Future Calling

Future Calling

How INGOs can help transform societies: thick solutions for thick problems. Join us!   ▶

Introduction to our 'Future calling' dossier

The future is calling!

Our world is changing quickly and profoundly. Rich and poor – regardless of where they live – are faced with increasingly ‘thick’ problems and social change is more politicized and contested than ever before. And yet, most international development NGOs keep offering ‘thin’ solutions to these problems. Solutions geared to measurable material success. Solutions that are aimed at increasing participation in unsustainable economies and polities.

The Broker is hosting a debate to discuss the future of INGOs in a changing global world. This debate takes place in the context of the Hivos knowledge initiative Future Calling.

The kick-off of this debate is given by Michael Edwards, who argues that INGOs should challenge themselves to leave behind the trodden path and contribute to a fundamental change of economies and societies. In his think piece titled ‘Development INGOs – retirement, replacement or rejuvenation?’ he poses the questions that inform our debate:

-        Is it time for INGOs to leave behind the task of strengthening their leverage within a conventional development frame? How can they broaden their perspective to respond to the thick problems of our time?

-        How can INGOs rejuvenate themselves and seize the opportunities for being the much-needed agents of transformation?

-        Or is it perhaps time for INGOs to retire? Should they be replaced by other institutions or movements that better fit the messy political challenges of our day?

You are warmly invited to join the debate! We welcome your personal and critical reflections on the future of INGOs, phrased in 500 words (max. 1000) and with a short bio and picture for your author profile.

You can send your contributions to

Join us and join Hivos in this exploration of the future. 


Our dossiers thoroughly examine selected topics and we frequently post discussion questions regarding them. We welcome your contributions to the discussions.