ConcernsRegarding the Contribution and Accountability of Non-GovernmentalOrganization Author
Non-governmentalorganizations are one of the most significant organizations that playan enormous role in enhancing sustainable development.Correspondingly, the groups facilitate decision-making process onissues regarding environment, economy and social facets of humandevelopment (Hulme, 2013). These organizations are instrumental invoicing the concerns of people that neither the government nor thesubjects can be able to express. Non-governmental institutions (NGOs)are instrumental in building consensus between two different concepts(Korten, 2016). These are the concept of human development and thatof sustainable development. Although NGOs enormously contribute tosustainable development, there have been concerns regarding theircontribution and accountability culminating to a big debate for along time (Korten, 2016). Consequently, there is the need to assessthe success and performance of these organizations to establish waysin which the raised concerns on accountability and contribution couldbe addressed. This paper seeks to find out the concerns regarding thecontribution and responsibility of NGOs and evaluation of ways inwhich success and performance of NGOs can be assessed (MacPhail &Davy, 2013). Moreover, the research will analyze the concept of humandevelopment, sustainable development and how the two are tied withthe works of non-government organizations as well as the advantagesand disadvantages in the field of NGOs.
Therehas always been a conflict between human development and sustainabledevelopment goals. To ensure that sustainability development isaccomplished, the resources used must be constrained to avoid wastageand destruction to already limited resources (Ebrahim, 2017). On theother hand, human development calls for the use of more resources toensure that human beings achieve their full potential. Consequently,there is the need for a more balanced approach to enhance humandevelopment and at the same time ensure sustainable use of scarceresources. Sustainable development is defined as the process in whichstrategic interest and practical needs are improved to everycommunity member so as to provide comprehensive mental, physical andsocial comfort (Hulme, 2013). Environmental sustainability andjustifiable human development are an integral part of sustainabledevelopment. The reason is that, although people aspire to develop totheir full potential for freedom and dignity, they still need to beassured and guaranteed that the resources are available at all times.
Non-governmentalorganizations (NGOs) have been very instrumental and aggressive inenhancing sustainable development both in national and internationallevel (Korten, 2016). NGOs have been instrumental in buildingconsensus among all the participants with the aim of facilitatinginformed decision making regarding environmental, economic and socialfacets of human activity. The ultimate objective of sustainabledevelopment is to come up with a comprehensible and enduring balanceamong three aspects. These elements include corroboration amongindividuals, communities, and organizations (ACFID, 2016). On theother hand, for sustainable human development requires overcomeissues such as climate change, depletion of resources and especiallynon-renewable resources and solutions to the worsening quality of theenvironment. There are also other pertinent issues that require beingaddressed such as health, education, refugees, technology,unemployment crime and labor rights (Castro, 2013). Consequently,NGOs are a significant link between members of the community,organizations, and communities in enhancing and building consensusbetween human development and sustainable development.
VariousNGOs have been fundamental drivers of continued negotiations amongdifferent international governments especially on the issues handlingof hazardous wastes, unsustainable mining activities and otherconcerns (Zaidi, 2016). Moreover, renowned international brands havebeen vulnerable to pressure stemming from determined activists fromestablished and informed NGOs that are zealous in challenging acompany`s environmental, labor and record of human rights. Similarly,non-governmental organizations have devoted their resources toevaluate the use of energy and other resources by corporations andtheir impacts on social affairs and the environment (Hulme, 2013).Subsequently, different organizations involved are takingresponsibility and important initiative to respond to thesechallenges and effects of their activities.
Despitenon-governmental organizations’ enormous contribution, concernsregarding the contribution and accountability of NGOs have been a bigdebate for a long time (Korten, 2016). The subject of theaccountability on non-governmental organizations in both local andinternational levels has led to the need to call for moreperceptively planned accountability systems that will guide runningof the organizations. There is also the argument that the NGOs arefacing enormous challenges including augmented competition andcommercialism (Ebrahim, 2017). Correspondingly, non-governmentalorganizations do not have sufficient external and internalaccountability as well as the fact that they have weak internalmanagerial issues and thus leading to serious challenge in handlingtheir problems. Many NGOs have been suspected of innumerabletransgressions including its progressively deteriorating relationshipwith various states and weighty dependence on state funds (ACFID,2016). NGOs are supposed to be fundamental representative of thereal way of expression of the ordinary people.
Accordingly,NGOs have occupied the moral high ground compared to governments andlarge corporations, and thus, there is need to institutionalize bothinternal and external organizational governance to restore publictrust (Zaidi, 2016). Besides, there is the issue of lack of adequatefinancial transparency because of weak financial controls as well ashaving unethical business behavior. Primarily, many officials in theorganizations carry out dishonest financial practices and fraudulentaccountings which are established when the institutions are subjectedto audit (Ogbonnaya & Doran, 2013). These practices furthertarnish the name of the organizations thereby bringing the issues oflack of credibility and reliability in handling public matters andmaintaining public trust. Other concerns arise from the fact thatsome of the education foundation operates private institutions wherethe role of the real founders is either diminished or their decisionmaking role nullified (Allen, 2015). Moreover, there is little or notransparency in the ways in which funds and handled.
Thehuge business corporations have established some of the organizationsNGOs and then used to prevent major corporations especially fromoutside the nation from undertaking massive corporations (Allen,2015). The management is also marred by the lack of professionalismby the board members that run the activities of the NGOs leading tolimited awareness on various significant issues. Lack ofprofessionalism profoundly affects the running of day to dayactivities of the non-governmental organizations because of theinadequate qualified workforce. Managers without sufficient knowledgeand skills may compromise accountability and fail to contributeefficiently and enthusiastically to the real role of non-governmentalorganizations. Besides, inability to be financial dependence has ledto extreme reliance on governments and corporations for funds (Hulme,2013). Their contribution is subject to compromise because and lackof neutrality. Sometimes, NGOs have served as tools to supportnation’s foreign policy. Similarly, some non-governmentalorganizations have been used by progressive multilateralorganizations to serve their interest while expecting funds inreturn.
Primarily,these compromise raises concern about their commitment to remainneutral, a champion for the freedom and being aggressive enough inenhancing sustainable development both in national and internationallevel (Ebrahim, 2017). The concern stems from the fact that donors donot have the right to shape the policies of the non-governmentalorganizations. Additionally, the organizations are supposed to playthe role of neutral observers as opposed to the fact that some serveas brokers to policies that are not negotiated, illegitimate anduncontested (Robertson et al., 2015). Such activities are alwaysmarred by preferences, lack of important goals and values that areintegral to any neutral intervention. There is also the argument thatNGOs interfere and undermine the capacity of the indigenousorganization in various countries to vocalize their views onpreferred political and social change (Ogbonnaya & Doran, 2013).Expressions of external norms and objectives, as well as extremedependent on external material support, further weaken the civilsociety approach in championing social change. This fear raisesconcern as to whether the NGOs will be reliable, accountable andvalidity to deliver to the expectations of the people who rely on theorganization`s ability to voice their concern especially in rapidlychanging needs of the society (Korten, 2016).
TheNGOs success and performance can be assessed in various ways toensure that the organizations are living true to their mission ofvoicing the concerns of people. Although the different government mayhave diverse strategies of dealing with the issue, the certainregulatory mechanism may apply across the board. They includesubjecting the organizations to rigorous governmental oversight.These measures include requiring the organization to fulfill publicmanagement demands and providing financial maintenance to satisfyingpublic interest (Ebrahim, 2017). Internal governance can be improvedby enhancing professionalism and introducing the conditions that forgovernment funding, clear policy on the governance structure andactivities is required. The non-governmental organization can also beincorporated under the corporate act and subjected to regulationslike the business corporations (Korten, 2016). NGOs board members canalso undergo training on professional issues to increase awarenessand provision of the experienced and eligible workforce.
Theorganizations should present a substantial and factual purpose,duties and responsibilities of the organizations (Hulme, 2013).Likewise, the NGOs demonstrate the ability to address the real issuesthat the community is facing and cooperate with the stakeholders tofulfill this mission. A Clear vision that matches the needs of thecommunity should be presented before the organization is ratified(Bürgi & Edward, 2015). The fundraising activities should beethical in that entire funds raised should be used for accurate,realistic and quantifiable means. Formal proposals with clear andmeasurable goals should be presented before approval is made todiminish fraudulent cases by some extravagant board members and staff(Balboa, 2017). Transparency can be assessed through insisting onopen, transparent policies and deductive disclosures in that all therelevant information are available to the relevant stakeholders.
Thispublic disclosure and transparency will lead to increased publictrust because NGOs are not private entities but public and thusshould be subjected to rigorous checks. The technical quality of theorganizations should be monitored to ensure that it meets theexpected standards (Atack, 2017). Some of the examples ofprofessional quality include policy advice, research, management, andtraining. Furthermore, these organizations ought to demonstrateintensified moral neutrality in handling all the activities regardingthe organization and should restrict itself within the mandate of theorganization (Allen, 2015). There ought to be a clear backgroundresearch of the problem that exists and a clear long-term approachplan to handle the present challenge. Moreover, there should also bea transparent financial plan that clearly indicates priorities andall the mechanism that are to be followed. NGOs can also be assessedby ensuring that the NGO staff and board members clearly show theircurrent positions regarding professionalism and their plan onprofessional development.
Theaspect of professionalism is significant because it influences theability of the organization to run their activities withoutcompromise. The organizations should also present a realistic plan onhow they are going to handle their operations and projects byengaging specific issues and cultivating for resolutions withaffordable budgets (Zaidi, 2016). The plan should be able to addressthe ambitious long-term objectives of the organization and shouldsolve real issues that are affecting the community. If the schemepresented cannot meet the agreed standards, the organizations shouldnot be eligible or allowed to serve in the community. Theorganizations should collaborate with different partners to enable itto fulfill its mandate appropriately and entirely (Bürgi &Edward, 2015). Although the different government may have diversestrategies of dealing with the issue, the specific regulatorymechanism may apply across the board.
Theyinclude subjecting the organizations to rigorous governmentaloversight. These measures include requiring the organization tofulfill public management demands and providing financial maintenanceto satisfying public interest (Ebrahim, 2017). Internal governancecan be improved by enhancing professionalism and introducing theconditions that for government funding, clear policy on themanagement structure and activities is required. The non-governmentalorganization can also be incorporated under the corporate act andsubjected to regulations like the business corporations (Korten,2016). NGOs board members can also undergo training on professionalissues to increase awareness and provision of the experienced andeligible workforce.
Thereare various advantages and disadvantages in the field of NGOs. Someof the advantages include the fact that they can experiment freely ina hazardous environment and apply innovative approaches inconfronting the challenges faced by the community (Ebrahim, 2017).They are also relatively flexible in venturing in local situations,reacting and responding to the needs of the local community and thuscan develop complex and integrated projects. They enjoy publicsupport and trust because they identify with the people especiallythe poor and cultivate healthy supportive and lasting relationshipthat may not be achieved by other institutions (Ogbonnaya &Doran, 2013). The non-governmental organization can be able to reachand communicate with individuals at all levels whether in thegovernment or the neighborhoods. Accordingly, they easily establishgood relationship thus making it easier to voice their concern andagenda (Atack, 2017). Moreover, the organizations have the ability torecruit motivated staff and experts because of the belief that theyare out to champion the needs of the community.
Thisability makes them accumulate a pool of knowledge and thus increasedcapacity to succeed in their activities. Conversely, thenon-governmental organizations are regarded as paternalistic innature thereby restricting the level of participation in projects andprograms by women (Balboa, 2017). They also have constrained andlimited methodologies of approaching issues and responding to them.For instance, most of the organizations only voice their concern withno particular responses to the issues. The organizations are alsomarred by replication of concepts and ideas, non-representativenessand lack of financial dependence (Korten, 2016). These shortfallsinterfere with their ability to present balanced, reliable and validresponses to societal issues which indirectly or directly haveadverse effects on the community. NGOs have also been accused ofterritorial possessiveness thus decreasing cooperation betweenvarious organizations and collaborators (Hulme, 2013). It has alsoled to unhealthy competitions among different factions withdetrimental repercussions to the community that is being served.
Non-governmentalorganizations (NGOs) have been very influential and aggressive inenhancing sustainable development both in national and internationallevel. The organizations play a vital role in building consensus onthe human development and sustainable development. However, therehave been concerns regarding the contribution and accountability ofNGOs thus culminating to a big debate. Some of these concerns includecompetition and commercialism and lack of sufficient external andinternal accountability among others. NGOs success and performancecan be assessed in some of the following ways. The organizationsshould present a substantial and factual purpose, duties andresponsibilities of the organizations. Correspondingly, fundraisingactivities should be ethical in that entire funds raised should beused for accurate, realistic and quantifiable means. Theorganizations have the various advantages and disadvantages.Advantages include the fact that NGOs are relatively flexible inventuring in local situations and responding to the needs of thelocal community. They enjoy public support and trust because theyidentify with the people and communicate with an individual at alllevels whether in the government or the neighborhoods. However, theyalso have constrained and restricted methodologies of approachingissues and responding to them. Similarly, the organizations are alsomarred by replication of concepts and ideas, non-representativenessand lack of financial dependence.
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