant to determine what the most common legal status is for
NGOs and whether this status ha s certain requirements on accountability. Suriname has a legal
status for Foundations as well as Associations. In Suriname most NGOs take on the legal form of
foundations. The legal requirements for establishi ng a foundation are simple. An authentic notary
act is needed (Interview notary, 2009). The foundation has a board and usually a director, staff
members and sometimes volunteers. There are fis cal benefits to establishing a foundation. A
foundation is only taxable if she exploits a firm . If the foundation operates a bureau and there are
salaries paid, then employees are taxable on their salaries.
According to their Articles of Association NGOs are not accountable to the greater public. The
director and the staff are respons ible for implementation of activities, while the Board has the
supervision and is responsible for the policies (Stichting Projecta 2008:7)

3.4 NGO governance

3.4.1 Basic principles of NGO governance
Based on the definition of Kjaer (2004:3) the interorganizational networks, self regulation and
significant autonomy from the state are basic principles of NGO governance.

Interorganizational Networks
According to the PAS, MVN and BFN the estab lishment of networks was triggered by donors.
From interviews with donors (Cordaid, Small Grants, Dutch Embassy) it has also become clear
that they adhere to networking in different sectors. Different NGOs have different expertise and
networking stimulates these differe nt qualities and could also stimulate working together for the
benefit of a community or group.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 4

The four NGO directors stated th at in the last five years the bigger NGOs have been organizing
themselves in networks, with the purpose of information exch ange regarding projects, donors,
their field of activity and interorganizational support. This has been done autonomously from the
government.
Self-regulation
As with the establishment and recognition of al l networks there is a pressure on the smaller
NGOs to become part of the networks or not be pa rt of the game. No one wants to be left out.
From the side of NGOs attempts to self regulate have been triggered by the rise in the number of
organizations with an interest in the area of sustainable development. The purpose of these
attempts is to shut out and exclude so-cal led FANGOs (Fake NGOs) profit seekers (Interview
BFN). There currently is a new draft and a new discussion within the sector on self regulation
and the role of government in tryi ng to regulate the sector.

Significant autonomy from the state
NGOs are perceived to be operating autonomousl y from government. The NGOs which are part
of this study work together with government. This varies from the use of government facilities to
participation in committees. They are not depe ndent on government funding or legislation to
operate the way they do. The autonomy of the NGO is furthermore viewed in the fact that they
are not dependent on government in their (int ernal) decision-making or modus operandi.

3.4.2 Relations with donors and government
As indicated in chapter three, in 2008 the re sults of a study financed by the UNDP (Stichting
Projecta, 2008: 6) for assessment and capacity st rengthening of NGOs in Suriname showed that
they are recognized as partners in dialogue with the Government and donors to reach a strategy.
However, it was mentioned by at least one donor (anonymous) that since there is no regulation
and quality control by government, NGOs have to have a track record to receive funding.
This is also strengthened by th e considerations of the Governme nt regarding the NGO sector in
the Multi-annual Development Plan 2006-2011 of th e government, namely the importance of the
NGO sector in the development process of Suriname . At the same time the Government is of the
opinion that there is still room for development and strengthening of NGO networks (MOP
2009-2011: 197).

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 5

The Ministry of Planning and Development Coope ration has stated her concerns regarding the
proliferation within the NGO sector. Therefore she has initiated a number of policy
interventions. These vary from preparing a defin ition of what a NGO is in close cooperation with
the NGO networks, to legislation regarding NGOs (to end discrimination of so-called fake
NGOs, smaller or not well-known NGOs). The Ministry is also in the process of establishing a
database with registered NGOs to minimize proliferation. Furthermore, capacity strengthening
activities were iden tified to enable NGOs to participate in Committees and other activities of
Government.
Aid Coordination interventions are part of the Program ‘Strengthening National Capacities for
Aid Coordination and Monitoring of Developmen t Plans and MDG Achievements’ which started
in July 2009 and is financed by the Inter Ameri can Development Bank (interview PLOS staff).
According to the Ministry the purpose of donor coor dination is to gain insight in the investments
and development in different sectors. This will improve policy making processes regarding
donors, but also enable the Mini stry to steer and control.

3.4.3 Relationship with beneficiaries
When looking at the relation between the NGO and the community, namely the target group,
much is determined by the strength of the locals. If the community is alre ady organized in one or
more community based organization( s) or grass root organizations, then the community is more
mature and more able to determine its own path of development. If not, a lot depends on the
NGO and/or donor requirements.
In the first stages of project development most donor requirements indicate and require
participation of the target group. The purpose of th ese requirements is to ensure the involvement
and participation of local people in the project. This participation may involve money, work
and/or provision of material s (Interview Small Grants).
The underlying way of thinking is that community involvement will improve the chances for
overall success.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 6

3.4.4 Interorganizational relations
Through the establishment of the NGO netw orks, it is possible for NGOs to have
interorganizational relations. These relations sh ould monitor activities within the sector and
maximize success of projects and programs through the exchange of information.
However, smaller NGOs are experiencing ‘difficu lties’. According to them the bigger NGOs are
willing to give ‘some openness’ to the donor, as a requirement for the acquiring of funding, but
they are not willing to give too much informati on within the network. Their activities are viewed
as “their thing and nobody else’s ”. Distrust among some NGOs is hindering cooperation and
openness.
According to some NGOs there is neither contro l of the activities nor monitoring of the quality
of the activities by the concerning Ministry. Some donors require recommendations from other
NGOs when financing big projects of one NGO, this leads to the creation of other networks
besides the existing ones.

3.5 Conclusions
The four organizations in this research are non-governmental, in that they operate autonomously
and independent from government.They have a le gal status, namely that of the Foundation. They
operate according to their articles of associa tion by which the Board is responsible for the
supervision and policies, which is the governance role, while the bureau executes activities based
on these policies.
There are different interorganizational networks and there is cooperation with government, but
also autonomy from the state.
The government supports greater cooperation with NGOs and government also wants to regulate
the NGO sector.
The four NGOs in this study it has also become clear that they cooperate in networks. However
this has resulted in a pressure on the smaller NGOs to become part of the networks or not be part
of the game, because they do not want to be left out.
From the side of NGOs attempts to self regulate have been triggered by the rise in the number of
NGOs and in an attempt to organize the sector. .

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 7

Chapter Four
PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS NGO ACCOUNTABILITY

The more traditional approaches to NGO accountabi lity which have been discussed in this paper
emphasize donor regimes, certification and legal acc ountability. However, as noted before these
do not focus on the relation with different stakeh olders on an equal base. The purpose of this
chapter is to present the findings on the traditional as well as the modern approaches to NGO
accountability.

4.1 Traditional approaches
4.1.1 Donor regimes
The most important donors in this study ar e Cordaid, Dutch Embassy, IDB and the UNDP.
Current donor regimes (donor interviews) have concentrated first on ticking the boxes in the
checklist to determine whether or not NGO activ ities are consistent with their policy. Donors
have pursued minimization of risks through the decision-making process regarding the granting
of funds to NGOs. It would be bad publicity if projects or program s fail, which might (also) be
considered as failure on the part of the donor.
In general donors tend to work with NGOs they al ready ‘know’ and consider to be respectable.
Their focus is on the successful completion of pr ojects, through involvement of beneficiaries and
less on accountability towards the beneficiaries. There is also some pressure on donors from
headquarters to allocate funds.
In Suriname different donors have developed th eir own policies and mechanism for project cycle
management, which must first guarantee account ability to them. In this way donor regimes
maintain current process of NGO accountability, which hinders current leve ls to increase and
does not stimulate openness among NGOs.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 8

The donors also state other bottle necks which are encountered in their partnership with NGOs.
According to them execution capacity when it comes to projects is low and performance
undersized. NGOs tend to amend projects too much along the course of the project, which
indicates low quality of proposals. At least one donor mentioned little support from knowledge
institutions such as the University.

4.1.2 Certification
Certification is an important requirement of donors for NGOs to be able to receive funding. It
legalizes the existence of the NGO and decrees it to be qualified and authorized to perform.
However, certification does not guarantee comp etence. Certification indicates corporate
functionality, which makes one li able and legally responsible for one’s actions. This enables
donors to contract NGOs and to address that NGO on contractual matters. As one donor states, it
enables donors to recover funds from NGOs in case of bad or no performance.
An interview with a health NGO states that certification and accreditation are important.
Periodical internal audit which regards all areas from management to service provision in
policlinics must guarantee quality. This is possible because the NGO has specialized in a certain
area of health services. However, a lot of NGOs have a much diversified work field. They
participate in all networks; they are all over and work with all donors. If certain expertise is
missing within the NGO it is bought or ‘rente d’. This ‘scattered’ work method hinders
professionalism and can erode quality of performa nce. The focus is shifted away from the well
being of the beneficiaries. The emphasis is in ‘getting’ as much projects as possible. This
reinforces the identified capacity problem of NGOs.

4.1.3 Legal accountability
Currently there is no legislation in Suriname which requires an NGO to be accountable to others.
NGOs are firstly accountable to themselves that is according to the Articles of Association.
NGOs are furthermore only bound to comply with accountability requirements as agreed on in
the contract with the donor. There is no legislat ion which requires donors to be accountable to
government (outside of treaty fund with governme nt) or any other stakeholder regarding their
funding of programs or pr oject activities (interview 2 Dutch Embassy).

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 2 9

4.2 Modern approaches
The modern forms of accountability in this study are downward and internal, upward and
external, functional and strategic accountability.

4.2.1 Downward and internal accountability
When looking at downward and internal accountabi lity the PAS (interview 2) for example has
mentioned that she plans for action. In this process she involves Board members, staff,
fieldworkers, community people (can also be gov ernment staff, namely government inspector),
village elders, other NGOs. Brainstorming sessions are held and regional meetings. This strategy
is also applied for the evaluation of her projects. The PAS furthermore indicates that the origin
and use of funding is shared with staff as well as beneficiaries. Period
ical reports are available to
everyone.
BFN (interview 2 Director) with regard to downward and internal accountability has mentioned
the same strategy; however she has encountered difficulty in sharing information with the
community. BFN has tried to organize community members in a steering committee and give
them control over their own budget. This did not work. Committee members were fighting over
who should have more money for their communit y. If the community knows that others within
that community are receiving money, than ever yone wants to receive money. The community
does not discern between vol unteers and professionals.
In the case of Moiwana, the staff is responsible for the different sectors of human rights. During
weekly meetings everyone gives account of thei r own sector. In this way everyone is aware of
what is happening in the different areas. Al so financially account is given of the sectors
(interview 2 Director).
MVN has internal meetings rega rding activities and funding. In Paramaribo it is easier to meet
with different women organizations and present them possible activit ies, this is more difficult in
the interior due to the geographical spread of communities. These groups are presented general
information via radio programs (i nterview 2 vice president MVN).
Downward and internal accountabi lity in the case of these NGOs is not as important as upward
and external accountability, becaus e the structure of the NGOs does not provide for this form.
Accountability to beneficiaries and st aff is not part of a contract nor is it part of the Articles of
Association.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 3 0

4.2.2 Upward and External accountability
Upward accountability, namely to the donor is cu rrently the most important accountability
relation. According to the PAS all informati on is made accessible to the donor. External
accountability is only given to others when as ked for, for example by the government. This
information is usually general information wh ich can also be given to the general public.
Detailed financial information is only shared with the donor (interview 2 Director).
According to BFN (interview 2 Director) upward accountability is given to the donor; detailed
financial data is only available for the donor. In the external accountability relation, information
is made available to everyone when asked for, except detailed financial information.
In the case of Moiwana (interview 2 Director) it was mentioned that twice a year reports are
submitted to the donor according to requirements. An accountant’s certificate must be submitted
yearly to the donor. Yearly reports are available for the public; this does not include financials.
MVN indicate that according to donor requireme nts information is presented. The NGO does not
have a focus on presenting information to a greater public. If and when asked for MVN will
present general information (int erview 2 vice-president).
This form of accountability has become normativ e to NGOs and donors in the relationship with
the donor, because NGOs are held accountable by contract.

4.2.3 Functional and strategic accountability
Functional and strategic accountability are still a challenge. The account for resources, the use of
resources and immediate impacts (functional acc ountability) are part of contract documents.
These aspects of accountability according to all four NGOs are important for the evaluation of
projects and programs. The emphasis most of the time is on the use of resources. The three
NGOs (BFN, Moiwana, and PAS) that control substantial amounts of funding are required to
have a yearly audit of finances and a year ly financial audit certificate for the donor.
In interviews with donors (IDB, Dutch Embassy in terview 2) it has been mentioned that projects
are evaluated on the basis of indicators and impacts as determined beforehand. At least one
donor (anonymous) mentioned that they consider NGOs in developing countries to be ‘not too
strong’. This has an impact on performance. In general reporting on activities is late.
Furthermore beneficiaries do not always have a choi ce to determine who they want to work with.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 3 1

These aspects are considered to be the risks which are incorporated in the decision-making
process. They are perceived as to also have an impact on project outcome, thus challenging to the
account for resources, use of resources and immediate impacts.
Strategic accountability is describe d as giving account of the impacts that activities have on the
actions of other organizations and the wider environment of the NGO. This form of
accountability is also challenging. In determining project activities little is considered regarding
the effect on other organizations or ot hers in the environment of the NGO.
Strategic accountability requires an integrated approach from NGOs. This method should in the
strategic accountability approach be used as a point of depa rture for establishing what impact the
NGO can have on the wider environment. This method is highly unusual to the NGOs in this
study and to most NGOs in general. Donor regimes do not require such an approach. Projects are
considered on an ad hoc basis, with their ad hoc impacts on beneficiaries. There is no follow-up
on activities which would allow for other organiza tions and NGOs to come to the stage. Donors
confronted with the question have mentioned that there is no research with regard to the impact
of NGO activities on the long run on communities in general or beneficiaries in particular, let
alone on the wider environment (Interview 2 Dutch Embassy, IDB). These views on
accountability make a process of organiza tional change within NGOs inevitable.
In interviews with Moiwana, MVN, WRC, SUCET, Tana, and Ultimate Purpose, first, it was
mentioned that it is difficult to work in cer tain areas, because some NGOs consider some
geographical regions as theirs. In these regions they want to be providers in all areas, therefore
they diversify. This hinder s the cooperation among NGOs and accountability among NGOs.
Second, it was mentioned that there are NGOs which have a yearlong relation with the
community. They assume that they ‘know’ what the community is lacking and what is needed to
improve a certain situation. However according to the interviewees this yearlong presence in a
certain geographical region has led to an info rmal segmentation of the landscape among NGOs,
making it very difficult for others to work in certain areas.
NGOs have an almost patronizing relation with the community, whereby the NGO becomes the
spokesperson of the community. Th is has led to the creation of organizational forms which are
unknown to the community and to the creation of their own backing within such a community;
The communities are not being supp orted, but they are being led and often ‘talked into’ a project.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 3 2

4.3 Conclusion
NGO accountability until now has been based on donor requirements, certification and legal
accountability measures, the more traditional approaches.
As for the modern approach to NGO accountability, NGOs view themselves as accountable for
their activities, based on their goals and missions. Second, they view themselves as accountable
because of the funding they receive to reach their goals.
The interviews with the four NGOs show that they are we ll aware of the accountability
relationship with their beneficiar ies, however, it can be fairly stated that this relation has a
supposititious position.
All four NGOs perceive themselves to be accountable for adhering to their mission and specific
goals. How they are accountable is still challenging, especially when it comes down to
presenting beneficiaries with information that is understandable to them. On the other hand, to be
more open from their perspective is not without consequences.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 3 3

Chapter Five
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

In this chapter the conclusions and recommenda tions of this study are presented. The central
questions and sub questions are answered based on the findings.

5.1 What is required by donors?
Donor requirements play an important role in NGO relations. Until now the emphasis of NGO
accountability has been in the relationship with the donor. Donors require that partners, in this
case NGOs, have a legal status. In Suriname mo st NGOs take on the status of foundations.
NGOs work together in networks in different sectors, because according to them different NGOs
have different expertise. Networking stimulates these different qualities and could also stimulate
working together for the benefit of a community or group.
NGOs are certified, which indica tes corporate functionality, making one liable and legally
responsible for one’s actions. The focus of NGOs is on giving accountability to donors.
NGOs adapt to their policy changes, causing th em to amend and/or widen their scope to
incorporate new focus areas; ultimately this shif t has caused NGOS to shift their view from the
basics to merely surviving.

5.2 What is required by Government?
Currently there is no legislation in Suriname which requires an NGO to be accountable to others
than her Board members. The legal status of the NGOs in this study according to their Articles of
Association does not require a ccountability to the government or the greater public. NGOs are
certified and their legal acc ountability is to their Board.
Through the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation however, government is also
attempting to order the NGO sector by initiating a number of policy interventions. These regard:
• Establishing who is an NGO and who is not
• Drafting a new law regarding Foundations
• Aid coordination which shoul d give government more insight in the sector.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 3 4

5.3 What do NGOs require?
NGOs which are part of this study have indicated th at they are firstly accountable to themselves.
That is, the Bureau or staff being accountable to the NGO Board, as laid down in the articles of
Association of the NGO. The foundation is not a democratic organi zation, which indicates that
there is no conviction regarding ac countability internally, thus regarding staff, nor to the greater
public (interview form er director BFN).
NGOs have attempted to self regul ate, triggered by the rise in the number of organizations with
an interest in the area of sustainable deve lopment, causing discussions among prominent NGOs.
The purpose of these discussions was to shut out and exclude so-called FANGOs (Fake NGOs)
profit seekers (Interview BFN). This indicates that established NGOs expect some degree of
accountability from new NGOs c oncerning their existence.

5.4 Why is NGO accountability so modest in Suriname?
NGO accountability in Suriname has been influenced by and designed towards donor needs.
Accountability in the donor-NGO relation is base d on donor rules and formats. NGOs have to
periodically give financial accoun t and account of the progress of activities as determined by the
donor and in return for inform ation they receive funds. Other NGO relations have become
subordinate to the donor-NGO relation.
Donor regimes have concentrated first on ticking the boxes in the checklist to determine whether
or not NGO activities are consiste nt with their policy. They have pursued minimization of risks
in the granting of funds to NGOs. It would be bad publicity if projects or programs fail, which
might (also) be considered as failure on the pa rt of the donor. Donors tend to work with NGOs
they already ‘know’ and consider to be respecta ble. Their focus is on successful completion of
projects and less on acco untability towards the beneficiaries. All these aspects of the donor-NGO
relation have constrained the growth proce ss of NGO accountability and reinforced upward
accountability processes.

NGOs on the other hand hold on to their Arti cles of Association, which do not require
accountability to staff, benefici aries, other NGOs or government . Since there is no regulation
regarding accountability to the public, beneficiaries or government , NGOs do not feel obliged or

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 3 5

pressured to do so freely. Ther efore accountability in these re lationships is only given when
asked for, and even than limited.

5.5 Why is modern accountability not applicable?
Modern accountability such as st rategic and functional accountability is not (yet) applicable in
Suriname. NGOs indicate that there is a lot of dist rust in the sector. First, this has caused NGOs
to struggle with communication and cooperation within the networks. Second, it has furthermore
caused NGOs to tighten their grip on certain communities, thus reproducing monopolistic
tendencies of NGOs. Third, NGOs are hesitant to be more transparent towards each other,
because more transparency may cause others to recognise weaknesses and enable them to make
use of these opportunities.
In the relationship with beneficiaries emphasis is on participation in the execution phase. The
participation of beneficiaries is according to donor requirements. D onors try to guarantee
participation through in-kind contribution, cont ribution through money or work. The relation
beneficiary-NGO is donor-driven.
As for functional and strategic accountability, NGOs still have a long way to go. The account for
resources, the use of resources and immediate impacts (functional acc ountability) as part of
contract documents are s till directed at the donor. Strategic accountability, giving account of the
impacts that activities have on th e actions of other organizations and the wider environment of
the NGO, is also challenging. The focus in the wi der environment and relations with others is
based on maintaining of areas which NGOs consider to be theirs. Projects are identified on an ad
hoc basis and not as part of a long term pla n. Impacts on the long run are not considered. The
donor simply does not require this form of accountability.

Examining NGO Accountability in Suriname Pag e 3 6
5.6 Recommendations
In general NGOs still have a long way to go when it comes to modern types of accountability. To
change current accountability processes, a change is needed. The most important driver in the
change process based on this research is the donor. Donors must be w illing to change their
regimes in order for NGO accountability to ev olve from accountancy to accountability.

Evaluation
NGOs must be aware of and constantly monitor their reputation in society. An (periodical)
evaluation of the sector with re gard to performance and impact is necessary. This will enable
NGOs to use the outcome and restart from this point.

Back to the basics
The relations among community-NGO-Donor-government impact the way in which NGOs give
accountability. Although the benefici aries are the most important stakeholder, accountability to
this group in most cases has not ‘matured’.
There will have to be a change from dono r-driven accountability to beneficiary-driven
accountability. This will onl y take place when NGOs go back to th eir basics, their right to exist.
Beneficiaries must once more become pivotal.
Although the issue of accountability cannot be avoided by the NGO sector, more dedication is
necessary to improve.

Awareness and training
There are different NGOs with different levels of capacity. Some levels of accountability such as
functional and strategic accountab ility seem beyond considerable attainability, because they
demand a shift in the way NGOs currently perc eive accountability. Therefore NGOs must be
trained and made aware of accountability strategies. In this resear ch it has become clear that the
topic still produces difficulties. NGOs are more focused on accountability towards their donors.
Most donors identify a need for capacity building and strengthening for
NGOs. This should
include training regarding accountability methods su ch as downward and internal accountability,
strategic and functi onal accountability.

Appendix One

Bibliography

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Websites:

www.wango.org
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2009

www.wango.org
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http://www.undg.org/archive_docs/6945-Suriname_MDG_Baseline_Report.pdf
, Suriname
MDGs Baseline Report 2005; p 3, Accessed 20 November 2009

http://www.moiwana.org/

Marron Vrouwen Netwerk profile
Bureau Forum NGO profile
PAS profile

Appendix Two
List of Informants

Name Organization Function Date Place
Mrs. F. Graand-
Galon Marron Vrouwen
Netwerk Chair
23/09/09 Trinidad
Ms. J. Eduards Marron Vrouwen
Netwerk Vice chair
19/10/09 Paramaribo
Mr. B. Rambharos Cordaid Cordaid
Representative
Suriname 26/10/09 Paramaribo
Ms. Ch. Naarden
Pater Ahlbrinck Stg. Director 29/10/09 Paramaribo
Ms. M. Muskiet Moiwana Director 29/10/09 Paramaribo
Ms. P. Arias Stg. Lobi staff member 29/10/09 Paramaribo
Mrs. S. Ketwaru Bureau Forum NGOs Director 29/10/09 Paramaribo
Mr. M. Sanrochman Notary Sanrochman notary 18/11/09 Paramaribo
Ms P. Chan Jon Chu UNDP Project Coordinator 20/11/09 Paramaribo
Mr. H. Creton UNDP Project coordinator 20/11/09 Paramaribo
Mrs. M. Kramp SUCET Director 23/11/09 Paramaribo
Ms F. Ilahibaks Ministry PLOS Project coordinator 26/11/09 Paramaribo
Ms. Ch. Naarden PAS Director 26/11/09 Paramaribo
Mr. B. Hulsman Stg TANA Director 30/11/09 Paramaribo
Mrs. P. Hulsman Stg TANA Adjunct Director 30/11/09 Paramaribo
Ms D.
Kromowidjojo Ministry PLOS
Donor Coordinator 02/12/09 Paramaribo
Mrs. Sh. Ketwaru Bureau Forum NGOs Director 02/12/09 Paramaribo
Mrs. E. Deekman Dutch Embassy Senior policy officer 14/12/09 Paramaribo
Ms. R. Battacharji Projecta Staff member 14/12/09 Paramaribo
Mrs. E. Deekman Dutch Embassy Senior policy officer 16/12/09 Paramaribo
Mrs. F. Graand-
Galon MVN President
16/12/09 Paramaribo
Mrs. E. Sandi Stg Cultureel Centrum
Suriname Director 21/12/09
Paramaribo
Mr. D. Egger Moiwana Board member 05/01/10 Paramaribo
Ms. M. Schmeitz Ultimate Purpose Director 06/01/10 Paramaribo
Mr. G. Leckie Stg. Lobi Director 07/01/10 Paramaribo
Ms. M. Muskiet Moiwana Director 07/01/10 Paramaribo
Mrs. H. Malmberg-
Guicherit Women’s Rights Center
Board member 09/01/10 Paramaribo
Barrington Bryce IDB Operations officer 15/01/10 Paramaribo
Jeanine Sakidjo IDB consultant 15/01/10 Paramaribo
Lucas Hoepel IDB Operations analyst 15/01/10 Paramaribo
Steven Hofwijks IDB consultant 15/01/10 Paramaribo
Mrs. U. Schalkwijk Nikos Director Nikos 19/01/10 Paramaribo
Mr. H. Wesenhagen BFN Former BFN
Director 20/01/10 Paramaribo

Appendix Three
CASE DESCRIPTION OF THE FOUR NGOS
Marron Vrouwen Netwerk (MVN)
Legal status, target groups and objectives
In the interviews with the president and vice-pres ident of the network it was indicated that MVN
is a network of women who are descendants of runaway slaves, also known as Maroons. The
Maroons are considered to be deprived in the Surinamese society. Maroons are tribal folks.
Although the network has existed fo r a very long time, it has only obtained formal status in 2000,
when it became a Foundation. The Foundation ex ecutes projects in the area of sustainable
development.
The target group consists of Maroon women.
The purpose of MVN is to enhance sustainabl e development of all maroon women via the
network system, stimulate cooperation betw een maroon women and create consultative
structures for maroon women in the city and the communities via the network system (Profile of
the organization).
MVN also supports local Women Or ganizations to obtain legal status. The foundation sees to it
that women and women organizations within th e villages cooperate with each other through
seminars, workshops and one-on-one discussions.
Structure of the organization
The organization is an umbrella under which se veral community based women organizations as
well as individual women participat e. The structure is such that there is Foundation with a Board
under which the Network operates. There are six maroon tribes in Suriname (Aucan,
Saramaccan, Paramaccan, Aloekoe, Kwintie, Matuarier) of which all have representatives in the
Board of the Foundation (interview president).
The foundation merely works with volunteers. Ther e are no staff members receiving a salary.
The Network is operating on the basis of maroon principles for information exchange and
networking. Member organizations and memb ers raise awareness among maroon women to
become active members of the network or to participate in local (member) organizations.

Cooperation with Government and other NGOs
There is frequent interaction between government and the networ k. The network is frequently
asked to delegate a member for the participation in government committees, such as:
• Ministry of Home Affair s, Gender Mainstreaming
• Ministry of Justice, Foundation against Huma n Trafficking and the Board of the Bureau
of Standards
• The Network is also participating in dive rse committees of the Ministry of Regional
Development.
Important stakeholders are considered to be the government, all maroon women, other NGOs,
CBOs and donors.
MVN is part of the Network ‘Binnenland Overle g’, a network of NGOs active in the interior.
NGOs meet once a month in this setting. This is a thematic meeting combined with regular
meeting. The purpose is to inform each other on ac tivities and to shape a platform for discussion
of issues and solutions, cooperation for the purpose of savings and exch ange of expertise.
Projects and Activities
From interviews with the chairwoman and a board member it became clear that the network has
executed and supported rather small projects, namely between 2,000-10,000 USD.
Important projects that have been executed ar e establishment of rural women networks for
information and knowledge exchange on shifting cultivation and the sale of agricultural
products. This has lead to the creation of the Sunrop network which is part of the Caribbean
Women Producers Network (Canrop).
With funding MVN has also conducted a survey on sexual practices of maroons. Other important
projects are: HIV/Aids awareness for maroons, awareness an d support use of impregnated
mosquito nets against malaria, maroon women embroidery project, Rice hulling mill project
Wanhatti with the women organization of Wanhat ti, Soap production for diverse women groups
in the interior, Awareness among women in the in terior on birth registration (interview vice-
president).

The Pater Ahlbrinck Stichting (PAS)
Legal Status, Target groups and Objectives
The PAS is a registered Foundation which wa s founded in 1968 and named after father
Gerhardus Ahlbrinck, who worked in Suriname from 1919-1966.
The PAS is a non-profit NGO which operates with communities in the interior of Suriname,
namely in the districts Marowijne, Brokopondo and in Sipaliwini namely, Wayambo,
Coppename, Apoera, Washabo, S ection (Interview director).
The target group is made up of Maroon and Indigenous communities.
The purpose of the PAS foundation is to improve the development of commun ities in the interior
in a sustainable way by implementing integrated programs. The PAS seeks the complete and full
integration of these communities in society and economy.
PAS pursuits this goal through establishment of a long term relationship with the communities in
which she operates, which according to the Foundation is necessary to determine the needs and
the road to development (pro file of the organization).
Structure of the Organization
The director indicated that PAS is a register ed Foundation with a Board under which the Bureau
operates. The Bureau is headed by the director and five staff members. There are seven board
members. These are appointed for two years. Af ter these two years they are eligible for re-
election. There is a board meeting once a mont h. The board is responsible for the policy,
recruiting of donors. Board members may also a dvice on matters in their field of work or
experience. For example: as a jurist or medical doctor. Persons are also appointed in the Board
on this basis.
Board members receive an allowance for expe nses. The PAS currently has one volunteer.
Cooperation with Government and other NGOs
According to the director of the PAS there is an interaction between the PAS and diverse
Ministries:
• Ministry of Education, namely di rectorate Culture for training;

• Ministry of Labor, Technological Development & Environment for cooperation regarding
the production of podosirie (maroon dri nk), environment and plastic bottles

• The PAS is involved in the national st eering committee ‘Development Legislation
Sanitation’ to help the government in making (new) policy on sanitation.
• Ministry of regional Development makes sta ff available as well as boats. The Ministry
also makes use of networks of the PAS to vis it villages and vice versa. The Ministry also
makes staff members available for PAS activitie s while she pays the salaries (this regards
days not months). PAS uses certain facilities of the Ministry.
The organization does regularly seek feedback on activities from NGOs, namely in the network
of NGOs which operate in the network ‘Binnenland Overleg’.
Projects and Activities
The PAS has identified four important themes w ith sub-themes for her work in the interior:
Structuring of communities, econom ically favorable activities, research and support and market
access (PAS profile). Where the PAS is unable to support, she has made it her policy to find a
suitable partner for the community.
According to the PAS director an important policy of the Foundation is that communities must
always have their own contributi on in projects. This may be money, but also labor or provision
of necessary materials/means.
The projects which are executed cover a wide ra nge of activities, from capacity building for
representation of commun ity interests, Organizational and managerial skills, support for basic
needs such as potable water, sanitation, teach er’s houses, school buildings, multi-functional
buildings, agricultural projects, handicra ft and support for small entrepreneurs.

Moiwana Human Rights Organization in Suriname (Moiwana)
Legal Status, Target groups and Objectives
Moiwana came into existence after a horrible killing of about 39 inhabitants of the Maroon
village Moiwana (District Brokopon do) in 1986 by soldiers of the Surinamese army who were
looking for members of the Jungle Commando rebels. In 1988 Moiwana Human Rights
Organization became a registered Fo undation (http://www.moiwana.org/).

The target group of Moiwana consists of the Surinamese society in general, and specifically
groups or individuals who are vict ims of human rights violations.
The purpose of Moiwana has shifted and broadene d in 1999 from a focus on the violation of the
Right to life to advocacy for all Human rights, namely social, economic, cultural and universal.
She has a watch dog role with regard to the Human Rights situation in Suriname (Interview
director).
Structure of the Organization
The director stated that Moiwana is a Foundatio n with a Board. The Board has seven members.
The bureau of the Foundation consists of eight st aff members of which one is the director. The
Board members are appointed for an indefinite period of time. There is a board meeting once a
month. The board is responsible for the policy which is executed by the Bureau. Board members
are appointed on the basis of quality, university degree.
Board members receive an allowance for expe nses. Moiwana currently has no volunteers.
Cooperation with Government and other NGOs
According to a staff member Moiwana has ini tiated the Moot Court completion first in 1999.
This project is executed in cooperatio n with the Anton de Kom University.
There currently is cooperation with Marron Vrouwen Netwerk, United Nations Association
Suriname, and Women’s Rights Center for the purpose of networking.
The Government approaches Moiwana for consultation regarding Human Rights Reports for the
United Nations.
Projects and Activities
According to the director, Moiwana has made herself well known through the successful
pleading of a number of cases at the Inter Amer ican Court of Justice by which the State of
Suriname was convicted. An important activity re gards the intake of human rights offences by
individuals and/or groups.
December 10
th is always an important date for Mo iwana and the foundation seeks to raise
awareness regarding human rights on this Day of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The foundation organizes human rights festivals in cooperation with other organizations such as

the UNA (United Nations Association Suriname). To raise awareness amongst youngsters she
organizes poster-drawing competitions. The foundation is also focusing on human rights
information & education, environment, bi-yearly reports on human rights situation in Suriname
and shadow reports for the United Nations, assess ment of human rights situations in prisons.

Bureau Forum NGOs (BFN) Legal Status, Target groups and Objectives
The Bureau Forum NGOs was established in 1993 as a working arm of the Forum of NGOs
Association. The purpose of the Association was to strengthe ning capacity of member NGOs.
However in 1995 the association became inactiv e. The Bureau continued as a NGO with the
status of a registered Foundation (Organization profile).
The target groups of BFN consists of the Maroon population in the interior organized in five
region- or tribe-based networks, the so-calle d Regional Organizations; Indigenous population in
district Para and other incidental communities; the urban population in the south of Paramaribo
and the district Wanica (organization profile).
The purpose of the Bureau is to support skills and knowledge improvements of specific groups
aimed at the advancement of their living envi ronment. Secondly, BFN supports the capacity
building and strengthening of groups and co mmunity based organizations aimed at the
advancement of their living envir onment (organization profile).
Structure of the Organization
The director indicates that BFN is a foundation with a board that consists of seven members. The
term of the board membership is unlimited. The Bureau is headed by a Director. There are three
staff members. BFN also contracts staff for certain activities when necessary. Board members
receive an allowance for expenses. BF N currently has twenty-five volunteers.
Cooperation with Government and other NGOs
According to the director there is an interaction between BFN and the Government as well as
with other NGOs. BFN also participates in the Network ‘Binnenland Overleg’.
With regard to the Government:
• There are consultations with the Ministry of Regional development concerning issues on
Capacity building for Decentralization

• With the Ministry of Labor, Technological Development & Environment a Memorandum
of Understanding was signed regarding labor issues. On environment BFN cooperates
with this Ministry together with the PAS and other NGOs.
• There is cooperation with the Ministry of Education, directorate Sport. Competitions are
organized together in areas where BFN ope rates; also a sports center was built.
• The Ministry of Health makes staff members available for activities.
• With the Ministry of Agriculture activities are executed for improvement of agriculture in
the interior and the linking of local markets.
BFN cooperates with other NGOs: • In the District of Sipaliwini, agriculture development with the PAS to sell products to
tourism organizations operating in the interior; Also eco-sanitation with the PAS and the
NVB (Nationale Vrouwen Beweging);
• BFN has organized a number of voca tional trainings with the ‘Stichting
Arbeidsmobilisatie en Ontwikkeling’ (SAO) in Sipaliwini, Marowijne and Wanica

Projects and Activities
The organization’s profile indicates that important areas for BFN activities and projects regard
the mobilization of target groups to organize amongst themselves and promote common
interests, support for organiza tions to form local networks, training and coaching of
organizations and networks in planning and ma nagement, vocational training of early school
drop outs, action-based situation analysis and base-line studies, influencing policy and lobbying
to solve problems, Project development and fundraising for communities, poverty reduction
through micro-finance.
BFN also does consultancy on a small scale, namely project writing, on-the-job training in
project cycle management, capacity building and gender equality workshops, conduct of
baselines and community consultations. The prof its of these activities are used for micro
financing of small scale community activities (interview director).

Appendix Four
Interview questions NGO Accountability

1. Is your organization, a non ‐profit, non ‐governmental organization?
2. Where does your NGO operate? (Geographically and based on certain devt issue)
3. Is there any interaction between your NGO and the GoS?
4. Is your work impacted by this interaction? If yes, how? If no, why not?
5. How is this interaction impacting GoS?
6. Do you advice government?
7. Does your organization plan for action, how do you go about designing your plan?
8. Who is involved?
9. Who are your donors?
10. How much funds have you received between 2000‐2009? What is the average of funds your
organization has received yearly between 2000‐2009?
11. What % of your funding goes to office running costs?
12. Is accountability given regarding this and to who?
13. Number of beneficiaries yearly…………………..
14. How do you give accountability to your donors?
15. How are your activities monitored by them?
16. Do you give accountability to others such as govt
17. Do you have your own accountant or is one appointed to you by the donor?
18. Do you make a profit from your activities? If so what is your profit used for?
19. What is the structure of your organization?
20. How are your Board members appointed?
21. What are their activities and responsibilities?
22. Are they paid for their activities?
23. How much paid staff members does your organization have?
24. Do you also have volunteers?
25. Do you work together with other organizations and does your organization take the lead?
26. (any background info on these questions, history of the organization)
27. Do each of your stakeholders have access to timely and accessible information on the activities
and decisions that affect them?
28. Are beneficiaries provided with information in a form that is meaningful to them on how
financial resources are being used to their benefit?
29. What is legally required regarding the publicity of information?
30. Does the organization work beyond borders of politics, religion, culture, race and ethnicity,
within the limits of the organizing documents?
31. How transparent is the organization in all dealings with the government, the public, donors,
partners, beneficiaries, and other interested parties, except for personnel matters and
proprietary information?
32. Are the organization’s financial information, governance structure, activities, and listing of
officers and partnerships open and accessible to public scrutiny?
33. Does the organization make an effort to inform the public about its work and the origin and use
of resources?
34. Does the organization give accountability not only to funding organizations and government but
also to the people served, staff, members, partner organizations and the public at ‐large?

35. Does the organization give out accurate information regarding itself and its projects?
36. Is this indicated in any document of the organization?
37. Do the organizing documents clearly define the mission, objectives, governance structure,
membership rights and obligations, if any, and rules of procedure?
38. Did the organization originate from voluntary action?
39. Does the organization regularly seek feedback on activities from beneficiaries and stakeholders?
40. Is evaluation an integral component of the planning process and figure in the strategic plan?
41. Does your organization have a policy establishing term limits for membership on the governing
body?
42. Has the governing board approved a code of ethics and conduct for the organization? if yes,
what is the number of years for individual terms?
43. Is there a restriction on the number of consecutive terms?

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