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There are a number of principles of international development cooperation on which there is a near consensus internationally and nationally:

  1. Participation
    The communities and authorities that benefit from projects and programmes must influence and determine how they are designed, implemented and managed.
  2. Partnership
    Projects and programmes should not be carried out exclusively by the NGO’s own structures but also include local partners such as authorities, companies, civil society organisations or representatives of poor communities’ interests. Aid is not about one-way giving and taking, but instead about cooperating with partners.
  3. Sustainability
    Projects and programmes should be designed so that they continue to have an impact after staffing and funding support have ended.
  4. Empowerment
    Many forms of development can only be promoted if the people concerned are able to organise themselves, articulate their interests and present them in political forums. NGOs call their support for this process of articulating one’s needs ‘empowerment’.
  5. Gender equality
    Development NGOs acknowledge that women and men have different opportunities and rights, and pay special attention to promoting and empowering women.
  6. Do no harm
    Development NGOs design their projects so that whatever happens, they do not harm the intended ‘beneficiaries’. To do this they must understand the effects of their plans on the various reference groups in the field and take precautions in their programmes and projects that avoid stirring up unwanted conflicts or unintended preferential treatment of individual actors.

Source: Peter Niggli (2008): Der Streit um die Entwicklungshilfe. Mehr tun – aber das Richtige. Rotpunktverlag, Zurich.