I think those who advocate for “transformational diplomacy” are too bullish on the prospect of NGO’s improving nation brands. I cannot think of an instance in which a foreign NGO helped, willingly or inadvertently to boost another country’s brand. The closest example I can think of is Global Witness (I could be wrong on the name) a Canadian NGO, blew the whistle on conflict diamonds and helped create the Kimberly Process, which guards against conflict diamonds. They did not really improve the image of the countries were the diamonds were, but rather made the diamond industry look more responsible. NGO’s often seem more content with unearthing scandals and criticizing, and well they should be.
However, what is best from a PD perspective is not necessarily morally right. Keeping abuses under the rug can improve a brand more than confessing past sins.