The organisation is called GROW and its website is: http://www.growmovement.org/theidea.html
I definitely believe in joining hands with people and organisations that share your purpose and do similar work since it makes for a much more efficient work and learning process overall. Being systematic is especially important in the social sector where there is so much more at risk.
I often find that the people who get all excited about what new thing they can bring to the table are also often more concerned with what they can bring to the table.
Which is not the point.
- If other organisations are doing what you do, go find out abut them, find out about their successes and failures and the conditions that led to these outcomes.
- Reinventing the wheel is always an inefficient thing to do, but when it involves peoples' lives and public or philanthropic funds, it's also an irresponsible thing to do.
- And most importantly, rather than always trying to start up an organisation of your own, try to join hands with someone who's already doing what you are doing. Maybe forge a partnership with them, or even persuade them to open a branch office in the region where you want to work. This is not just a way to cut initial costs but also a way to apply lessons they have already learnt, and hence make the lives of your target beneficiaries better, faster.
- Unfortunately, the nonprofit / social sector doesn't work this way. It's competitive, and organisations are vying for a limited set of funds especially in developing countries. This means that an organisation is often sucked into prioritising its own sustenance over that of its constituents' welfare.... sound a bit like the political establishment ?!! Not too different...
But since I am determined to have a go at the nonprofit setting up, I at least plan to push for an extensive collaboration with this group over the next few years. I want to learn about their challenges and how they met them. Especially interesting would be comparative reports on how the same nonprofit (meaning nonprofits that do the exact same work) would have to tailor its operations to the country it works in. Such comparative reports are then helpful to future nonprofits as well.
All in all, I believe collaboration - not competition - is key, to a reasonable point.
So hopefully I can get one started with this group!