Challenges facing International NGOs and their expats

October 27, 2020
Populations around the world are struggling with the environmental impact of global warming, increasing numbers of displaced people and political instability in a number of regions overlaid with the ongoing threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a lot of work to be done. It is also a time of change for the not for profit sector, accountability and transparency are to the fore. International NGOs face further complication. Employees are in multiple locations with differing cultural norms and competing requirements. We took a look at some of the issues facing international NGOs with expat employees including: 
The last two years have been particularly difficult for international Non-Governmental Organisations [NGOs]. They have been punctuated by white collar crime attracting negative press attention and damaging the reputation of some NGOs with the public. This is further aggravated by the Covid-19 global pandemic which puts the vulnerable populations many NGOs support at significant risk. The related restrictions and economic crises are also impacting fundraising for many causes. We look at these challenges and more facing International NGOs as we move into 2021.
The not for profit or ‘third-sector’ requires a lot from employees. However, from a Human Resource perspective there may not always be a significant difference in candidate expectations and there is no difference in employment law.  We look at common struggles NGOs face when it comes to hiring new employees including compensation, the need for specialist roles, working overseas and reaching organisational goals.  

One of the greatest challenges for international NGOs is protecting employee wellbeing while they are working in often isolated and unstable situations. We look at statistics that show many employers believe risks associated with travel are increasing. Some businesses are changing employee itineraries as a result of security concerns. 

But if your NGO is an aid agency you run in when others run away, changing an itinerary or leaving an area is a very last resort. The dangers NGO employees face come in the form of civil unrest, disease, or natural disaster. As political instability is becoming less and less predictable globally, employers have to be more cautious to protect their frontline employees, including those in the not for profit sector.

NGOs play a vital role in improving society, supporting communities, and defending our planet. But what happens if your international NGO becomes part of the problem? There are many reasons why not for profits become embroiled in difficult situations. Despite the cause it is essential to have a robust crisis communication plan so your NGO can provide the information stakeholders and media need during a difficult time.



There is no doubt NGOs and their employees are facing into turbulent times. Protect the health and wellbeing of your employees with international health insurance specifically tailored to the needs of NGOs so you can continue to support those most in need around the world.