Applying NGO Resource-mobilization Strategies to the Mine Action Community

by Dane Sosniecki and Suzanne Fiederlein [ CISR ] - view pdf

Due to funding concerns, the mine action sector is shifting its approach to resource mobilization and allocation. Emerging funding trends suggest that it would be advantageous for mine action centers and nongovernmental organizations to increase sustainability by seeking financial and technical support from a variety of sources.

With not enough safe land available, local people often
have no choice but to risk living and working near
mine fields.
All photos courtesy of Sean Sutton/MAG (Mines Advisory Group).With not enough safe land available, local people often
have no choice but to risk living and working near
mine fields.
All photos courtesy of Sean Sutton/MAG (Mines Advisory Group).

Mine action centers (MAC) and nongovernmental organizations (NGO) are re-evaluating the ways in which they procure financial and technical support due to concerns regarding the future prospects for donor support to mine action. Although international funding for mine action has remained relatively stable since 2006, the weak global economic recovery and competing demands have funders reassessing how to allocate resources more effectively.1 As a result, the mine action sector is undergoing a paradigm shift in its approach to resource mobilization and allocation. More emphasis on seeking nontraditional revenue sources, integrating mine action objectives with greater journal goals and leveraging existing resources are now regularly touted as ways to manage increasingly scarce resources. Reviewing best practices from nonprofits, NGOs and other civil-society organizations in larger, more traditional fields may assist the mine action community in enhancing its resource-journal strategies and ensure its continued relevance in the wider humanitarian sector.

Funding Trends in Mine Action

International assistance for mine action continues to fall short of what affected states request. In 2012, nearly US$500 million was provided in international support. However, according to the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the total cost of extensions to Article 5 of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention or APMBC)—which obliges States Parties to clear all known mined areas within their initial 10-year signing period—is estimated at $2.78 billion from 2009 to 2019. This number represents more than half of the total funding international donors provided from 1992 to 2008.1,2

Moreover, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a lack of adequate engagement and political support by donor and affected states creates a disconnect between the amount of dollars spent on mine action and the level of progress on the ground, thereby harming the prospects of increased international support.3

The fiscal year 2015 budget request for the U.S. Department of State’s Conventional Weapons Destruction program, managed by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA), is $127,595,000, representing a near 20-percent decrease in resources from fiscal year 2010.4 MAG America, cognizant of these trends, acknowledged that it expects funding from government sources to decrease in coming years. One of its top strategic priorities is diversifying its funding base and increasing unrestricted income.5

Thus, a rising trend toward a more efficient, performance-based mine action sector is developing. According to GICHD, stakeholders are less willing to fund or support activity without a measurable positive impact on affected communities or accept time-consuming, expensive mine-clearance work in areas that do not prove to contain mines.6

With traditional funders becoming more hesitant to back costly mine action activities, MACs and mine action NGOs must modify the nature of their dependencies and broaden the scope of their key journal inputs to include more nontraditional sources. The process of reviewing best practices for NGOs seeking resource diversification in more established fields can facilitate new diverse resource streams. Such tactics are potentially transferable to MACs and NGOs in the mine action field. By adopting a variety of these strategic responses and adapting them to a mine action context, MACs can successfully navigate the changing economic environment and achieve sustainable resource dependency.

The Importance of Resource Diversity

WDefused anti-personnel mines are sorted before being destroyed in a controlled demolition.Defuzed anti-personnel mines are sorted before being
destroyed in a controlled demolition.

Academic literature on transnational NGO-funding strategies—much of which is applicable to various actors in the mine action field—confirms that forming strategic partnerships with a diversified selection of resource providers helps alleviate the consequences of resource scarcity.7,8,9 According to resource-dependency theory, an organization is subject to external control when it depends on its external environment for a large proportion of a critical resource, such as funding. In his article “Strategic Responses to Resource Dependence Among Transnational NGOs Registered in the United States,” George Mitchell argues that the competition for increasingly scarce financial and technical resources may cause NGOs to become more donor-driven instead of need-driven, causing them to misalign their missions with donor preferences—which can lead to goal displacement, mission creep or mission vagueness. Ultimately, the pursuit of financial security forces NGOs to abandon their primary mission.7

In the most extreme cases, a lack of diversified revenue streams can devastate an organization, such as the closing of Survivor Corps in 2010. The abrupt cancellation of a major grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—a funder that had consistently supported Survivor Corps since 2000—triggered the organization's decision to cease operations. The enormous pressure put on its annual budget by the grant's termination (and the 2009 economic crisis) forced the organization to formally close its doors.10

Such outcomes can be avoided if MACs and mine action NGOs diversify dependencies. By adopting a holistic range of strategic responses used regularly by transnational NGOs, MACs can ensure continued relevance and survival in their operating environment. Such tactics include7

When the international community met in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2009 to reaffirm the commitment of States Parties, international organizations, and civil society to achieve a mine-free world, the Cartagena Action Plan was adopted with the aim of supporting enhanced implementation and promotion of the APMBC. Thus far, its implementation has reflected the more pragmatic realities of an increasingly resource-scarce and results-based field and has incorporated many of the strategic responses discussed previously.

According to the latest Geneva Progress Report, some emerging themes from the Cartagena Action Plan include:

Moreover, these emerging themes and strategic responses are not exclusive to States Parties of the APMBC. PM/WRA has long been a proponent of developing strategic partnerships through its Public-Private Partnership Program. With over 65 members in the program, PM/WRA engages with various NGOs, foundations, and civic, religious and educational groups to raise awareness, facilitate private contributions and foster cooperation between the private sector and affected countries in support of humanitarian mine action and efforts to control or destroy illicit conventional arms.18

Further evidence that these themes are beginning to take root has emerged in Southeast Asia where locally based NGOs in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have made significant strides to forming a community of collective mine action despite significant political and bureaucratic obstacles. In her article in Global Society on building communities of practice, Julie Gilson notes that, given the increased competition and the need to be more efficient in their resources, there was increased incentive for these NGOs to form strategic partnerships as it helped better their responses to the demands of the environment.19

These partnerships are still nascent, according to Gilson, as cooperation between these NGOs has been purely functional, driven by experiences, subject matter, the issue in question, personal ties, the immediate locality, and the collective realization that resources can be used more effectively. In many cases, meetings are held strictly as a desire to “see what other groups are doing,” but technical information exchange and resource sharing have also occurred.19 Nevertheless, such partnerships that leverage funding and technical support represent a new norm in the mine action field and will become even more necessary as organizations are forced to navigate the increasingly turbulent environment.

A deminer works in a field adjacent to a working farm in Angola.A deminer works in a field adjacent to a working farm in Angola.

Conclusion

Given the emerging funding trends in the mine action sector, it would be advantageous for MACs and mine action NGOs to become more sustainable by seeking financial and technical means from a variety of sources. A review of the current literature on NGO responses to resource dependency suggests this can take many forms, some of which have become clearly evident in the mine action community in recent years. In particular, the Cartagena Action Plan urges MACs and NGOs to form more strategic partnerships, leverage existing resources and employ tactics already being advocated by PM/WRA through its Public-Private Partnership Program. Evidence from the field also suggests diversifying streams of revenue by including private contributions and aligning organizational focus with nontraditional funders have been utilized. Regardless of the tactics taken, MACs and mine action NGOs must become serious about resource journal as their continued relevance and place in the changing mine action sector is increasingly at risk. c

 

Biographies

Dane SosnieckiDane Sosniecki is a research and editorial assistant for The Journal of ERW and Mine Action at CISR. He is earning his Master of Public Administration, specializing in strategic planning for international stabilization and recovery, from James Madison University (JMU). He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from JMU in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. An AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps alumnus, Sosniecki will begin serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia mid-2014.


Dr. Suzanne FiederleinDr. Suzanne Fiederlein joined CISR in 1999 and served as senior research associate and victim assistance team leader before becoming associate director in 2010. She has worked on projects related to victim assistance, International Mine Action Standards, mine risk education, mine action in Latin America, mine action database systems (specializing in casualty data), and program evaluation. In addition, she has coordinated the curriculum for CISR's Mine Action Senior Managers Course. She holds a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Arizona. She has served on the faculty of James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Her fields of academic research include refugee policy, international law and organizations, and Latin American politics.



Contact Information

Dane Sosniecki
Editorial Assistant
Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
James Madison University
800 S. Main Street, MSC 4902
Harrisonburg, VA 22807 / USA
Tel: +1 540 568 2718
Fax: +1 540 568 8176
Email: cisr@jmu.edu
Website: http://cisr.jmu.edu

Suzanne Fiederlein, Ph.D.
Associate Director
Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
James Madison University
Tel: +1 540 568 2718
Email: fiedersl@jmu.edu

Endnotes

  1. “Factsheet: International Support for Mine Action.” Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, May 2013. Accessed 25 February 2014. http://www.the-monitor.org/index.php/content/view/full/25007.
  2. Devlin, Jean. “Mine Action Funding: Trends, Modalities and Future Prospects.” Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, November 2010. Accessed 24 February 2014. http://old.gichd.org/fileadmin/pdf/ma_journal/LMAD-Funding-Report-Nov2010.pdf.
  3. “Clearance—ICBL Statement during the Special Session on International Cooperation and Assistance.” 13th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, Switzerland, 2–5 December 2013.
  4. “Congressional Budget Justification, Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs,” Fiscal Year 2015. Accessed 27 March 2014. http://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/9276/222898.pdf.
  5. “MAG America Job Description.” Mines Advisory Group. Accessed 14 February 2014. http://www.magamerica.org/sites/default/files/MAG%20America%20journal%20Director%20Job%20
    Description%20-%20Final.pdf
    .
  6. Hewitson, David and Arianna Calza Bini. “A General Evaluation of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).” GICHD, 22 June 2010. Accessed 14 February 2014. http://www.gichd.org/fileadmin/GICHD-resources/rec-documents/Evaluation-GICHD-June2010.pdf.
  7. Mitchell, George. “Strategic Responses to Resource Dependence among Transnational NGOs Registered in the United States.” Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 25, no. 1 (2014): 67–91. Accessed 20 March 2014. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11266-012-9329-2#page-1.
  8. Khieng, Sothy. “Funding Mobilization Strategies of Nongovernmental Organizations in Cambodia.” Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations Original Paper (August 2013). Accessed 21 February 2014. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11266-013-9400-7.
  9. Froelich, Karen. “Diversification of Revenue Strategies: Evolving Resource Dependence in Nonprofit Organizations.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 28, no. 3 (1999): 246–248. Accessed 20 March 2014. http://nvs.sagepub.com/content/28/3/246.abstract.
  10. “2010 Form 990 for Survivor Corps.” GuideStar. Accessed 21 February 2014. https://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/311/523/2010-311523298-076fc688-9.pdf.
  11. “Lebanon." Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor. Last modified 22 November 2013. http://www.the-monitor.org/index.php/cp/display/region_profiles/theme/2783.
  12. “Achieving the aims of the Cartagena Action Plan: The Geneva Progress Report 2012–2013.” 13th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, Switzerland, 2–5 December 2013. Accessed 20 March 2014. http://www.apminebanconvention.org/fileadmin/pdf/mbc/MSP/13MSP/13MSP-DraftReport-Sep2013-en.pdf.
  13. “UNMAS Mine Action Programming Handbook.” United Nations Mine Action Service, January 2012. Accessed 24 February 2014. http://reliefweb.int/report/world/unmas-mine-action-programming-handbook-2012.
  14. Rice, Elena. “Weapons and Ammunition Security: The Expanding Role of Mine Action.” The Journal of ERW and Mine Action 17, no. 2 (2013): 8–11. Accessed 20 March 2014. http://www.jmu.edu/cisr/journal/17.2/focus/rice.shtml.
  15. South-South cooperation is a defined as “a broad framework for collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains.” according to the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation. Accessed 20 March 2014. http://ssc.undp.org/content/ssc/about/faq.html.
  16. “Japan gives US$9 million boost to UXO clearance in Laos.” Asia News Network, 14 October 2013. Accessed 21 February 2014. http://www.asianewsnet.net/Japan-gives-US$9-million-boost-to-UXO-clearance-in-52800.html.
  17. “Panel 1: Assessing the Convention's Cooperation and Assistance Machinery—ICBL Statement during the Special Session on International Cooperation and Assistance.” 13th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, Switzerland, 2–5 December 2013. Accessed 20 March 2014. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC0QFjAA&url=
    http://www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/content/download/37900/551847/file/ICBL%2B13MSP%2BS
    tatement%2Bon%2BCooperation%2Band%2BAssistance-Panel%2B1.pdf&ei=lRIrU4ijF6vr0QGm1
    4G4BA&usg=AFQjCNER7sML86UPpGqw3MBFIHGwovz4bA&sig2=u6tPWJYNMwDo4fZcLJGvIw&bvm
    =bv.62922401,d.dmQ
    .
  18. “Public-Private Partnership Program Executive Summary” U.S. State Department Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA). Accessed 24 February 2014. http://www.state.gov/t/pm/wra/partners/c14760.htm.
  19. Gilson, Julie. “Learning to Learn and Building Communities of Practice: Non-governmental Organisations and Examples from Mine Action in Southeast Asia.” Global Society 23, no. 3 (2009): 269–293. Accessed 20 March 2014. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13600820902958055#.U1V5tF5qw8N.

 

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