Although recently there are signs of certain advances, many of the non-governmental organizations of the Basque Country are still using antiquated cooperation policies, limiting them to models from the past. There are no solid criteria on how to overcome these pure assistance policies and the panorama of cooperation is totally dominated by conventional and large Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDOs).
Certainly, these classic NGDOs carry out useful and necessary projects related to infrastructure, health and education. However, their work and impact is one-directional: the beneficiary communities are accustomed to receiving money and this leads to being in a subordinate position to organizations rather than becoming part of sustainable self-development. At the same time, since it is not a reciprocal process, this method of cooperation does not achieve any impact in the supporting communities; in any case, the impact is relegated to the immediate environment of the NGDOs. The Garabide Association hopes to change this praxis of the 20th century to a new model of cooperation based on the exchange of experiences.
The organization was formed in 2005 in Eskoriatza (in the province of Gipuzkoa) in order to share the experience gained in recent decades by the administrative and social movement in the Basque Country to develop and standardize the Basque language. It is the spearhead of more than 50 institutions that work in different areas for the Basque language (education, corpus of the language, and media.) Although it maintains a strong link with the University of Mondragon, Garabide is an autonomous organization.