EDITORIAL: Use of funds by INGOs working for Rohingyas

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Reduce the inordinately high operational cost

When as much as 80 percent of total donations for the Rohingyas is spent on operations by international NGOs (INGOs), one wonders what is left for those that the bulk of the money is meant for. Reportedly, this finding is fairly representative of many of the INGOs operating in Cox's Bazar. It is surprising that in some cases the operational cost of INGOs in Cox's Bazar was five times higher than what was laid out in the programme requirement. These findings, in a study recently released by the Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust, are problematic on many counts.

Firstly, given that there is always a resource crunch for the refugees, should the INGOs be spending such huge amounts of money meant for helpless Rohingyas stranded in a foreign land? Secondly, many INGOs seem to have overlooked the need to ensure aid transparency and incorporate local actors in the humanitarian response system to reduce costs which is contrary to their commitment to the Charter 4 Change (C4C) and Grand Bargain (GB).

We greatly appreciate the prompt response of the INGOS to the grave humanitarian situation faced by the Rohingya refugees. Their timely intervention has helped to ameliorate the plight of the refugees to a large extent. But we feel that there must be rational allocation to run the operations so that the bulk of the money can be used for those it is meant for.

The stakeholders may look into this matter and consider alternative ways of disbursing funds. One way could be giving funds directly to local NGOs which would help reduce transaction costs. An independent monitoring body should also be formed to oversee the expenditures of both local NGOs and INGOs.

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