Managing a NGO
This is a case about conflicting visions of an organization's purpose. Terakoya Support is a Japanese NGO that supports language courses taught in Myanmar. Advanced undergraduates and introductory grad students in nonprofit management and international development courses will benefit from defining and clarifying the problems and issues in the case. "Managing an NGO" can draw out how differing types of commitment to an organization drive operational issues.
Eka and a professional language instructor are asked by the founder and director of Terakoya Support to visit the Myanmar Buddhist Meditation Institute to conduct testing and to begin standardizing how Japanese language classes are taught. Clearly the director of Terakoya Support, located in Japan, is insensitive to the realities of operating a school under Myanmar's military regime, and the part-time, volunteer instructors in Myanmar are resistant to meddling by outsiders. To complicate matters, the director of Terakoya Support leaves Japan for a new job. On the eve of her trip to Myanmar, what is Eka to do? What is best for the Institute and for Terakoya Support?
Students might be asked to define Eka's mandate, or to make a map of her authorizing environment, in light of what she knows about operational realities and the mission of Terakoya Support. How great a threat to Japanese language instruction is Myanmar's military regime? How important are the wishes of Terakoya Support's founder now that he's gone?
This case was developed by Sugihara Mayumi and the Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development with assistance from Larry Lynn of the University of Chicago.