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NGOs need to improve
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16:38, June 12, 2008

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Chinese NGOs need to be more cooperative, professional and learn from international experience so that they can grow to become an important driving force for society, suggested two speakers in a video interview with People's Daily Online Tuesday.

Both of the speakers, associate professor Jia Xijin from Tsinghua University and Liu Hui, a UNV volunteer, highlighted the importance of learning advanced management and organization from international NGOs.

"Chinese NGOs are still in their early stages," Liu said. "They need to cooperate with and learn from the advanced management experience of international NGOs." Jia added that Chinese NGOs can also learn how to organize volunteers better. "Whether or not international NGOs can work well with local ones in the present quake relief, the international experience can be integrated into China," she said.

Liu Hui who has been to Sichuan province - severely damaged by the May 12 earthquake - was impressed by the professional way in which the South Korean rescue team did their job. This contrasted with some Chinese NGOs which worked with much passion but little preparation.

"The more professional an NGO is, the more successful it can be and the more efforts it can make," said Prof. Jia, stressing that NGOs should focus on the field they are"expert in."

Jia also stressed that NGOs should join hands to gain more understanding among the public. "NGOs compete for funding sometimes," she said, urging NGOs not to regard each other as "competitors." Chinese NGOs are generally quite small and the public knows little about them. Cooperation among NGOs is one of the important ways to change that.

Another improvement that NGOs should make is to develop long-term planning rather than short-term initiatives. Regular donations and participation into the social work is more important than "sudden actions," Jia stressed, hoping NGOs will draft strategic planning for their contribution to post-quake relief and reconstruction in Sichuan.

Both Jia and Liu are confident about the future of NGO development in China. There is a social need for NGOs. In the event of this earthquake, many people have realized they must to do something themselves instead of just waiting for help.

Jia believes that NGO participation into quake relief will help people understand and recognize an NGO's role. As a result, more people will join in.

As Liu put it, benefits for society can be maximized "as long as the government, NGOs, volunteers and the public work together."

By People's Daily Online

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