16 de Enero de 2018
Portal Educativo de las Américas
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Colección: Trends for a common future
Autor: Noel F. McGinn
Título: Toward International Cooperation in Education for the Integration of the Americas

Aid and Assistance from NGOs

NGOs, with and without subsidies from their governments, have made significant contributions to a number of educational institutions, especially in higher education. The variety of NGOs that maintain relations with organizations in the Americas is too great for a comprehensive review in this paper. Instead, the objective here is to discuss major types of relationships in terms of the benefits and costs associated with them.

Non-governmental organizations of all types were active in international cooperation long before the bilateral and multilateral agencies were created. Catholic and Protestant organizations in Europe and the Americas began to provide various forms of aid before Independence and continue to be active today; the International Red Cross was created before 1900; the Rockefeller Foundation in the early 1900s; the World University Service in 1919; Save the Children Foundation in 1932. Between 1919 and 1939 NGOs in the United States spent more than $8 billion on overseas aid. Most of the funds went through religiously affiliated organizations, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish. Some of these funds were spent in the Americas, although most went to Europe and Asia (Smith, 1990).

In most cases governments in their home countries encouraged these organizations. Governments in Europe often provided subsidies to their NGOs, while the U.S. government did not. In both cases, however, their governments saw the NGOs as carriers of national values and culture and, in some cases, the reports of their workers in the field helped to inform economic and military decisions by the government.

The close connection between NGOs and government in the United States intensified after World War II, when President Truman created the Voluntary Foreign Aid Committee within the U.S. State Department. A number of NGOs had staff and offices overseas; in return for their cooperation with the government they received financial support from the U.S. government. The coalition of NGOs and government served several functions:
  • persuading U.S. public opinion of the importance of foreign assistance;
  • delivering assistance in countries in which governments were considered unreliable;
  • reducing pressure on the United States government to work with United Nations’ agencies considered to be controlled by the Soviet Union;
  • legitimating U.S. aid by identifying it with private rather than government sources (Smith, 1990).
Collusion of interests between the government and NGOs is less in Canada, and in Europe, than it is in the United States. Even for those NGOs that receive public funds, government restrictions are less, and governments make less explicit use of the organizations to achieve state political objectives. At the same time, proportionately more of the private-sector organizations in Canada and Europe have explicit political objectives, and more from time to time formally criticize their governments’ policies and practices with regard to other countries. As a consequence these NGOs are more likely to cooperate with non-governmental (and even anti-government) educational institutions in the aid receiving countries (Helmich & Lemmers, 1998).19

In some cases aid is provided through non-governmental organizations in the North (or more industrialized countries) to non-governmental organizations in the South (or less industrialized countries). This cooperation can range from the Northern NGO contracting services from the South NGO to complete autonomy by the Southern NGO in use of support from the North (Leach, 1994). These relationships have proven difficult to maintain in Africa because of the extreme asymmetry in institutional capacity, resources and power (Elu & Banya, 1999).

[INDEX] [Presentation] [Introduction] [The Evolution of International Cooperation in Education in the Americas] [Cooperation After Nationalism] [International Cooperation as Supranationalism] [Cooperation for International Development] [Resistance to Aid] [Cooperation as Collaboration within Latin America] [Cooperation as Structural Adjustment] [The Current Situation of Education in the Americas] [Current Status of Education] [Summary] [Current Forms of International Cooperation] [Aid as a Form of International Cooperation] [Varieties of Aid] [Uniformization as a Consequence of Aid] [Aid or Assistance from Bilateral and Multilateral Organizations] [Cooperation by Transnational Corporations] [Aid and Assistance from NGOs] [Aid by Philanthropic Foundations] [Aid Mediated through Educational Institutions] [International Cooperation in the Form of Collaboration] [Examples of Collaboration in Higher Education] [Obstacles to International Collaboration in Higher Education] [Examples of Collaboration Between Non-governmental Organizations] [Other Instances of Collaboration] [Summary] [Globalization and International Cooperation] [The New Industrial Paradigm] [Implications of the New Industrial Paradigm for Education] [The New Development Model] [An Outline of a New Paradigm for Education] [Alternative Approaches to International Cooperation in Education] [An Example of Regional Collaboration to Develop a New Paradigm] [Notes] [References]