Our Programmes



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

Merging international NGOs: would less be more?

Time (GMT +01) 08:00 09:30

Keynote speaker: 

Matthew Rycroft @MatthewRycroft1 – Permanent Secretary, UK Department for International Development



Sara Pantuliano @SaraPantuliano – Acting Executive Director, ODI



Jonathan Brooker @j12adb – Head, Solidarités International UK

Nasra Ismail @Nas_Isms – Acting Director, Somalia NGO Consortium

Amanda Mukwashi @AMukwashi – Chief Executive, Christian Aid

Simon O'Connell @sioconnell1 – Executive Director, Mercy Corps


NGOs have been central to efforts to improve the humanitarian system. Yet international NGOs are often criticised for a lack of coordination, destructive competition and unnecessary duplication – especially in ‘crowded’ and highly fragile contexts. Some have called for consolidation – reducing the number of international NGOs to increase efficiency and empower local and national organisations, particularly in protracted crises. This proposition warrants attention. Yet it is both complex and potentially controversial.

  • Aid effectiveness: Would consolidation of international NGOs increase efficiency and effectiveness, or would it create larger organisations with the same persistent challenges?
  • Localisation of aid: Would mergers create space for the localisation of aid and empowerment of smaller organisations, or would it lead to the increased dominance of a few ‘mega-agencies’?
  • Trust: Would consolidation demonstrate that international NGOs are sincere about increasing value for money and impact, or be seen as an attempt to grow market share?
  • Relationship with the public: Would mergers threaten the affinity people have with particular organisations and brands, or present an opportunity for a new narrative and new understanding?

This high-level debate on the benefits and risks of consolidating international NGOs is co-hosted by ODI and Mercy Corps. 

203 Blackfriars Road London