In the past century, the number of world-wide NGOs has ballooned from roughly 400 to over 25,000. Though efforts have been made to professionalize the field of humanitarian engagement, serious flaws still exist in the ways NGOs develop and respond to emergencies. For instance, many funders require that international NGOs work with community-based organizations or local NGOs. In many situations, however, local organizations may be non-existent or ill-qualified to administer programs. As a result, services provided through hastily created local partners can be detrimental to the host community and can waste substantial amounts of time and money. A case study from eastern DRC will illustrate some of the pitfalls inherent in responding to disasters in an under-developed conflict environment. A basic set of guidelines are developed to outline the criterion for healthy partnerships between international and national NGOs.
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