NGOs & non-profit associations

1 Mediation, facilitation, teambuilding, conflict culture

Staff at NGOs (non-governmental organizations) often approach their work with high expectations of themselves and are generally less well paid than in the business world. The non-profit sector thus sets high store by a positive working milieu that makes for friction-free relations and by an atmosphere that will motivate staff to give of their best.

Whatever the organization’s particular field – development cooperation, emergency assistance, or other forms of social work and charitable activity, putting communication on the agenda can focus on energies that are lying dormant because of conflicts and release them for productive work, notably in connection with:

  • Tensions/conflicts between structures and individuals (fields of responsibility, procedures, communication)
  • Conflicts between management, board, and individual staff members
  • Strategy development, teambuilding
  • Restructuring
  • Conflicts with sponsors or partner organizations

Know-how in the area of communication will not only increase productivity and satisfaction for team-members: additionally, it will benefit project-work with and for people.

2  Violence prevention and gender analysis in the field of development cooperation

Communication, violence prevention, and conflict culture play an important role in the success of development cooperation projects, especially in the field.  This is true with respect both to the project team and the project’s target groups.


Even projects with funds running into millions can fail if (inter-cultural) misunderstandings – whether within the team or between the team and the beneficiaries – are not ironed out promptly.

When sectors of the population in the project area suffer from tensions due to resource shortages or political pressures, violence prevention and peace work may well be critical areas of activity.

The link between women´s participation and sustainable peace processes has been stressed by UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (October 2000). NGOs and other stakeholders are called upon to focus on the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution.

In this context, important insights can be gained from analyses of behaviour patterns between the sexes (in other words, of relationships between men and women in a given society).


More and  more studies focus on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls and on the role of women in peacebuilding.

Giving consideration to the 'gender aspect' often reveals the necessity for certain appropriate measures, which in the longer term can have a very favourable influence on the success of the project. In order to enable women to participate in project activities and meetings, for instance, it is necessary to approach the men involved and talk to them about the issue in concrete terms.

It has often been shown that women’s empowerment and a focus on gender equality can bring about improvements in the quality of life of the population as a whole. Thus 'gender mainstreaming' has become crucial in todays development work. The necessary measures are not infrequently relatively easy to implement.

Mediation in the field of development cooperation can be practised with the help of a variety of measures, notably the following:

  • Enhancing levels of inter-cultural communication
  • Teambuilding
  • Gender analyses, particularly with respect to project goals
  • Gender-sensitivity training for project staff and target groups
  • Violence prevention among project beneficiaries, especially for women and children
  • Training on conflict culture and conflict management for the project team and/or target group
  • Communication monitoring and evaluation – particularly with a view to raising levels of communication amongst the target groups

more about mediation for non-profit organisations