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I recently wrote — with some glee — about rogue NGOs. Now we’ll look at some good NGOs and reasons to be optimistic about development.

I love this month because it’s my sister’s birthday. I hate this month because it also means International Women’s Day on the 8th.

I had another column written for this month, but a recent government declaration regarding Article 10 in the Law on Enterprises made me jump for joy and write this instead.

Somaly Mam ran an NGO in Cambodia set up to combat the global sex trade before it was discovered that her own personal story about being trafficked was fake

Heavens, looks like those who should know better are up to it again. By that I mean the continuing fallout from charities that aren’t quite walking their talk.

Over meetings with child-rights partners who work on anti-trafficking initiatives, I was asked — and not for the first time — why I do what I do (the questioners naturally were in happy favour of my ‘altruism’). But my answer perplexed them greatly.

 

A community development group I belong to has been lately discussing power dynamics. It got me thinking about a country director I once knew. She did not arrive at her new posting full of ‘can do’ ideas and attitudes about how to (quickly) ‘fix’ things within that ailing organisation.

NGOs are in the news with jet-setting executives being grounded and dire warnings that reputations are in jeopardy because charities can’t control their boardroom and C-suite extravagances.

Philanthropy has become an umbrella term for just about any type of benevolent activity. But what about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social enterprise? Is there a difference? Welfare capitalism, corporate philanthropy, ethical investing, charity and yes, CSR, are all terms used to signify ‘doing well’ financially with ‘doing good’ socially.

Keen readers will note this month marks the first anniversary of this column. And like a newborn in her first year of development and growth, I’ve been learning to focus my vision, reach out, explore and learn about the things around me (whee!).

It’s no secret I love a good international day, especially the lesser known ones that don’t come with their own celebrity endorsement (ack!). This month will see the celebration of World Population Day and that’s got me thinking about a few things.

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