Community organizations consisting of people who care about the issue have a significant interest in making sure that the NGO is optimally using resources to tackle the problem. They would be an important constituent and one who is likely to actively voice his or her opinion if given the opportunity.
A foreign donor could use the community organization as its proxy. The question then is: how can the donor support the community organization? While it would be great to fund the community organization through direct funds or by earmarking a portion of a donation/grant to support interactions with community organizations (or the creation of such organizations), as soon as the organization is funded it faces many other problems. It may be considered an NGO itself, which opens up its own oversight issues. It may also then have additional reporting and statutory requirements – things it may wish to avoid.
Thus, the donor needs to find a way to support community oversight without actually giving it funds. One way to do this is to insist that the NGO it supports actually engages with a community organization consisting of interested parties. This could be done by requiring it to solicit feedback through surveys, town meetings, or allowing members of the community organization on an NGOs advisory board. The donor could not only ensure that the community’s voice was being heard, but could also make sure it was being considered by tracking how active those on the advisory board were or even by seeing if people from the community who were placed on the advisory board later took more active roles in the NGO.
There are no doubt better ways to do this. But my point is that if foreign donors come to understand that one of their best proxies for diligence is an already existing and interested community (rather than sending agents for a couple days), then they can help to ensure that NGOs listen to their beneficiaries and constituents. They can help foster an active dialogue between all concerned constituents.