The Role of NGOs in the 3rd World Countries

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Scholarship Description:

The Role of NGOs in the 3rd World Countries is open for . The scholarship allows level programm(s) in the field of taught at . The deadline of the scholarship is .

1.0 Introduction

After the Second World War, welfare issues globally were the responsibility of the State. It is said that the adoption of the welfare principle was to make services available and accessible to the whole population in such ways as would not involve users in any humiliating loss of status, dignity or self-respect. This also includes the direct provision of the services and Agenda setting" which is defined as bringing welfare issues to the attention of the relevant decision makers. The oil price rise of 1973 triggered the first world-wide recession which brought the return of mass unemployment throughout the West, eroding what had been for the founders of the welfare state one of its supportingpillars'. This made it difficult and impossible for Governments to continue with Universal welfare issues and the situation was worse for countries in the South.

The task of development became overwhelmingly challenging on the part of governments. Citizens grew poor and poorer especially in the 3rd World Countries with alarming scarcity of goods and lack of sufficient provision of services. This led to the rise of NGOs to become partners in the Development work and at the same time NGOs are being accused of trying to `crowd out' government process. The inability of governments to deliver sufficiently the promised goods and services eroded their legitimacy. Researches undertaken so far suggest that most governments in the south are not only backing away from the traditional responsibilities, but also have completely failed. People started to loose faith in some of their governments policies aimed at improving welfare. Governments themselves began to doubt their own development strategies and thus realized the need for radical change involving private organizations voluntarily formed by the people themselves. NGOs therefore increasingly have to take on all development work and at the same time NGOs are being accused of trying to 'crowd out' government.

2.0 Development

Development is a progress of positive change quantitatively and qualitatively. Many people define it in their own context according to their surroundings and immediate needs. The definition by the South may not be the same as in the North but there are key components of the definitions that are similar everywhere. Some therefore define it as a process by which members of a society inspire themselves and their institutions in ways that enhance their ability to mobilize and manage resources sustainably to produce sustainable and justify distributed improvements in their quality of life consistent with their aims and aspirations. It is a process involving community participation in critically identifying and analyzing their needs and problems, setting goals and making their won decisions on sustainable use of available resources to improve their quality of life. This implies that it is a struggle against oppression and all that make life less human. It is a process of building new communities and alternative structures, which empower the poor and enable all people to become subjects of their own destiny. It involves a movement from unequal relationships to the democratization of all aspects of life and true self-reliance. In essence, development is about people and the way they live and every society/community must initiate its own development process and the government should mainly facilitate the process through good/democratic policies.

3.0 Definition and Founding of NGOs

Peter Willets in his book "The conscience of the World: The Influence of Non-Governmental Organizations in the UN System" describes NGOs as non-commercial, and therefore should have a non-profit making aim, and non-political organization that should not `openly engage in violence or advocate violence as a political tactic and that they should be able to raise funds from their members or voluntary contributions. NGOs are founded by people who voluntarily associate with an aim of working together to achieve a common goal/objective. Such a goal may be short or long-term, professional, needs driven or otherwise.

Another reason for the existence of NGOs is that people come together in independent groups to promote some type of activity that is not being undertaken by governments. Alternatively, governments may already be involved in an activity but groups are formed in order to challenge the way government is handling it.

Formation of NGOs require innovative thinking, creativity, conceptualization of vision, ability to assess an existing gap in the provision of a service(s) or goods which calls for the skills to analyze what is and what ought to be- the real and the ideal.

Most founders of successful NGOs have abilities of interpreting the past(history),assess the present and forecast the future,relatively accurately and realistically. They have a ability to influence and mobilize popular support from beneficiaries,government and other possible state holders. They are good at planning, have entrepreneurial and managerial skills, are willing to work voluntarily at least in the formative stages, should be able to understand the culture and traditions of the target groups and be ready to move with and adopt to the changing environment. They should be clear on their geographical area of operation and have clearly stated missions and objectives.

4.0 Main levels of NGO Involvement in the Development Process

NGOs can be classified geographically or by the purposes for which they are founded. They are either International or single country, Northern or Southern NGOs. International NGOs normally start as Northern NGOs but are influenced to expand their activities into more countries as the NGO increases the resources at their disposal or changes perception of their role. Examples of these are Oxfam that has become more development oriented and therefore has spread more into the developing countries or 3"d World Countries. Single Country NGOs on the other hand are bodies, groups or institutions that are entirely or largely independent of government interference. Another category of NGOs is development NGOs or Non-Government Development Organizations (NGDO) and can be classified into four categories: Organizations NGOs, Support or Intermediary Organizations, Field/Action Level Organizations.

4.1 Aid Organizations: They can be categorized as:

a) Funding NGOs from the North: These raise money from their own governments. They support development projects carried out by local 3`d world organizations at the support level. The are also involved in campaigns/dialogue - acting as counter weight to state power - protecting human rights, opening up channels of communication and participation, providing training grounds for activists and promoting pluralism. Some of these organizations include USAID, AVIS, ADD, WIDE, Oxfam.

b) Technical intervention NGOs: These two are NGOs from the North that tend to carry out development projects themselves. They do the planning and the implementation processes. They may only be interested in the technical aspects. In most cases they do have their own financial resources. Examples of these are CARE.

4.2 Support/Intermediary organizations: Support is normally provided by support NGOs. The purpose is to offer support to local initiatives, developmental/farmer organizations at the field Action level. Such support NGOs are very common in the 3rd World Countries and are usually prompted by two factors namely:
a) Lack of the State involvement in development programmes. So the support to NGOs comes in to fill the gaps.
b) Need by the NGOs in the North to have partner organizations in the South to identify and execute development projects on their behalf. Many other factors like creation of employment for their citizens, research for higher degrees and publishing desires are into play. However, genuine developmental desires also contribute to the formation of support level NGOs.

4.3 Field/Action Level Organizations: Field/Action level organizations are categorized as follows:

a) Representation Organizations: These represent their members for purposes of claims and/or negotiations with government and other bodies and fight in defense of the vital interest of membership. These include groups like Workers Unions. Landless farmers on mailo land/ranches may organize themselves to demand agrarian reform measures. These kinds of organizations are basically pressure groups representing the interests of the communities falling in the same social economic strata.

b) Community Organizations: These have broader functions, which include that of representation but also that of managing assets held in common by the whole community. All members of a community are members by right. For example a dispensary build under self help initiatives, valley dams/wells, community centers.

c) Association type organizations: These are most restrictive than the first two. Members are registered and are normally screened depending on certain criteria developed by members. The organizations represent interests of members actively involved in pursuing a specific common goal. Members are registered. Cooperative Societies belong here but increasingly, many of these groups are being registered as Community Based Organizations

5.0 Summary

In Summary, the NGO are involved in the following:

5.1 Policy Formulation: There is a marked increase in NGO participation in policy processes as invited participants. Their representatives have had seats at the table in formulation of specific policies, district development plans and on technical committees and sub-committees at all levels. This is highly commendable.

5.2 As Pressurisers/Agenda Setting: NGOs sometimes exert pressure from outside `the tent' on both formulation and implementation of policies, programmes and plans. They use campaigning - a visible activity directed at a certain constituency, often media - mediated; and lobbying - a direct and often private approach to individuals or small groups of people, as an attempt to influence the decisions of the institutional elite on behalf of a collective interest. NGOs are supposed to act as counter weight to state power - protecting human rights, opening up channels of communication and participation, providing training grounds for activists and promoting pluralism.

5.3 As Service Deliverers: NGOs engage with policy makers at implementation or field/ Action level. Implementation is an important policy phase as it is often at that stage that failures in the policy processes occur. Here NGOs play a bridging role between government and the people.

5.4 As Monitors: NGOs can provide an independent assessment of how public resources are being allocated at the national and local level. After NGOs have advocated for equitable distribution of national resources during the budget process, they monitor whether these resources reach the intended beneficiaries and whether they translate into `value for money' (getting the best outcome using limited financial and human resources) for end users. NGOs also have a role to play in assessing how quickly and effectively the private sector is moving into space created for it by liberalization and rolling back of state institutions from direct production and whether the premises on which this model is based hold for our type of economies.

5.5 As innovators: NGOs are sometimes instrumental in the introduction of new approaches and techniques which, when adopted, bring considerable benefits to the poor. Examples include introduction of new technologies, farming methods, resolution of conflicts etc.

5.6 As Partners: NGOs work in partnership with Governments and Donors in the planning process by offering expertise, experience and whether possible logistics and other resources. NGOs are agents of change but their ability to effect change rests on organizational independence, closeness to the poor, representative structures and a willingness to spend a large amounts of time in awareness-raising and dialogue. NGOs particularly those working closely with CBOs and which believe in the efficacy of `empowerment' approaches can be an important asset when government wants to mobilize people.

Degree Level:

The Role of NGOs in the 3rd World Countries is available to undertake level programs at .

Available Subjects:

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