Many NGOs develop problematic ‘mission creep’ as they attempt to burrow down and address the causes – rather than just the symptoms – of the problems they were set up to tackle.
A case study from the work supported by the Donkey Sanctuary in Romania lays bare the dilemma; sticking to a clear mission can be equally troubling.
Liviu used to live under some planks in this hole in the ground in a village near Cernavoda, Romania.
A highly intelligent man with fluent English, he suffers from mental health problems and has fallen into destitution.
He is amiable but hard to help. When his hole in the ground flooded, his sister (a teacher in the city) bought him a plot of land next to the hole and persuaded him to move there.
So he began living in this hovel, with thirteen dogs sharing comfort and companionship – though he is unable to look after them properly.
He also took on a donkey called Vasile, living in a shack beside his own.
After some sensitive negotiation The Donkey Sanctuary’s Romanian partner organisation Save the Dogs and Other Animals persuade him to give up the donkey and several of the dogs.
The animals are taken back to the charity’s centre in Cernavoda.