About this site

The NGO Coordination Centre was established to respond to a need for more resources and learning regarding NGO coordination in humanitarian contexts. This site is part of a wider effort of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) to support and facilitate NGO coordination in humanitarian response. It is the product of several years of research and practical experience that the ICVA Secretariat and ICVA members have had with NGO coordination.

ICVA’s role in NGO Coordination

In 1992, ICVA undertook an NGO Coordination Project, which mapped 150 field-based NGO coordination bodies around the world, examined some in detail, and developed a handbook that converted experiences into a ‘blueprint’ for setting up a field-based coordination mechanism. Since the early 1990s, ICVA has also offered practical support to in-country humanitarian coordination in Guatemala, Bosnia, Belgrade, Kosovo, Myanmar, and Sudan.

In the landscape of humanitarian response, a lot has changed since the mid-1990s.

In 2010, following the earthquake in Haiti, ICVA worked with InterAction to set up an NGO Coordination Support Office. From 2013, ICVA has provided support via its Regional Hubs based in Bangkok for Asia, Dakar for West Africa, and Amman for the Middle East and North Africa.

Also in 2010, ICVA commissioned research to examine what does and does not work well when it comes to NGO coordination. Strength in Numbers: An Overview of NGO Coordination in the Field (2011) describes nine case studies of NGO coordination bodies, along with an Overview Report and Lessons Learned. This research found that while NGO coordination takes place in many humanitarian contexts, it is with very little practical guidance for humanitarian coordination generally, and even less for NGO coordination specifically. As a result, ICVA commissioned the NGO Coordination Guide (2013; revised 2014) and this site.

This site is a ‘one-stop shop’ for NGO coordination in humanitarian contexts, including sudden-onset disasters and conflicts, protracted emergencies, and humanitarian contexts of ongoing vulnerability. You will find:

  • Support for practitioners who are looking for practical guidance for their work in NGO coordination and its links with other humanitarian coordination mechanisms, as well as platforms for doing this;
  • A place for practitioners to share information and exchange ideas, help solve problems, network, learn about effective (best) practice and learn from the experiences of others;
  • Guidance on humanitarian coordination with other key stakeholders; and
  • A hub to link practitioners to many other relevant existing sites.
  • Support for preparedness through information gathering, building awareness and building relationships;
  • Support for introductions between practitioners and inductions and briefings for new staff in organisations or new staff to a country or region; and
  • Guidance for more consistency and predictability in NGO coordination.

However, this site:

  • Is not an NGO coordination mechanism in itself;
  • Does not focus on other development contexts such as disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation (CCA), or resilience, nor broader areas of protection and human rights, though it may still provide relevant information for individuals and organisations working in those areas; and
  • Is not intended to support live operational coordination for specific emergency responses.
  • If you have questions about or suggestions for the site, or would like to submit content, please write to secretariat@icvanetwork.org.