Non-Governmental organizations, otherwise popularly known as NGOs are not-for-profit, voluntary citizen’s group that is organized either on a local, national or international level to address issues to promote help and assistance for the public good. NGO foundations are also commonly known as Non-profit organizations as they work for the upliftment of society and pretty much focus on every single part concerning starting from healthcare, protecting child’s rights, promoting children’s right in India, encouraging girl child education, working on poverty eradication, fight social injustice, protect wildlife, etc.
NGOs protect and create awareness in society about the rights of the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society and how with the help of little or planned initiatives small efforts could make a positive impact on society. At times, when the Government fails to pay attention to a few problems, NGOs step forward to aid assistance.
According to a study, almost 80% of global citizens agree that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) make it easy to be involved in positive social change. There are nearly 3.4 million NGOs in India and these NGOs, besides just pitching in for government efforts, play a key role in the overall growth and development of the country and serve as a pillar of nation-building.
As the name implies, NGOs and those who volunteer for NGOs work independently, without any financial aid from the government although they may work in close coordination with the government agencies for executing their projects and may partake in the process. NGOs usually work to address various concerns and issues prevailing within the society and actively promote taking up and executing projects welfare of the community they work with.
Being non-profit bodies, NGOs do not have any commercial interest and are mostly run on donations made by individuals, corporations and institutions. NGO foundations engage in fundraising activities to raise money for carrying out the work they do and assist a wide range of causes. Ever since independence, NGOs in India have distinctly played a crucial role in helping the needy in India, providing aid to the distressed and elevating the socio-economic status of millions in the country.
NGOs are composed of experts who have years of experience in executing social welfare activities with them and so are the volunteers for NGOs motivated to participate in such activities. Before starting on a project, a detailed study and analysis of the entire situation are made and all the possible outcomes are contemplated. With the collaboration of civic agencies and other government agencies (at district, state and even national levels at times) such projects are done to carry out the work.
NGOs head-on approach on the ground addresses these issues and undertakes massive campaigning activities to generate awareness on the same. In the modern-day, NGOs are efficiently leveraging the power of social media to disseminate information about their work and reach more and more people and thus in turn attracting those who wish to volunteer for NGOs.
Understanding the importance of NGOs in India:
In the last seven decades, India has made significant progress in the socio-economic sphere. Millions of people have overcome poverty, and also life expectancy has increased, and so did the literacy rate as it almost tripled and consequentially people have better access to healthcare services. However, given how vast India is, both in terms of demography and area, and its socio-cultural diversity, still millions struggle to make ends meet.
Even today, several crore people still struggle and are deprived of basic human needs such as health, shelter, education and nutritious food and this could be because India didn’t have a uniform growth. There is still rampant economic inequality and a huge gap that needs to be covered. And, this is exactly where the NGOs show up in the picture.
NGOs and those who volunteer for NGOs come to the rescue and fill in the gaps left by the government by improving the lives of the most marginalized communities and addressing the immediate issues.
NGOs in India, undertake a variety of activities, most of which are aimed at improving the socio-economic status of communities with limited means, such as providing the direct benefit (like distributing nutrition feed to malnourished children) to enabling and empowering people (like making a community realize the importance of sending their children to school), volunteering NGOs have done a lot and have a prominent and far-reaching impact in helping underprivileged and deprived people march ahead in life with a smile on their faces.
As the NGOs play a key role in filling the gaps in the various socio-economic development schemes executed by the government, they go right in the middle of the communities and through insightful research, ensure that the poorest of the poor in India get to experience sustainable growth to uplift themselves and get access to education and employment opportunities, and avail essential services and fulfill at least their basic day-to-day daily needs.
And this ascertains a positive outcome of economic progress touching on the lives of the most marginalized people of the society. NGOs play the following key roles in building the new pillars of the nation –
#1: Promote sustainable development –
Nowadays, NGOs have been constantly and consistently campaigning for sustainable development and as NGOs provide government bodies with data-driven support, they also empower local communities to move towards and promote a sustainable form of living.
This concept is to promote the present-day communities to grow and advance without affecting or losing the opportunities of coming generations to attain development. Civil societies harness the funding that is received to drive social campaigns to pressure corporations and governments to work with sustainability and secure it for the future.
#2: Eradicate poverty –
India has witnessed tremendous economic advancement over the past two decades, however, not uniformly. But, NGOs have enabled proper and essential sanitation, housing, quality education, healthcare and nutrition for India’s underprivileged citizens to move ahead and lead a better life. Along with encouraging and promoting massive awareness, sensitization and development programmes NGOs focus to end the factors that trigger poverty by executing on-ground initiatives to empower communities.
#3: Children empowerment –
Happy, healthy and prosperous children of today grow on to become mature, responsible and qualified adults of tomorrow and contribute to the nation-building process and establish a sound functioning society.
NGOs empower children by protecting child’s rights and nurturing children’s rights in India. NGOs make provisions for them to get quality education by working in slums, tribal areas and remote villages so that they can build and shape their own future in the coming years.
#4: Establish a good society –
People who are united and live together as one are stronger than the strongest of storms. As NGOs help to bridge the gap between people and work to bring them together it helps in establishing the concept of a healthy and co-existing society. NGOs enable citizens to join forces and work together voluntarily i.e. they bring forth greater causes of concern and as citizens address those concerns they volunteer for NGOs to promote social values and civic goals. NGO volunteers identify, deal and solve the problems with local initiatives.
As NGOs focus on the root causes of issues and provide assistance by dealing with the issues in a realistic approach they ensure development which involves essential and equal participation of volunteers. NGOs actively work for educating and motivating people to fight for their rights as they promote education, healthcare, and common well-being.
#5: Raise awareness –
Engaged in a diverse range of issues pertaining to human and labour rights, education, environment, welfare, healthcare and etc, NGOs play a vital role by making people aware and imparting knowledge on what others might be missing. NGOs may educate people by conducting campaigns, organizing seminars or spreading the word through social, print or electronic media.
5 major roles played by NGOs for changing our society:
NGOs play a major role and have brought social change for the promotion and development of society over the past score of decades and have proved that these organization’s are working for various parts of the world and are doing their work in serving humanity and other good cause. And thus it makes it of utmost requirement and important criteria that the members of the NGO are educated, inspired, enthusiastic and working in the interest together, and properly carrying out the functions of the NGO to accomplish the tasks.
Role Number One – Offering support, innovation, demonstration and piloting new and existing projects:
Overcoming some of the shortcomings that governments face in this respect, NGOs have the upper hand in selecting particular places for innovative projects and specify in advance the length of time in which they will be supporting the project. Also, apart from this by virtue of their ability to act more quickly, firmly and readily than the government bureaucracy, NGOs can pilot new projects. As NGOs operate promptly in certain instances, NGOs are also authorized to give suggestions and encourage improvement and flexibility in the government’s policymaking by providing and furnishing their own research teams and expertise on the matter.
Role Number Two – Facilitating clear communication:
Being a group that stands beside the common public, NGOs follow their own sets of interpersonal methods of communication as they deem fit. By studying the right entry points, NGOs gain the trust of the community they seek to benefit. It also allows them to have a good idea of the feasibility of the projects they take up.
With the help of facilitating proper communication NGOs can share their insights and discuss terms with the Government’s decision-making process, and gain absolute knowledge about the lives, capabilities, attitudes and cultural characteristics of people at the local level. Facilitating thorough communication allows NGOs the bridge the gap of communication between the Government and the common people. Positioned uniquely in society, NGOs share information horizontally, networking between other similar organizations involved in like work.
And as a result, NGOs help in organizing public inconvenience and become an advocate for societal problems and needs. They become the voice and lend the necessary help to the needful.
Role Number Three – Offering technical assistance and training:
NGOs can develop technical assistance and training capacity to enhance the skill development of those who have the potential to make a change. Offering such training guidance works as a mechanism through which people those worried about any social or economic difficulty can respond and join their hands to start something new on their own.
Role Number Four –Aiding sustainable development:
The theme of sustainable development needs maximum attention because people are not ready to compromise their present needs and are thus in the process of destroying natural resources to achieve their selfish goals
NGOs are thus trying hard to come up with counter-control measures to prevent the overutilization of natural resources so as to ensure that the world operates the same way fifty years from today, as it does now.
Role Number Five – Monitoring and evaluation:
NGOs at times act as an independent ‘auditor ‘of government and corporate performance and accountability. With their innovative skills and carefully documented data, NGOs partake in effective participatory monitoring and thus evaluate those results later with the people themselves as well as the staff and volunteers involved.
NGOs play a crucial role and serve as the biggest reason for helping out the deprived people’s development in society. People who volunteer for NGOs perform a commendable job in this direction as they undertake and address various social matters and projects like the eradication of poverty and are working upon various social evils.
Moreover, NGOs even contributed to the construction of dams, railways and roads to ensure the availability of all the basic facilities to the underprivileged, rural areas and vulnerable sections of society. We have witnessed numerous times that NGOs have protected children’s rights in India, empowered women, made an effort to uplift the basic healthcare services, encourage girl child education, safeguard child’s rights and more. NGOs with their efforts and functions set an example in society for serving humanity. NGOs in India follow a basic fundamental principle of “Sarvajan hitay – Sarvajan Sukhey” and follow every possible step to stick by that.
Over the past score of years, NGOs with their rich expertise have considerably brought about a significant change in the lives of backward communities and an experience in campaigning on necessary matters. NGOs have genuinely brought about a holistic change in the socio-economic landscape of India. Many volunteering NGOs have made notable contributions to the underprivileged in the country and still have a long way to go in nation-building.