NGOs are powerful agents for change and have a crucial role to play

For over a century CBM has been devoted to improving the lives of people with disabilities in the poorest places on earth. Over that time we have developed proven community based programs that help millions of people benefit from real, lasting change.

As the Australian Government looks to build a contemporary international development program for the new decade it’s important to ensure that the role played by NGOs and the opportunities we provide in international development are not forgotten. In any aid program funded by the Australian Government it is paramount that the Australian public is assured that the program is effective and brings sound value for money.  One of the best ways is to ensure that Australian NGOs, with a long history in development and humanitarian responses, are priority partners in delivering aid activities.

The Australian Public donates over $1.2 billion dollars to Australian NGOs and their international development and humanitarian programs each year. This support compliments the activities funded by the Australian Government. At the pinnacle of this joint effort is the Australian NGO Cooperation program (ANCP); Australia’s longest running and largest NGO program. It supports projects in sectors including education, health, water and sanitation, food security, and economic development, and improves the lives of millions of people every year. It helps to increase access to healthcare and education, empower women and girls, improve access to safe water and sanitation, reduce inequalities and much more.

CBM is a proud DFAT ANCP partner. ANCP projects promote locally-led and sustainable development. ANCP projects also promote disability inclusion by requiring Australian partner NGOs to identify the barriers to inclusion, promote disability-inclusive practices throughout their programs and undertake assessments of their disability-inclusion practices. It is a strong means to ensuring that people with disabilities are not left behind by the efforts of the Australian aid program.

An evaluation of the ANCP in 2016-17 found that it represented around 2.7% of the aid budget yet delivered over 18% of the department’s development results. When compared to other development expenditure the ANCP reported the largest number of development results of any program in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

NGOs help to create greater prosperity and stability in our region. We have strong connections with communities in Australia and overseas. We also have specialist skills for example CBM uses ANCP funds to support inclusive orthopaedic services for children with disabilities in Ethiopia, community based rehabilitation services in Philippines, and self-help groups and disabled persons organisations in Bangladesh. Our approach to working with local partners and building the capacity of people on the ground ensures that this work is sustainable and long-lasting for those whose lives are changed.

NGOs like CBM are powerful agents for change, and play a crucial role in preserving and advancing human rights around the globe. During this time of reflection and improvement of the Australian aid program this cannot be forgotten. It is NGOs like CBM that keep people at the heart of an aid program and ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind.