NGOs, or non-governmental organizations, are predominantly charitable entities set up to serve the state or the nation as a whole. While on the outset it may seem like NGOs are just what every nation needs, to lend it a helping hand – recent events have highlighted the fact that even these agencies are not averse to agendas and power trips. As it had been ratified by various international bodies including the UN, NGO’s have the permission to set up shop in any country and run their operations in line with the constitution of the host nation, while respecting the local rules and regulations. While there is no universal charter regulating these various NGO’s, they are still subject to the laws of the host nation and as such, most of them are exempted from having to pay tax given their charitable objectives.
Positive Effects of NGOs:
- Financial aid: Granted that most of the NGO s have been set up to provide aid to various sections of the society and to that end they are quite effective in providing local governments with either much-needed funds or help to fund/develop local infrastructure projects. On the whole, NGOs are essential in more ways than one, be it a question of disbursing financial perks to certain poorer sections of the society or food grains and other essentials’ to those in need.
- Education: Several NGO’s have contributed and even helped build several educational institutions across the world, mainly in Asia and Africa. Most of these schools and higher institutions of learning are funded by NGOs, various charities and as such, they offer the local residents educational opportunities at low or zero cost.
- Health: Several key NGOs are involved in sourcing expensive medications and giving them at discounted rates to those in need. These NGOs are also actively involved in running several health camps and help provide for a free medical checkup.
Negative Effects of NGOs:
- Interference in local government: Of late, rather than focusing on their charitable operations, it has been noted that several of the NGO’s are interfering in local elections to help get their preferred official elected. It is apparent that several of the NGO’s who are funded by specific groups have been directed to interfere in local elections for a specific agenda
- Little or no respect to local customs: There’s another reason why NGO’s are viewed less favorably by the local residents because of their interference with some of the local customs and traditions. While it should be pointed out that all NGOs and their operatives are given specific directions by the government to not interfere with any of the local customs and traditions. What’s more, it has been suggested that some of the NGO’s had been rather overzealous in spreading their message of peace that the line between charity and direct intervention soon starts to blur.
- No rules or regulations: NGO’s are not governed by any international charger or agreement and as such, there is very little to regulate their activities. As a result, several NGO operatives have started using their base of operations for other purposes besides charity, namely child abuse. This lack of adequate training, background checks, is resulting in NGOs getting mired in several scandals, including child abuse over the last few years.
- No governmental control: Local governments cannot prosecute an NGO; instead they have issued a show cause notice and asked to leave the country. While this may seem a little hard to come to terms with, the fact remains that NGO’s are not regulated, at least not regulated in the way other organizations have been and coupled with the fact that the host country can do little except to ban the NGO in question makes it clear that when it comes to NGOs, it is a mixed bag.
These are some of the positive and negative effects of NGOs, no one is claiming that NGOs are bad but rather that they need to be regulated as soon as possible . It should also be pointed out that several NGOs involved in the Middle East have collected funds from banned terrorist organizations and that by itself makes the case for why NGO’s should be subject to some accountability.