Given the presence of these international NGOs, is there a need for a local wildlife conservation NGO?

The answer to this question is most definitely yes. Local NGO’s are best placed to embed conservation principles locally, through credible programmes and on the ground achievements. For all NGO’s this takes a real determination, and is often best achieved through local action for local issues.

A national Fijian NGO’s agenda will be determined locally and is likely to be in Fiji’s best interests. Being run by locals for local benefit and being able to generate membership locally gives great strength to the local NGO’s voice. International NGO’s agenda’s are not always adapted for the local context, and they may struggle to be as close to local communities as a local NGO.

The Challenge

The challenge for all NGO’s is generating the funds necessary to achieve their agendas and to be able to do this over time as successful conservation, especially community-based conservation is not achieved in short time frames. As well as the financial resources required it takes time, perseverance and consistent engagement on conservation issues to effect change.

For all NGOs there are administrative costs and overheads that need to be met. Initially these are typically met by the voluntary endeavours of a few dedicated individuals and this can not be sustained over time if the NGO has an ongoing function and if it aspires to succeed. This ongoing need for core support needs to be recognised as a critical success factor. Without this, the efforts of a few tireless and well intentioned individuals typically die away over time. Doing ad hoc projects driven by funders is another possible outcome. To mitigate these risks administrative support is vital from the outset and all prudent and credible NGO’s do this with transparency and a lean attitude.

Much can be learnt by the local NGO from the international NGO’s as they are experienced and sophisticated fundraisers. Their grant application machinery using the issues present in countries such as Fiji shows that international resources can be attracted to conservation in Fiji. There is a perception that their presence has stifled the formation of a local conservation constituency and local conservation NGOs. However, the reality is that this may be a function of many other factors including timing, awareness by Fijians of their own heritage, and other preconditions for local NGO establishment not being met e.g. dedicated individual who have the determination to make this NGO happen.

 

Short Term Projects?

Another common perception is that the international donor funding cycles dictate short term projects, with reports of communities with unfulfilled expectations. Complaints of lack of follow-up and hopelessly inflated claims of success are able to be levelled at any organisation.

Such organisations are characterised by limited resources, a project approach, being donor driven rather than having a well conceived strategy that engages properly with the local communities and attempts to understand and meet their aspirations.

 

NatureFiji – MareqetiViti’s Solutions

Nature Fiji understands these complexities. It believes that now is the time to set up a local NGO because the preconditions for success are in place. In this respect NatureFiji-MareqetiViti:

  • has a team of highly-experienced and dedicated locals who want to make the NGO successful;
  • has administrative support built into its plans;
  • has developed an initial programme focus;
  • believes passionately that a membership base will be a strength and have realistic plans to recruit supporters;
  • is committed to developing the conservation heart of Fiji through programmes which reach school children;
  • recognises that it cannot deliver conservation alone and will work Government, and with others who share similar gaols; and has a realistic financial projection.

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Our Solution

Nature Fiji understands these complexities. It believes that now is the time to set up a local NGO because the preconditions for success are in place