Panel Discussion Report 20: The Role of NGOs and the Concept of Mission Drift.

Overview of the point discussion:

After reforming a group for the panel discussion, two of my group colleges and I, started discussing on what the topic might be for our panel presentation. At first, we began to review some of the most typical topics on NGOs, civil society and human rights, our first choice was of women rights but later on because of what we observed from other discussion, a couple of groups more or less have already raised this topic in their presentations. Thus, we decided to come up with a topic that hasn’t quite been raised yet. After few researches, we came to a conclusion that many of the topics that has been discussed so far, do not concentrate on some of the negative impacts/negative misconducts from a general point of view among the NGOs nowadays. Consequently, we decided to discuss about the role of NGOs in the society generally whether from a positive or negative impacts and the mission drift as being the biggest negative aspect among some of them.

The process:

Our group only consisted of three members, Hamdhan from Maldives, Zaveem from Serilanka and me, from Afghanistan. We divided the parts among ourselves as my college Zaveem became the moderator, Hamdhan and I the panelists. Hamdhan took the part of the panel discussion speaking about the role of NGOs generally and the kind of impacts it brings to society as a “development alternative”. However, my part appeared to be more sophisticated as I am supposed to learn about the mission drift among the NGOs and what reasons might lead the NGOs to suffer from such. Collecting information was the most difficult part as I had to go through many of the studies and researches that has been done on many of the NGOs through the years (you can review one of these studies from the references below).

Implementation:

Our group worked hard on this panel discussion, as we met more than a few times to share and discuss the topic. One of the main strengths, we helped and each other in our parts, by collecting information and bringing to light some ideas and former knowledge that we had. One weakness that comes to mind, our topic was a broad topic and it most certainly required more than a couple panelists to cover the whole picture. Nevertheless, our group managed to cover some of the main points of the topic, and hopefully we achieved that at our panel discussion.

Learning/Reflection of the Panel Discussion and conclusion:

Before our panel discussion, I mostly feared the possibility of not being able to illustrate enough the points of our panel discussion to the audience. Nonetheless, I believe that each of our group members did their best throughout the panel discussion. I was a bit nervous at the beginning constantly asking myself on how I would handle the questions? Or am I going to lose my train of thoughts during the presentation, or whether the audience would understand clearly the concepts that I underline. That’s mostly because of my own experience during the collection of information about the topic ‘mission drift’, I certainly benefited a lot from this topic and learned more about civil society and NGOs in general and more specifically about mission drift. However, the concepts of it was a bit complex to understand, which raised some fears in me on how to manage to simplify and clarify such a complicated topic in a short period of time. After all, I think I did well on my part besides, this was a great opportunity for me to work on more on my public speaking skills. At the end of the panel discussion, I was looking forward to questions from the audience but unfortunately there were none, not quite sure was it because of the time or because of our performance in the panel, all that I can hope and wish for, that it was for a good reason.

References: http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/docs/ngocivil.php http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-governmental_organization http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2072157 http://citation.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/5/0/1/7/5/pages501758/p501758-6.php

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