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Why don’t INGOs in Australia co-operate?

Why don’t INGOs in Australia co-operate?

The Australian development sector is in a period of change, challenging us all to think about what we do, how we do it, and how we could do it better.

In particular, as resource constraints become an ever greater challenge for the sector, it seems timely to consider what resources and opportunities we’re not using to their fullest potential.

As many are beginning to suggest, there’s one big opportunity that the Australian development sector has failed to capitalise on. That’s the opportunity to enhance our collective impact by opening up and working better together.

With so many major INGOs based in Australia, all striving for positive global change, there is a vast base of knowledge, skills and resources spread across (and split amongst) the many agencies in this space. What if more of these resources were brought together and our efforts were combined? What benefits might we see, and how might our overall contribution to development be enhanced?

Despite the benefits that we might intuitively expect to arise from enhanced development co-operation, it is clear there are a range of barriers to direct collaboration between INGOs. This raises a number of important questions.

  • What are these barriers?
  • Are they valid?
  • How might they be overcome?
  • Can they be?

To discuss these ideas and questions, the Oxfam-Monash Partnership is hosting a public discussion next Thursday, 15 May, aimed at bringing together leaders from throughout the development sector to reconsider how we might break out of organisational silos and better combine our development efforts.

The event will feature a number of keynote speakers, including Marc Purcell (Executive Director, ACFID), Helen Szoke (CEO, Oxfam Australia) and Joanna Hayter (CEO, International Women’s Development Agency). These speakers will share their reflections on the prospects of inter-INGO collaboration, before allowing time for questions and discussion. Refreshments will also be served at the conclusion of the presentation, to allow time for continuing these important discussions.

For event details, register. Registrations are compulsory and filling up fast, so we suggest that you RSVP as soon as possible.

Futures FINAL (1)

For those who want to continue these conversations further, or who can’t make Thursday’s event, we will also host a series of follow-on workshops that will allow more time and space to explore these questions in greater depth, and to identify strategies that we can all take forward to promote collaboration within the sector.

Information on these workshops will be posted on our website in the near future. However, in the meantime feel free to contact Alex Kennedy ( or Anna Donaldson ( ) for more information. We look forward to meeting and talking with many of you soon.

Anna Donaldson works in Melbourne as the Program Officer for the Oxfam-Monash Partnership, while also completing a Masters in Public Policy and Management.

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One thought on “Why don’t INGOs in Australia co-operate?

  1. […] What if more NGO resources were brought together and our efforts were combined? What benefits might we see, and how might development improve?  […]

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