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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Which universities and colleges in Scotland have international development courses?
Q. Can you help fund my studies in international development?
Q. My organisation is looking for funding – can you help?
Q. I’m thinking of setting up an international development organisation – can you help?
Q. Our organisation is looking for partners in Scotland – can you help?
Q. How can I find jobs with NIDOS members or volunteering in Scotland?
Q. How can I volunteer overseas?
Q. I have some old computers/books/other equipment that I’d like to send to communities overseas – can you help?
Q. Which NIDOS members work in X country or do X kind of work?
Q. Can my organisation or business be a member of NIDOS?
Q. Can I be a member of NIDOS as an individual?
Q. Can I advertise my (organisation’s) services, vacancies or events through NIDOS?
I can’t find an answer to my question here
A. The Development Studies Association is the best place for up-to-date information on this – see their Course Directory
A. NIDOS is not a funding organisation so cannot help directly and our member organisations cannot fund your course costs. A more likely source for this kind of funding is in the development studies sector i.e. academic funders. You may contact the Development Studies Association (DSA) for sources, such as the ESRC or AHRC who may support this kind of research.
The DSA also holds details of universities who themselves offer scholarships. These include the University of Edinburgh and International Institute for Health and Development. However, there are many more, which can be found using the DSA’s website.
However, some of our members may be interested in offering you a placement/internship, though it is unlikely that they will be able to afford to cover travel costs abroad for academic research. You can find individual organisations who have an office in Scotland by searching our member directory and look for internships they have on offer in our vacancies section.
A. Unfortunately NIDOS is not a funding body and does not have funds to distribute, so we are not able to support your organisation directly.
Our role is to support the development of member organisations based in Scotland. It is our members who work in international development, in many different countries. You can search our member directory for organisations who may be interested in potential partnerships. Please be aware that many members already have partnerships and if they are looking for new ones, they are likely to do this well in advance of making funding applications and this can take up to a year – so please do not expect any members to immediately agree to do joint funding applications. They will want to get to know your organisation well first.
We also have some free resources to help international development organisations find funding here. You can also sign up to our newsletter using the link on the right if you’d like to receive regular updates on funding.
A. Considering the following points before deciding to set up a new organisation could save you a lot of time and effort:
- Have you researched the existing organisations that might be interested in your area of work? It takes a lot of work to set up a new charity and then to run and develop it including reporting to regulators and funders, so it is sometimes much better to work with an existing agency.
- In order to research opportunities for partnering with other agencies or charities which work in international development, you can search our member directory for potential partners in Scotland or Bond for organisations throughout the UK.
If you have looked at all the options and you still feel that the best way ahead is to set up a new organisation, then the starting point is to set the vision and aims of the organisation.
It is worth considering who would be involved in that process by answering these questions:
- who is your organisation seeking to support?
- how have they been identified?
- how will they be involved in deciding the vision and priorities of your organisation?
- how will they be involved in decision making in your organisation?
- will they be represented on the management committee of the organisation?
- will they be involved in evaluation of progress?
- what discussion have you had / could you have with local government or other indigenous agencies to see what their strategies and priorities for development are and how your work fits in?
- What discussions have you had / could you have with members of the diasporan community in Scotland from the country(ies) in which you plan to work?
You will also need to think about administrative or ‘governance’ decisions such as what legal form your organisation will take. You will need to develop a constitution, set up a management committee, open a bank account and set up financial procedures, among many other things. See the OSCR website and the SCVO website for information on the many aspects of setting up a new organisation. Our Effectiveness Toolkit also has guidance on what systems are necessary for effective governance of an organisation, as well as links to useful resources.
In addition to making sure that your organisation is governed effectively, you will need to think about how your work will be accountable, sustainable, how you will monitor progress and learn from experience, and how you will foster effective partnerships. Browse our Effectiveness Toolkit for more on all these aspects.
A. If you are looking for international development organisation partners in Scotland you can search NIDOS’s member directory - our members work in a wide range of low income countries, including Malawi, and in many different fields of interest. If your organisation is particularly wanting to work in Malawi, you might also want to look at the Scotland Malawi Partnership website. Please be aware that many members already have partnerships and if they are looking for new ones, they are will want to get to know your organisation well and this will take time.
A. Please look at the paid jobs or volunteering opportunities that are available with NIDOS members on our vacancies page. You can sign up to our newsletter using the link on the right if you’d like to receive regular updates on vacancies. We have a very small staff team so job opportunities with NIDOS come up rarely, and we do occasionally advertise for volunteers – these opportunities will be posted on our vacancies page.
A. Please go to the volunteering overseas page for a list of our members who recruit volunteers and get in touch with them directly. This page also has some links to information on ethical volunteering and good practice for volunteer sending agencies – it is crucial that you check out the quality of the organisation’s work and placements and this section can guide you on how to do this.
A. It is great that you and others want to generously donate things for people overseas. Before deciding to send goods overseas though, it’s a good idea to consider the following:
- How do you know that the goods you intend to send are appropriate for, and needed by, the intended recipients?
- If you are intending to send computers or other equipment, do you know that the goods are working, safe for use and will be used safely and effectively? For example – is there a reliable electricity source and will people who know how to use the equipment and maintain it?
- What will the impact of sending the goods be on the local economy – will it undermine local businesses who are trying to sell such products?
- Does the potential benefit to the intended recipients justify the financial and environmental cost of transporting the goods? Or would it be better to sell the goods here and then send the money through a NIDOS member organisation to buy products overseas, which will also be good for the economy there?
If having considered these questions, you decide that sending the goods overseas is worthwhile, please search our member directory for organisations that send goods overseas and contact them directly to find out if they would like to send them on your behalf. Please also see this guide (pdf) if you plan to send things to Malawi.
A. Please visit our member directory which allows you to search our membership by the country they work in and the type of activity they do, and also by keyword.
A. Our full membership is open to not-for-profit organisations whose main focus is international development (your organisation does not have to be a registered charity) and our associate membership is open to social enterprises, consultancies and academic bodies with an interest in international development. Please visit our join page which gives details of the eligibility criteria and process for joining NIDOS.
A. NIDOS membership is restricted to organisations only. However, you can sign up for our free monthly electronic newsletter which will keep you up to date with our activities, news from the sector, sources of funding for international development work. Most of our training and events are open to non-members and individuals.
A. Yes – members can advertise for free and we have very reasonable rates for non member organisations and individuals. You can advertise through our newsletter or our website – we have a growing readership of NGOs, Scottish Government and DFID staff, MSPs, academics and interested individuals.
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