Role and Functions of NGOs
NGOs are non-governmental organizations that function free from the control of the Government. They are non-profit bodies that work for the Welfare of the society. They act as a middle organization between the Government and the society. People who cannot see the suffering of other individuals and want to make a better place for everybody, usually participate in these organizations. When various issues cannot reach the Government in power or when some issues are looked down upon by the Government then NGOs take up these issues and tackle them with utmost priority. Anyone can become a member of these organizations and can also quit whenever they want to. NGOs have their own set of rules and procedures for selection as well. That is why these bodies are also known as voluntary functioning bodies. They are identified on the basis of their work and according to the level on which they operate. On the basis of their work, they are classified as
- Service-Oriented NGOs,
- Charity Oriented NGOs,
- Empowerment Oriented NGOs and
- Participation Oriented NGOs.
On the basis of the level of operation, they are classified as
- Community Based Organizations,
- City Level Organizations,
- National Level NGOs, and
- International Level NGOs.
Role and Functions of NGOs in the Indian context:
NGOs have brought various social changes for the promotion and development of society. These organizations work for serving humanity and other good cause. Let’s discuss some of the major roles played by the various NGOs:
1) Improving Government performance: It is one of the important works of the NGOs to ensure that the Government should be responsive and solve the problems of the citizens thereby making the Government more accountable. NGOs also help in providing suggestions and their expertise in matters related to policy-making of Government by providing research teams. Many path-breaking laws in the country like Environmental Protection Act 1986, Right to Education Act 2009, Right to Information Act 2005, etc. have been formulated with the initiatives of the NGOs.
2) Acting as a social mediator: People in India are influenced a lot by faith, superstitions, belief, and customs. NGOs act as social mediators at various different levels of society so as to bring the required change in social and behavioral attitudes prevailing within the social environment. They create awareness among people and become the voice of the poor and needy person or group.
3) Facilitating communication: NGOs work at two different levels in order to facilitate communication. One is at the upward level whereby NGOs inform the Government about the needs, abilities, and activities of the people in their local area. On the other hand, they work at the downward level where people are informed and educated about the policies and programs of the Government.
4) Acting as a pressure group: They also act as a pressure group and mobilize public opinion against various Governmental policies and activities. They also help poor people, Farmers, STs, SCs etc. in availing quality services by making the Government accountable.
5) Building Community Participation: NGOs encourage and facilitate the participation of disadvantaged communities and help in preserving the culture of diverse communities.
6) Women Empowerment: The role of NGOs in women empowerment cannot be denied. They have been constantly fighting against social evils like Sati, dowry, cruelty, and other causes like employment, lessening of female foeticide, etc. Various NGOs like the Agrani foundation, Eklavya, Sewa, etc. have been trying to achieve gender equality as far as possible.
7) Mobilising Local Resources: Over utilization of natural resources lead to natural calamities and environmental threats. NGOs keep an eye on this particular domain so that the destruction of natural resources does not take place.
8) Providing Education, Training, and Technical Assistance: NGOs provide education, training, and technical assistance to the people in need, volunteers, and to other NGOs. Later on, the trained NGOs provide their services to assist the Government.
9) Bridging the gap: NGOs reach out to those sections of people who are often left untouched by the State projects. For example, during the Covid-19 crisis, aid was provided to migrant workers. Apart from this, NGOs are also engaged in activities like education, human and labor rights, legal aid, gender issues, healthcare, and even research.
10) Monitoring and evaluation: NGOs monitor and evaluate government policies and activities that encourage active people’s participation in the developmental process. This also results in keeping a check on the administrative functions of the Government.
Note: NGOs work both at the National and International levels and so far have contributed a lot to the development of society. These bodies set an example that humanity is still alive. They are free from any kind of biases or social evils. Whenever Government is unable to fulfill its responsibilities, these organizations are there to help it. They have been successful in bringing the attention of the government to issues like participation, equity, illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, etc. Government should appreciate the role and functioning of the NGOs as they have always provided much-needed support to it in order to achieve its targets.