Impact of Non-Governmental Organization Activities at World Conference against Racism
This evaluation sought to assess the impact of Minority Rights Group’s (MRG) programme linked to the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR). In particular, it looked at the impact for the NGOs that MRG supported in participating at this conference, as well as a series of linked activities. This evaluation used a downstream method, where it attempted to find out all the different effects of the support MRG provided to NGOs during the time frame around the WCAR, regardless of whether they were intended by MRG or the associated NGOs. This method is described by the evaluator as “the idea that attempts to improve a human rights situation or to bring about development can be monitored in terms of pouring dye into a stream and observing where it eventually reaches and can be observed”. A special effort was made to question the NGO staff contact to inquire if their organizations met any unintended side effects or negative impacts alongside the positive ramifications, which tend to be mentioned at the exclusion of all else.
In summarizing the achievements linked to MRG’s WCAR program, a few major achievements were found. These included increasing the influence of an NGO with other NGOs, involving an NGO with a United Nations human rights procedure, encouraging public debate on discrimination issues, getting involved in economic development initiatives, and finally improving an NGO’s external communications. The negative outcomes were fewer, but included occasionally provoking a negative reaction, unfulfilled expectations, or frustration taken out on a representative that attended the WCAR. It also examined two cases in further depth: Columbia and Fiji. The evaluation summarized that the supportive role played by MRG was compared favourably to the roles pursued by other international NGOs, who appeared to place their own organizational interests first and did relatively little to enable other groups affected by discrimination in reaching their goals.