Hindrances to Success

We followed up with those interviewees who indicated that their NGO had been either “not very successful” or “completely unsuccessful” in reaching at least one of its goals by asking about the reasons for the failure. As the results above indicate, success was infrequently evaluated as this low, and respondents often chose to provide only general reasons for the NGO’s lack of success in meeting its goals, not reasons specific to each goal. Consequently, we combined all the responses about hindrances to success mentioned by each interviewee and tabulated the percentage of those who cited each reason as a cause of their failure to reach at least one of their goals.13

Not surprisingly, inadequate funding, mentioned by 43 percent, emerged as, by far, the largest problem. A closely related response, inadequate equipment and supplies, cited by 29 percent, occupied the second position. The fourth ranked hindrance, shortages of staff and overworked staff (14 percent), and the sixth, lack of expertise or skills (11 percent), are also likely to be linked to funding shortages. We examine the effects of funding shortages on the NGOs in detail in chapter 7.

Small percentages of interviewees also cited problems in their relationships with government (14 percent), local communities or service recipients (18 percent), and other NGOs (7 percent). There were complaints about government’s lack of capacity to solve problems or help, about government inefficiency and corruption, about competition among communities and failure of communities to follow through on responsibilities they had agreed to assume, and about destructive competition among NGOs. These issues are examined in more detail in chapters 8, 9, and 10, respectively. The question about hindrances to reaching goals also evoked some responses not frequently encountered elsewhere. Several interviewees complained about disinterest in environmental issues among their target audience, about less educated citizens having difficulties understanding their message, and about resistance to change grounded in tradition or unwillingness to give up environmentally destructive practices on economic or survival grounds. In addition, one interviewee seized this opportunity to complain about corporate unwillingness to curb environmentally destructive practices, while another complained that businesses wanted them to provide training about environmental problems and solutions but were unwilling to pay for it.

Because of the limited number of cases, we examined differences among types of NGOs only by comparing the percentage of Type I and Type II NGOs that reported funding shortages and inadequate equipment and facilities and equipment as hindrances. Forty percent of Type I Cameroonian NGOs mentioned lack of funding as a reason for not reaching at least one of their goals, but the percentage for Type II NGOs (58 percent) was noticeably higher. The corresponding percentages for lack of resources were 30 and 33 percent.

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