“The cases of bad practices among Development NGOs are exceptional” (CONGDE)


(Madrid, April 10, 2007). In light of the recent news published in the press, the Coordinator for Spanish Development NGOs, CONGDE, wishes to issue the following statements:

The DNGOs are the most interested in managing with the maximum rigour and that the resources we use may reach those who most need them. Therefore, we also wish that any case of irregularity be clarified and investigated as needed.

The current legal framework demands NGOs the duty to render accounts; economic and activity reports must be filed periodically in the associations registries or at the corresponding foundation protectorates; regarding public source funds, detailed reports of execution of such funds must be presented and will be analyzed by the corresponding public entity and might be further reviewed by the corresponding inspectorate and even by specialized courts; specialized means and legal controls do exist, enabling public administration entities the verification of our work and management.

Generally speaking, DNGOs carry out a highly qualified and complex work with high levels of professionalism and always focused on the fight against poverty in the countries of the South. This implies shared values which are tied to our behaviour, ethics and the transparency of our own actions. Fortunately, the cases where irregularities have occurred among DNGOs are exceptional.

DNGOs must be transparent in their policy, practices, budget, staff and those persons who represent them. They must publish such information and facilitate external control of their resources and activities. As a consequence, the CONGDE publishes a directory (www.congde.org) where each one of the DNGO members state clearly and publicly detailed information about their source of funds and about the project activities both in Spain and in the countries of the South.

Almost 10 years ago, the DNGOs that are members of the CONGDE, approved a Code of Conduct as a compulsory requirement for all organizations integrated in the CONGD. In order to promote its use and control its compliance, a follow up committee was created. It includes DNGO representatives and other individuals. The Code of Conduct contains ethical principles which are accepted collectively by all DNGOs, requirements which are related to its own institutional autonomy and its activity, always within the law.

On the basis of this code, the DNGOs are committed to facilitate periodical information about their lines of activity, programmes, objectives and resources to their donors (members and others) and to the associations with whom they work as well as being transparent in their policy, practices and budgets with activities always focused on the organization's mission.

News about scandals at DNGOs tends to affect the sector as a whole, even if they are exceptional situations specific to one single entity. This is why the CONGD asks the media to consider the impact that ambiguous, general or out of context information may create an unjustified lack of confidence among society on the social and humanitarian work of the whole NOG sector and foster an image linking solidarity with fraud.

The Coordinator asks the media to search for the truth in their information and provide a constructive approach trying always to verify the information provided through public and private accessible sources.

The Coordinator reminds that most DNGOs are made up of volunteers and staff, boards of trustees, directors, members, donors and other collaborators who influence the organization to which they belong. We propose that all involved may demand information and explanations.

Finally, we remind that any DNGO who is neither a member of the CONGD or has not been audited does not necessarily mean it is suspected of bad practices or bad quality in its work.