USAID Releases NGO Sustainability Report

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today released the 12th edition of the NGO Sustainability Index, a key analytical tool that measures the progress of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Europe and Eurasia region.

USAID Acting Assistant Administrator for Europe & Eurasia, Susumu (Ken) Yamashita said, "USAID is pleased to have been a partner with the NGO community in the region over nearly the past 20 years. We firmly believe that a strong civil society is the key to a robust and sustainable democracy. USAID is pleased to provide this information to our partners and all development practitioners, in the interest of sharing regional and country trends on the strength and effectiveness of civil society."

USAID tracks the progress of the NGO sector in 29 countries in Europe and Eurasia. Contained in the 12-year collection is a historical record that provides a wealth of data on each country. This year's Index indicates NGOs across Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia continued to pursue their roles as key agents of change in their societies. They faced diverse and wide-ranging challenges, from basic struggles with registration to recruiting volunteers to fine-tuning favorable tax provisions. While gaps persist between the more developed NGO sectors of Central and Eastern Europe versus those of Eurasia, NGOs in more developed countries were not immune from organizational and funding problems, and NGOs in even the most repressive countries managed to make their voices heard. This report seeks to capture the complex and dynamic nature of these trends and tendencies.

Two articles highlight trends that significantly affect NGO sustainability in the region. In "NGO Service Provision to the Public: Impacts on Civil Society and Democracy," Kristie Evenson explores the growing importance of service delivery NGOs. Elizabeth Warner, in "Public Financing Mechanisms and Their Implications for NGO Sustainability," examines mechanisms that governments throughout the region are using to finance NGO activities: state funds, contracting, taxpayer designation systems, and subsidies.

USAID's NGO Sustainability Index examines the overall enabling environment for civil society, focusing on seven dimensions: legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure, and public image. Each country report provides an in-depth analysis of the NGO sector along with comparative information regarding prior years' dimension scores, which are encapsulated in easy-to-read charts. Dimension scores for 1997-2008 are summarized in Annex A. The full report can be found on USAID's Europe and Eurasia Website,