Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, July 29, 2013

Report advises NGO on expansion for East Africa aid program

Available online

Brokering Development Assistance in East Africa: A Policy Analysis
Prepared for the Global Livingston Institute by Mengwei Deng, James Galindo, Troy Hoppenjan, Katherine Mitchell and Steven Swedberg

A nongovernmental organization offering development assistance in northern Rwanda and southwestern Uganda has some new ideas for how to expand its services, thanks to recommendations from a group of La Follette School students.

To help the Global Livingston Institute become a broker of development assistance in East Africa, students in the Workshop in International Public Affairs examines ways the agency can meet development needs. "We recommend that GLI reinforce and expand its capacities by developing a structured online database to match volunteer interests with nonprofit partner needs," says Katherine Mitchell, one of the report's authors. "This option is the most pertinent and feasible of our policy alternatives. In making our recommendation, we assume that this option will follow improvements in transparency, program evaluation, and funding sources critical to successful adoption of any new policy by the Global Livingston Institute."

Mitchell and co-authors Mengwei Deng, James Galindo, Troy Hoppenjan and Steven Swedberg produced the report under the direction of professor Melanie Manion.

They present two analyses. "First, we examine the GLI's structure and activities, particularly funding and current projects," Hoppenjan says. "Based on our review of literature on nonprofit management, we recommend several improvements for GLI's internal practices: greater public transparency, institution of mechanisms for program evaluation, and diversified funding."

The authors developed three policy options for GLI to consider. They recommended an online database as the best alternative over establishing a conference center for nongovernmental organizations or using volunteers to collect data for nongovernmental organizations and public service providers in East Africa.

The study follows a 2012 GLI assessment that drew attention to the needs of the Batwa people, a forest-dwelling group that has suffered decades of discrimination, disenfranchisement, displacement, and a lower standard of living than other populations in the region. GLI prefers to focus any expanded efforts on providing for the needs of Rwanda's Musanze district and the Batwa community.