Merging international NGOs: would less be more?

Syria aid delivery with truck

Mercy Corps and the Overseas Development Institute host a discussion on the issue of consolidation in the international aid sector.


Tuesday 11th June 2019, 9am-10.30am
ODI, 203 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ
Register to attend or watch online here

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. Please note this is an invite-only event. If you would like to attend in-person, please register your interest here.


Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Secretary, UK Department for International Development (Keynote Speaker)
Sara Pantuliano, Acting Executive Director, ODI (Chair)
Jonathan Brooker, Head, Solidarités International UK
Nasra Ismail, Acting Director, Somalia NGO Consortium
Amanda Mukwashi, Chief Executive, Christian Aid
Simon O'Connell, Executive Director, Mercy Corps