Tuesday, November 24, 2020

NGO culture

Non-Governmental Organizations and institutions have been termed as the backbone of any democracy and their activism as pro-people and facilitating justice to all. Today in our State, we have a large number of NGOs, maybe in thousands – some local NGOs and some affiliates or franchises of world famous organizations. These organizations are, supposedly, working since many years, in various fields ranging from HIV/AIDS, child welfare, women upliftment, poverty alleviation, quality housing, wildlife conservation, tourism promotion, tribal development, art and culture preservation, education promotion and so on. But are all the NGOs in the State working for the welfare of those who they claim to work for or are they just self serving organizations? Without a doubt there are some NGOs and institutions which have created a niche by real work and also gathering a rich resource-base and data-base in their field of work. But at the same time, we cannot deny that there are organizations with much publicity and no substantial contribution, which far outnumber the genuine ones, having done negligible compared to their claims and the resources mobilized. Again one cannot deny that the NGO culture has certainly helped in creating a greater degree of awareness among people, raising their standard of living, providing them basic amenities and promoting health, hygiene and education. But at the same time, non-performing NGOs have become a real threat to peoples’ rights and genuine NGOs works. If one compare the number of NGOs district-wise across the State, majority of them are based in Dimapur District. And from among the many NGOs in the district, most are in name only, few do some works and only a miniscule have substantial work to their credit. To be optimistic, it may be construed that most of these organizations have cropped up drawing inspiration from the ones which have really uplifted the status of livelihood of many people, spread awareness and created vital infrastructure too. But as of now the fact remains that majority of the NGOs in the district are just in name – or in their infancy. To be precise, most NGOs here can be called corporate vents – they raise resources and claim credits without much substantial work. On the other hand, there are NGOs who work and do not chase after publicity. No press statements, no photo op, etc, simply contribute in real terms for the poor and needy and not claim publicity. Tall claims and negligible work on one hand and huge work in real terms without any publicity or show on the other, are the two extremes of NGOs we usually come across here. A question that arises is, even if only few NGOs are performing well and the rest not; why worry for the non-performing organizations as it is a national phenomenon? The answer is quite complex. Working of NGOs in Dimapur has become a culture and their number is just on a progression. Some NGOs perform well others don’t. Which do not perform, are not a real concern for people as such, but NGOs which perform become trust-builders in the area. People have faith in them and their deeds. Here is the point where worries are heaped. Once you have a couple of good NGOs around, you get to trust the visiting NGOs too, and that may be a serious threat to the local people having a rich culture and tradition apart from having a very tough life. The NGOs are termed as activists, pro-people, predevelopment, development-oriented, participation and so on. And they are, in many cases. Sadly majority in Dimapur are otherwise. So there is an urgent need to have a check on the mushrooming growth of fake NGOs. Moreover, there should be a regulatory mechanism, which may be a self-regulation code among an amalgam of NGOs working in an area. Misleading NGOs must be under a scanner to ensure that credibility of genuine ones is not put into question unnecessarily. If timely checks are not put in place, the present trends are bound to turn ugly with passage of time. Onus is on one and all, the government functionaries, NGOs themselves and above all, the people.