Tag Archives: non government organizations

2013 in review: A year of NGO networking on web

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Classification of non-government organizations (NGOs)

In the previous posts we have started our discussion on  non-government organizations (NGOs), their history and the conditions that compelled them to establish networks. We even traced the history of networking of NGOs in the Philippines by looking on the  trend of the world history of NGOs – from relief and welfare endeavors to social reformation which eventually led to the transformation approach.

NGOs are simply agencies or groups which are different from government bodies. Quizon, as cited in Racellis (1998), defines NGOs: as private, voluntary organizations; social development agencies; or professional support; or cause oriented groups that are non-profit –oriented and legal, which are committed to the task of development and established primarily for socio-economic services, civic, religious, charitable and/or social welfare purposes.

They  emerged to respond to needs, which were not readily met by the government due to systemic limitations. With elite and/or traditional politicians at the helm of leadership, the government, most often, cannot initiate major reforms. This is a situation where NGOs take active role as catalysts for change. Providing stimuli for the various sectors of society to organize them, NGOs equip the poor with the important skills, knowledge and resource necessary in their struggle towards a better life and a more humane society, according to Aldaba (1993).

NGOs may be classified into various types according to different criteria, namely:  (1) Activities they perform, (2) Areas of operation, (3) Size or number of staff, (4) Sector they serve, (5) Ideological bias, and (6) Their initiators. Subsequently, there are NGOs that engage themselves in community organizing among peasants, workers, fisherfolks and urban poor. Their areas of operation range from local to international. Abad (1990) observed that NGOs reflect certain ideological leaning or persuasion depending on the sector that organized them, e.g., business, political, religious.

Korten (1990) classifies NGOs into four types, namely: 1) voluntary organizations (VOs); 2) public service contractors (PSC); 3) hybrid governmental/non- governmental organizations (GONGOS), and 4) people’s organization (POs). The first three NGOs are referred to as Third Party Organizations since they exist to serve the needs of the third party or those persons who are not members of the organization. The fourth sector is referred to as the First Party Organization, since they are basically governed and managed by the people themselves.

According to Korten, of the Third Party Organizations, VOs are distinctively value-driven, pursuing a social mission that make them relatively immune to the political agenda of either the government or the economic forces of the market place. Although small in size, their capacity for social and institutional innovation has been well developed. This feat is seldom found in government and business sectors. However, while VOs serve as channels for innovation, they are often placed in a controversial position as they pursue their commitment towards social change.

In this classification, PSCs are dependent on economic power in sustaining their program. They acquire their resources through the exchange and market of goods and services. They also tend to be responsive to economic needs rather than to genuine public service. In this type of NGO, the customer is the donor.

Korten observed that VOs and PSCs are, oftentimes, mistaken to be synonymous because of their characteristics as non- – profit organizations. Moreover, they have the same type of legal registration with similarities in mission statements. The difference, however, lies on their commitment. While the VOS are committed to social mission, PSCs are business – oriented. Unlike VOs, PSCs often evade advocacy and controversy.

As far as GONGOs are concerned, essentially they are instruments of the government in carrying its policies. Created and managed by the government, GONGOs are accountable to the state and not to their members or independent board. On the other hand, POs are organizations that represent their members’ interest. Characterized by self-reliance, they are considered organizations that are truly “ by the people, of the people and for the people.”

 

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NGOs: A phenomenal movement to development

A phenomenal movement – the non-government organizations (NGOs) – came to aid world development and to establish outlooks and attitudes that laid the foundation for a modern development perspective. According to Alegre (1996) NGOs have emerged as a new catalyzing, social organization and as a significant player in development. They are increasingly significant actors in global governance and in international development.

Clarke (1994) provides the following explanation why NGOs play a prominent role in contemporary social movements, as follows: (1) Their access to significant source of funds from abroad; (2) Their capacity to generate the mass leaders needed to sustain social movements; (3) Their use of their direct experience in providing services to beneficiaries as a platform from which to engage in more political activity.

The role of NGOs, says Clarke, has resulted in two specific consequences: (1) A history of effective service delivery gives NGOs significant “legitimacy” in the eyes of other political actors; and (2) NGO political activity is informed by direct experience and is therefore more clearly based on practical experience.

In a broad sense, NGOs are simply agencies or groups which are different from government bodies. Quizon, as cited in Racellis (1998), defines NGOs: as private, voluntary organizations; social development agencies; or professional support; or cause oriented groups that are non-profit –oriented and legal, which are committed to the task of development and established primarily for socio-economic services, civic, religious, charitable and/or social welfare purposes. This definition covers the heterogeneous nature of NGOs as used in this study.

NGOs emerged to respond to needs, which were not readily met by the government due to systemic limitations. With elite and/or traditional politicians at the helm of leadership, the government, most often, cannot initiate major reforms. This is a situation where NGOs take active role as catalysts for change. Providing stimuli for the various sectors of society to organize them, NGOs equip the poor with the important skills, knowledge and resource necessary in their struggle towards a better life and a more humane society, according to Aldaba (1993).

Clark (1990) has vividly described the critical role NGOs have to play: Because of their international structure and linkages they have the potential to construct global networks of citizens pressure. Because they command a unique vantage point they are ideally placed to study and describe how contemporary crises affect the poor. Because of their size and flexibility they are able to experiment with new approaches to the crises and so, through demonstration, serve as pioneers or catalysts for government action. Because of their access to the media they are well placed to reach out with their message. And because they do not stand to make personal profit the public trusts them at large.

The critical role of NGOs as mentioned here, however, may not be applicable to all NGOs. More often than not, they are confronted with ambivalence. While their size and flexibility make it easily for them to adjust to changing circumstances and conditions in the implementation of programs and projects, they have a weak capacity to absorb bigger undertakings. Although aware of such limitations, NGOs are still hesitant to increase their size, fearing that their flexibility and dynamism may be sacrificed in the process.

Because they frequently pioneer new approaches and challenge development orthodoxy, NGOs are vulnerable to groups with vested interests. Consequently, the NGOs face the problem of either co-optation or reprisal from the government and other traditional power holders that want to maintain the status quo. Moreover, they have to deal with the proliferation of pseudo NGOs that undermine the sector’s credibility. A number of these pseudo NGOs set up not for any other purpose than to take advantage of funding sources for dubious or narrow purposes, according to Abad (1990).

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First of  the series of posts on Networking as  Development Strategy of NGOs in the Province of Iloilo. Thesis requirement for my Master of Social Work degree from University of the Philippines-Diliman in 2000.

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