This article was originally published in Avrupa Gunlugu in No: 4/2003 pp. 299-326
This article was originally published in Avrupa Gunlugu in No: 4/2003 pp. 299-326
NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) are increasingly becoming an important force, in part because of claims that they are efficient and effective, because they are innovative, flexible, independent, and responsive to the problems of poor people at the grass-roots level. The growth of such NGOs over the past two decades has given them an increasingly important role and has led them forming a distinctive sector within civil society. They have been engaged in all sectors of social life, such as relief, rehabilitation, health, education, development programs, peace, human rights, and environmental issues, using finance raised from voluntary, private sources, and donor agencies, and managing themselves autonomously at local, national and international levels. This paper will review the literature on NGOs and civil society, then consider development NGOs in particular, in the context of the recent dominance of the neo-liberal policy agenda. We shall assess the extent to which such NGOs can promote participation in development.
Keywords: NGO(non-governmental organization), civil society, participation, development
Günümüzde hükümet dışı kuruluşlar (HDK) etkin, esnek, bağımsız ve sorumlu yönleriyle önemli bir güç konumuna gelmişlerdir. 20.y.y’ın son çeyreğinde meydana gelen değişmeler HDK’lara önemli bir rol yüklemiş ve sivil toplum içerisinde ayrıcalıklı bir sektör olmalarını sağlamıştır. Sağlık, eğitim, rehabilitasyon, hayırseverlik, kalkınma, barış, insan hakları ve çevre gibi toplumsal yaşamın her alanında gönüllü, ulusal, ya/yada uluslararası finansmanlarla etkinlikler yürütmektedirler. Bu makalede genelde HDK ve sivil toplum üzerine yazılanların analitik bir irdelemesi yapılacak, özelde ise son dönemin yeni liberal politikaları çerçevesinde HDK’ların kalkınma konusundaki rollerine değinilecek, katılımı artırma güçleri ele alınacaktır.
Anahtar kelimeler: Hükümet Dışı Kuruluşlar, Sivil toplum, kalkınma, katılım
This paper review the literature on NGOs, third sector and civil society in general. Since there is a substantial body of literature in this field, this paper seeks only to review the literature with a perspective that centres on areas of NGO evolution and development through NGOs. It is beyond the scope of this study to detail the conceptual confusion that exists concerning the term ‘NGO’. Depending on who uses the term and for what purpose, it can be understood in different senses. The term NGO embraces a wide variety of organizations. However, for the purpose of this study, NGOs will mean ‘exogenous or indigenous voluntary private non-profit organisations that are engaged in relief, rehabilitation and development programs using finance raised from voluntary, private sources, and donor agencies and managing themselves autonomously at local, national and/or international levels’. NGOs are increasingly becoming an important force. This is fathering considerable momentum through claims that NGOs are efficient and effective, that they are innovative, participative, flexible, independent, and responsive to the problems of poor people at a grass-roots level.
2. Difficulties of Describing NGOs
It is difficult to talk about the structure and place of NGOs in society, because there are wide variations among the countries they operate in and in the structure of NGOs. Each country has NGOs within its own legal structures and NGOs are shaped by agreements with international organisations such as the ILO, EU etc. These organisations sometimes form the structure of NGOs. Therefore NGOs can be defined in terms of their functions in the social system. According to Siegel and Yancey (cited in Judge,1994,p.3), these functions and services could be ‘expressing and addressing the complex needs of society’, ‘motivating the individuals to act as citizens’, ‘promoting pluralism and diversity’, and ‘creating an alternative to the centralised state’. These variations can affect their organisational structure. Some describe NGOs as ‘community based voluntary organisations that help themselves and serve others at local level, national and international levels’ (ODA, 1990 :81); others as vehicles for ‘democratisation’ and essential components of a thriving ‘civil society’, which in turn are seen as essential to the success of the agenda’s economic dimensions’ (Moore ,1993) or as ‘formal organisations’, and as such, they emerged when a group of people organise themselves into a social unit that was established with the explicit objective of achieving certain ends and formulating rules to govern the relations among the members of the organisation and the duties of each other’ (Frantz,1987:122). According to Korten (1991) they were the earliest form of human organizations ‘long before there were governments’. People organized themselves into groups for mutual protection and self help.
The term continues to escape simplistic definitions and it is difficult to provide precise and commonly accepted definition. According to the Courier Report (1987) for an organisation to be an NGO in the true sense, it should fulfil the following criteria; firstly, it should be autonomous, neither depending substantially on the state for its funds (though it may be-and often does receive a proportion of its funds from public sources nor being beholden to Government in the pursuit of its objective; secondly, it should be non-profit making, thirdly, the major part of its funds should come from voluntary contribution. (1987:50) Two approaches to defining NGOs, broad and narrow, can be found:
· Every organisation in society that is not part of government and which operates in civil society. This includes political groups, labour and trade unions, religious bodies and institutions, guilds, sports clubs, arts and cultural societies, trade associations, professional associations.
· A specific type of organisation working in the field of development, one that works with people to help them improve their social and economic situation and prospects. (CWF,1994:23)
The narrow definition refers to a specific type of organisation working in the field of development, one that works with people to help them improve their social and economic situation and prospects. In general within the international context, the UN has conceptualised and preferred the usage of ‘NGO’ as follows:
Any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group that is organised on a local, national and international level. Task oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information. Some are organised around the specific issues, such as human rights, environment and health. They provide analysis and expertise serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreement.
The World Bank’s Operational Directive on NGOs (No.14 70 August 1970) defined the the term of ‘NGOs’ as (Cited in Korten,1991:21):
The groups and institutions that are entirely or largely independent of governmental and charecterised primarily by humanitarian or cooperative, rather than commercial objectives.
One of the dilemmas or problems in defining the term ‘NGO’ is its local meaning. Every government has its own indigenous organisational structures. Sometimes, the classification of these organisations poses new problems for this concept. For example the concept of ‘civil society’ in many countries, has been used interchangeably to NGO. Their objectives are differentiated, some NGOs direct their action toward clearly defined problems of society, while others act with much broader agendas. Some have objectives which are merely charitable, while others shape their efforts in a more political fashion, working with other groups in pursuit of a common goal. There are those NGOs which act to minimise the perverse effects of certain processes of economic growth and there are those which try to redirect these same processes (Frantz, 1987:124).
The growth of NGOs over the past two decades has given them an increasingly important role and has led to them forming a distinctive sector within civil society. Most of the sociologists define NGOs as organisations which posses four defining characteristics which enable them to be distinguished from other organisations in civil society. They are; voluntary, dependent, not-for profit, self-serving.(Edwards & Hulme,1989) (Moore, 1993)
In the last two decade, NGOs have been engaged in all sectors of social life like relief, rehabilitation, health, education, development programmes, peace, human rights, environment and so on. They have been using finance raised from voluntary, private sources, and donor agencies and managing themselves autonomously at local, national and international levels. Judge points out that many modern protagonists fail to recognise that the debate about the nature of NGOs has been in progress since the beginning of the century.(Judge, 1994:1)
3. Social, Political and Economic Bases of NGO Proliferation in the Post-Cold War Era
NGOs are a new phenomenon. Although they were the oldest Community Based Organisations (CBOs), within a globalised and modern world, with their new functions, roles, highly qualified personnel and organisational structures they have become essential structures of all types of societies. To understand the role and function of NGOs, it is necessary to examine their historical roots. Many NGOs are involved in what can be termed ‘care and welfare’ (Korten,1990:115) activities inherited from the charitable work or philantrophy that flourished in the industrial countries from the 19th century onwards. The second historical root of today’s NGOs is addressing the deeper causes of disadvantage by advocating change and raising public awareness of issues. When NGOs were largely concerned with care and welfare activities they carried out their activities in fields where government did not, or was unable to operate (Yazıcı,1993). This situation refers to the rise of liberal, social, political, and economic development of societies. It would seem that the emergence of NGOs and the development process of liberalism go together. They are both the cause and the outcome of each other. Therefore dramatic spread of NGOs should have to be evaluated in both broader and narrow contexts. When we look at it globally it can be explained that:
The explosion of NGOs has been happening in the context of a world which has been over the past few decades, characterised by rapid, complex and often unpredictable political, institutional, environmental, demographic, social and economic changes, which show no sign of ending which the past decade in particular has seen dramatic changes at global level that have been a fundamental impact on societies everywhere. (CWF, 1994: 10)
The explosion in NGO movement is caused and affected by challenges that have occurred in the theory and practice of what is broadly termed ‘development’; the process improving the conditions and prospects of people and nations.
There were positive recognition on NGOs both in developed and developing countries. They recognised it as “potent forces for social and economic development; important partners in nation building and national development; valuable forces in promoting democracy ” where does quote come from the language used to describe the activities of NGOs has changed over the decades. At the beginning, its role was understood as ‘care and welfare’ or ‘philantrophy’ but nowadays the image of NGOs is seen as organisations which are working for structural change in the society. They have the goal of working for the transformation of existing structures, democratisation, civil society etc. The growing disillusionment with institutionalised welfare pluralism that started in the late 1960s has received impetus from two developments. First, the series of world-wide economic crises that began in 1973 when the first oil shock forced governments to realise that their dreams of providing universal, institutional public care and welfare were at an end. The adjustment to this realisation continues. Second, the trends toward globalisation witnessed over the 1980s and 1990s have also limited the powers and abilities of governments to meet social needs, as has been discussed. But, the growing importance of NGOs in the modern world has also been seen as a problem in many developing countries. It is seen that as new global issues and trends have catapulted NGOs onto centre stage, their main role has become ‘dealing with new social, economic, political and environmental concerns’, which means becoming active in ‘awareness-rasing’, social organisation, consientisation, and in advocating change to the status quo. NGOs are seen as a response to the collapse of traditional structures and to be powerlessness of central government. Of course, it seems also as a dilemma that democratic societies are characterised by giving their citizens the right and freedom to associate. The exercise of this freedom produces the wide array of organisations and associations that operate in civil society whether they be political, religious, artistic, sporting, trade or commercial. The researcher prefers David C.Korten’s description on ‘development’. He describes it as :
development is a process by which the members of a society increase their personal and institutional capacities to mobilize and manage resources to produce sustainable and justly distributed improvements in their quality of life consistent with their own aspirations.(1990:67)
While most of the people equate ‘development’ either with ‘industrialization’ or more broadly with increases in economic output, in Korten’s definition the emphasis is on personal and institutional capacity. ‘It embodies principles of justice, sustainability as inclusiveness. It also acknowledges that only the people themselves can define what they consider to be improvements in the quality of their lives’ (Korten,1990:68).
One of the more positive advances of the 1980s has been a recognition of the essential development role of civil society. In this context NGOs can be seen as ‘indigenous people’s organisations’. Because, they can also be an expression of people’s belief that through their own initiative they can better fulfil their potential by working together, and thereby reduce the opportunity gap that exists between the advantaged and the disadvantages in society. In Bebbington’s writings, (1992, 1993) another interesting argument on this NGO growth, especially in the developing countries, in his focus on the role of military regimes. He points out :
Ironically, in many countries, military politics unintentionally led to an increase in the number of NGOs. As Daniel Rey from the Chilean NGO, AGRAIA, stated ‘ the dictatorship gave birth to institutions that resolve..... not only the needs that social groups have, but also the problems of professionals, those had no place to work; not only no place to work in the field wished , but no type of work at all’ In reality, institutions are made up of individual actors, this leaves' room for manoeuvre outside the limits defined by institutional mandates. (1993:42)
According to Edwards and Hulme, since the end of Cold War in 1989, bileteral and multileteral donor agencies have pursued a ‘New Policy Agenda’ which gives renewed prominence to NGOs and GROs in poverty alleviation, social welfare and the development of civil society (1996:961). NGOs are seen as the preferred channel for social welfare. They were seen as the integral part of a thriving civil society and an essential conterveight to state power.
The NGO growth can be seen also as one manifestation of new thinking about the role of government. Thus governments have turned to NGOs to the more of the providing presentation, decentralisation, and localisation are parallel manifestations of the same general trend sometimes as a result of these trends, but sometimes simply of their own evolution, people and communities have through forming local NGOs, taken their own initiatives. Just as governments frequently feel disempowered by globalisation, people too feel disempowered and want to respond. The NGO explosion is also directly related to minimising the direct role of government in the economy. It is argued that, because of their supposed cost-effectiveness in reaching the poorest, official agencies support NGOs in providing welfare services to those who cannot be reached through markets.
All these global and local changes thus represent different forms of impetus that have contributed to the NGO growth, and placed the spotlight of them. As Edwards and Hulme (1992) point out :
NGO expansion is seen as compelmenting the counter-revolution in development theory that underpins the policies of liberalisation, state withdrawal and structural adjustment favovred by official donors. NGOs are viewed as the ‘private non-profit’ sector, the performance of which advances the ‘public-bad’, and ‘private good’ ideology of the new orthodoxy. (1992:20)
The history of the West gives us the process of both ‘liberalism’ and ‘democratisation’. Democratisation is a ’step by step’ process. Within this process old charity and welfare organisations, and new NGOs took on very important roles. Today, according to Moore (1993), (Korten,1990:91), NGOs are seen as ‘vehicles for democratisation’ and are an ‘essential component of a thriving civil society’. According to him, NGOs are supposed to act as a counter-weight to state-power -protecting human rights, opening up channels for communication and participation, providing a training grounds for the social activities and promoting pluralism (Moore, 1993: 21). In this process, NGOs are also seen an ‘effective vehicle for the delivery of the agenda’s economic and political objectives’ (Edwards & Hulme, 1995: 4) or ‘agents of filling gap left by government‘ (Bebbington & Farrigon, 1992).
Overarching all other factors behind NGO expansion has been the rise of neo-liberalism was very affective in the last few decades.As Gideon (1996) points out:
The neo-liberal model considers that the state centred development is not productive since it has resulted in inefficient resources allocation and there is not sufficient economic incentive for public sector management to remedy the situation. The policy that has had most direct impact on NGOs is the cutting back of the public sector. Many NGOs now directly taking on functions that were previously carried out by the state. (Cutting in health and education services). This has also had direct implications for NGOs as a result of their supposed advantages. (1996:7)
The rise of NGOs and on the world scene is an important phenomenon that has implications for the development prospects of poor people, for the future of these organisations themselves, and for the wider political economy of which they form a small but growing part. What lies behind these trends? Edwards and Hulme (1992) argue that :
The rise of NGOs is not an accident; nor it is solely response to local initiative and voluntary action. Equally important is the increasing popularity of NGOs with governments and official aid agencies, which is itself a response to recent developments in economic and political thinking. (1992:4)
One of the main characteristics of the community organisations such as NGOs is their humanitarian structures. NGOs cannot be seen only as ‘service delivery’ or ‘democratisation’ or ‘development vehicles’. They are the part of the organising demand of human nature. In the second half of the century, they are part of the development process. Following the failure of global developmentalist paradigms such as stabilisation, structural adjustment, central-planning, five year development plans, import-substituted to export oriented programmes, balanced budget and so on. NGOs operate within the global context. Most Marxists thinkers criticise the new form of intrvention arguing that each of these projects is a new form of colonising the ‘the Others,' or ‘the Rest’.
After the failure of the global paradigms and dreams, the emergence of indigenous NGOs can be seen as dynamics and natural process of economic, political and social development. Today, after the cases of Japan and some East Asian countries like the Tigers, within the developing world, development has come to be understood and as primarily an indigenous process. Within the laws , restrictions, acceptance and rejections of the structures of societies NGOs have been growing like mushrooms. The rise and explosion of NGOs can not be separated from the trends in the world politics and political economy and from the issues of globalisation, transnational companies, the role of government, neo-liberalism, civil society theories, and also new blocks in the world after the collapse of Soviet Union at the end of 1980s.
However, while many developing countries’ governments are actively seeking ways to encourage more NGO action, some others are suspicious about NGOs and their self-appointed role as agents of change. According to Williams the growth of NGOs often poses a dilemma for state, especially in societies where voluntary associations did not play a formative role and where the state predetermined. Some other governments insist on their sovereign political right to act as gatekeepers between organizations within their borders and agencies from the outside world (1990:32).
4. The Spectrum of NGO Activities in the Modern World
The two historical roots of NGOs, care and welfare activities, find expression in the two principal ways in which NGOs endeavour to achieve their aims through care and welfare activities ; alongside their activities oriented promoting change and development. These two functions are not mutually exclusive and thus do not create two recognisable types of NGOs. Many NGOs are involved in both, for now, as in the past, the two are connected : indeed, many NGOs describe themselves as multi-functional. Today, a broad range of organisations, clubs and associations are found in democratic societies which have a wide variety of social, political, civil, sporting, religious, business, cultural and recreational purposes. As new concerns have arisen, and the capacities of governments to meet the needs of their citizens have been reduced by globalisation and economic constraints, the role of NGOs has expanded. At the beginning of 1980s with the effect of neoliberal ideology the thoughts on democracy have developed and widened. The conmon understanding was that ‘democracy is not just a matter of formal political arrangement, but a way of life embracing plurality, diversity and difference. Civil society is the virtue of democracy. NGOs have come to be involved in the fields spanning the whole spectrum of human need including health, education rural and urban development, environment, population, social welfare, employment creation, skills training, economic development, environmental concerns, gender awareness and action, peace and human rights, and the informal sector. They have played a major role in highlighting the impact of national debt, structural adjustment and the unemployment of the disadvantaged sectors of society. In all these fields, much has been done by NGOs to pioneer new policies and practices and create a better public understanding and awareness of many emerging, social, economic, and environmental issues and problems. (CWF,1994: 29)
The rapid rise in the number of civil society organisations and their increase in quantity has not been matched by an increase in quality, resulting in many common problems regarding accountability. The increased number, scope and outreach of civil society organisations demand stronger , more reliable and sustainable funding mechanisms. The answer to future escalating demands on apparently limited resources may be in the creation of new and/or indigenous forms of resource mobilisation, or in the development of new means to increase known resources.
According to the Report of Commonwealth Foundation (1994), NGO activities can ce grouped under two headings. These are:
Table 1: NGO Activities in Modern World
a) Care and Welfare
· Service and delivery
· Mobilising resources
· Research and innovation
· Human resource development
· Public information
b) Change and Development
These organisation are structured on
field of activities;
· Welfare organisations
· Development organisations
· Environmental organisations
· Indigenous people’s organisations
· Women’s organisations
· Youth organisations
· Human right organisations
· Environmental groups
· Income generating projects
· Job creation programmes
· Children organisations
· Disabilities organisations
· Workers organisations
It is argued (Edwards and Hulme,1995:4) that, NGOs can use existing resources more efficiently than other agencies and mobilise additional resources. They it is claimed ‘speak for the poor’ and are seen as;
· ‘preferred channel’ for service-provision in ‘deliberate substitution’ for the state.
· Vehicles for ‘democratisation’ and essential components of a thriving ‘civil society’
· effective vehicles for the delivery of the agenda’s economic and political objectives.
On the other hand, NGOs cannot be separated from the theories of democratisation and social transformation. Bayat (1996), critically evaluates their expression and says that :
There is a marked change in the attitude of many states in the developing countries towards the vulnerable with the collapse of populism and the traditional social contract, the fate of the poor are passed on the market and trickle down of national economic growth. In the context of the apparent failure of the conventional development models, and a clear shift of emphasis from state to individuals in development process, the NGO sector is assumed to act as agent of both democracy and development. (1996: 3)
Both liberals and radicals, meanwhile, welcome NGOs as agents of social transformation from below. As an alternative to state intervention, the NGOs are promoted as agents to realise primary development among the poor. According to Drabek one of the fundamental reason behind the recent attentions on NGOs is that they are perceived to be able to do something that national governments cannot or will not do. Yet NGOs have no intention or desire to supplant or compete with the state in their development efforts. (1987:xiii)
NGOs have established some very good channels to reach people in the developing world. Governments are not able to support the upkeep of social services because of huge expenditures on infrastructure. Infrastructure was accepted as an urgent need, essential to reach development and modernity in the developing countries. Most government expenditures have gone on large-scale projects like dams, hospitals, schools, water and waste-water channels, etc. Governments have generally failed to separate income generating activities and employment investments. Therefore, NGOs have become an alternative sector, some developmentalists describe it as the ‘third sector’ (Uphoff, 1995),(Korten,1990) by relation to the public and the private. Uphoff analyses NGOs within civil society according to their characteristics, types and roles. He argues that , there are two types of NGOs in civil society:
first, NGOs which are concerned with supporting social movements and/or initiatives of development that are expression of the free will of groups. Support the strengthening of civil society and the conflictive dynamics of individuals and group aspirations as they try to build a collective society in which every individual becomes a citizen. Second, there are those NGOs which are the expression of certain social movements, having emerged from them or representing a certain degree of their institutionalisation. In this sense, NGOs are the expression of civil society’s capacity for free organisation and its vitality in its different historical perspectives (Uphoff,1995:123).
There may be many different organisational forms in different communities and in different social and political systems. This diversity of NGO activities reflects itself in the wide range of expressions NGOs use to describe their function which include as human rights, environment, development, or religious organisations. The diversity also indicates that NGOs, with their highly specialised personnel, have highly specialised targets.
When we look at the historical process of the NGOs, commonly we find these notions within all perspectives, and also both the governmental and the public side. These notions can be grouped as ‘care and welfare’; ‘philantrophy’; ‘speech for the poor’; ‘fill gap left by the government’ (Bebbington & Farrigon,1992:55), (Clark,1992); ‘service substitution’; ‘public service contractors’ (Clark,1992:152); ‘agents of democratisation’; ‘helping people to help themselves’; ‘change and development’ and so on. These are the images which they are trying to project to communities and societies. These it can be argued affords opportunities to influence governments on their responsibility and accountability.
Changes in what NGOs do, and in the political, economic, social and institutional environments in which they operate, have considerably changed the nature and extent of the relationships NGOs have with others. In general, NGOs have often pioneered and promoted innovative programmes and policies subsequently supported or adopted by governments. But in some cases, NGOs activities or experiments have been adopted for the purpose of control rather than co-operation.
In recent last years there have been many debates on ‘NGO’ activities. Criticism has come mostly from Islamists, socialists and also from Third Worldist perspective. These give voice to opposition to the Western World, New colonialism, Transnational Companies, and International NGOs. These resources have described NGOs as ‘Not -for- Growth Organisations’ or ‘ Necessary -to- Governance Organisations’ (Judge, 1994). Such criticism indicate some aspects of NGO activities especially of international donor agencies (NNGOs) which operate all over the world with the huge budgets. The Islamists in Bangladesh for example see the international NGOs as tool to destroy the fabric of Bengali society. At the time, NGOs were causing a real social revolution by providing women credit in their own right, creating their own-self employment, reducing the dependency on money landers and landlords. In 1994, NGOs were shaken by the extent of ignorance and suspicious there existed in Bangladeshi society about their work (Holloway,1997:41).The other side of coin is that, NGOs, it is argued that, act not as human relief and care organisations in the South but as the representatives of the communities they serve. There are many case to support this argument. A few of them can be found in Northern Iraq, South Sudan or Afghanistan. The following articulates viewpoint:
The fact that international NGOs work closely with the Kurds creates important opportunities for representing the concerns of the Kurds in international fora. NGOs are able to make representation to the UN. They can communicate concerns through the international media. (Keen,1993:19)
There are several categories of NGO type organisations working within the Third World. One such provides funds and lobbying on several issues. This type of NGO is generally called ‘advocacy NGO’. According to Baitenman (1990) its the main charecteristic is that most have a political agenda, taking a pro-resistance stance in the case of Afghanistan. Many have ties to right-wing movements, alliances and political paties in Europe on in the US. She argues that “ advocacy NGOs engage in a variety of activities which have had the overall effect of supporting the rebels’ goals. (1990:77)
The activities of advocacy NGOs through their intemediary NGOs can be broadly classified as follows in the words of Baitenman :
The provision of information to influence public opinion and build popular support for the rebels has entailed publishing newsletters and jurnals; writing articles andinfluencing press; supplying video tapes,photos, print news to journals; assisting reporters with logistic and resources; organizing films, lectures and conferences; conducting researc,survey and public opinion polls; maintaining libraries;monitoring human right violations; providing journalism cources; and inviting resistance leaders... In Afghanistan , the fourty type of activity that advocacy NGOs engage in is the provision of non-lethal aid.(1990:78)
This indicates how NNGOs are deeply involved in issues which are not in their publicly declared agenda. The sitaution is same in throuhout the world. Today it is higly accepted that where there are internal conflicts, there could be international NGOs located there. NGOs can easy access these places in the name of care and humanitarian aid. Clearly. NGOs humanitarian work have been used for political purpuses. They spend huge amount of budgets to implement their agendas most or part of which are hidden. This hidden agenda is generally formulated as ‘destroying the existing social, political and economic structure, and values’, and ‘sapporting the internal conflicts’. Baitenman names these type of NGOs as ‘conscious agents of political interest’(1990:82). Furthermore, Sampson has expressed the view that NGOs have began to expand into the sectors of women rights, human rights, minority rights and in Albania; the rehablitation of torture victims. With these activities Westerners are assumed to have their ‘hidden agenda’, to be out for material gain, or are simply naive (1996:136)
5. Government Organisations vis-à-vis NGOs: Private, Sub-Private or Third
According to Uphoff , the new relationship between the public and private sectors is the result of a range of economic, political and social transition and forces. (1995: 17) Government bodies are experiencing both a decline in fiscal support and in public credibility. Market institutions are gaining greater attitude and confidence with both ideological support and resource advantages. In this situation, NGOs are being described as a ‘third sector’. Uphoff says that this characterisation is misleading. The real third sector located somewhere between the public and the private, belongs not to the NGOs but rather to people’s associations and membership organisations. These differ from institutions in the public and private sectors in that they undertake voluntary collective action and self-help. According to Uphoff, NGOs are best considered as a sub-sector of the private sector. NGOs are service organisations which operate much like private business. Moreover, the main difference between GOs and NGOs is that GOs target and reach small communities (target populations) or members. An experimentation of the roles that people find themselves in vis-à-vis these different kinds of institutions- and of the mechanisms for the accountability they operate suggests that ‘NGOs‘ are best considered as a sub-sector of the private sector. This is implied by the synonym used for NGOs- private voluntary organisations (Uphoff, 1995 : 17)
New relationship between public and private sectors around the world are resulting from a range of political, economic and social transitions and forces. Before the 1980s the wide spread belief that development is a task for governments legitimated authoritarianism and created a major barrier to true development progress in the South. According to Korten, ‘people have been expected to put their faith and resources in the hands of government. In return governments have promised to bestow on the people to gift of development’ (1990:95). But one of the more positive advances of the 1980s has been the recognition of civil society as a tool and agent of development. According to Gideon the neo-liberal model considers that the state centred development is not productive since it has resulted in inefficient resources allocation and there is not sufficient economic incentive for public sector management to remedy the situation. The policy which has had most direct impact on NGOs is the cutting back of the public sector. Many NGOs now directly take on functions that were previously carried out by the state. This has also had direct implications for NGOs as a result of their supposed advantages (1996: 7). The restructuring of the state which has accompanied the neo-liberal paradigm has seen certain changes which have assigned a new role to NGOs and has led to the emergence of new kinds of NGOs. Since with the rise of neo-liberalism the notion of the state as society’s problem solver has became weak.
6. NGOs: Agents of Development
In this section the strenghts and weaknesses, negative and positive aspects, of NGOs and the implications of their role in development will be evaluated. A number of writers questioned the strenghts and weaknesses of NGOs. For example Clark (1991) pointed out the weaknesses of NGOs interms of administration on the other hand Edwads and Hulme (1992:17) highlight the developmental impacts, efficiency on using resources and effectiveness on influencing the state existing policies on development. Robinson (1992) highlihted the performance of NGOs on alleviating poverty in rural. There are relatively few critics of NGOs activities. Their functions have been considered and perceived mostly positively. According to Edwards (1989), as mentioned earlier, NGOs are accepted as the most efficient agents and motors of reaching and succeeding the sustainable development. In short, it is accepted that, NGOs can use existing resources more efficiently than the others , governments and agencies, and can mobilise additional resources. According to Korten ‘the 1980s saw a growing rejection of the myth that government is the sole legitimate agents for development decision making and the management of development process’(1990:28). It is now widely accepted that NGOs have had an essential, if not central, role where changes in policy have resulted and new possibilities have been opened. Korten states:
many donors and governments also came to appreciate the important and distinctive development role of NGOs during the 1980s. NGOs began to take themselves more seriously, making commitments to strengthen their capacities to provide leadership on important policy issue. (1990:28)
According to Edwards & Hulme (1992) most NGOs tend to believe that they know better than the people who, by virtue of poor education, lack of knowledge of the world outside the village, or their overwhelming concern with immediate survival, have distorted or wrong ideas about their situation or ‘real needs’. It hardly needs saying that such attitudes of NGO workers are quite similar to the attitudes of experts, who also, quite often postulate the same ‘good intention’ derived from humanitarian concerns. They also assert that they know what is best for the people (Edwards, 1989 :58). Cernea (1988) express the role of NGOs in develepment as:
In Recent years it has been witnessed the explosive emergence of NGOs as a major collective actor in development activities and on the public agenda in general. This is a significant political, social and economic trend. Within the traditional areas of encounter between the state and people, this new actor is asserting himself with increasing people. (1988:1)
According to Korten (1990:91), NGOs have been accepted as ‘peripheral actors on the developmental stage, leaving big issues to organisations that command far larger financial resources’. They have been content to do good on a small-scale in few localities, often limiting themselves to welfare activities. Masoni has the same arguments with Korten in his analysis on NGOs activities. He argues that the reason behind working in microlevel is that large projects require a bureacracy and large budget. It also needs coordination of planners, technicians and administrators. Therefore NGOs prefer face-to-face relations that increases the people’s confidence and work in development which gives the ability to control the project target to create mobilization and improvement in community level (1985:39).
Markets and private initiatives are seen as the most efficient mechanisms for achieving economic growth and providing most services to most people. Governments ‘enable’ private provision but should minimise their direct role in the economy; because of their supposed cost-effectiveness in reaching the poorest, official agencies support NGOs in providing welfare services to those who cannot be reached through markets. Main characteristics of NGOs are their ability to reach poor communities in remote areas that have few basic resources or infrastructure, and where government services are limited or ineffective; they have the ability to promote local participation in the design and implementation of public programmes by building self-confidence and strengthening the organisational capability among low-income people; they use low-cost technologies, streamlined services and low operating costs; and they are innovative and adaptable in the identification of local needs, can build upon resources and transfer technologies developed elsewhere" (Porter,1991:138). Robinson (1992) highlights the same views on the capacities and advantages of NGOs. According to him, NGOs are good at reaching the poorest in the sense of involving them in the development activities and rising their living standards. NGOs are seen as a most effective mechanism that reach the poor, and their strengthening has for the most part involved direct or indirect funding. NGOs are also effective working with disadvantaged women and improving women’s economic and social status or effectively challenging prevailing patterns of discrimination (Robinson, 1992:32).
Brown and Korten argues that the NGOs of concern to development have been those engaged in such fuctions as provision of services, community organizing, technical and and educational assistance, taining and technical support and advocacy (1991:55). In reaching the poor that not served by public agencies, to facilitate local resource mobilization and the development, it was aggreed that NGOs have demonstrated their ability to promote local participation and willingness to adopt to local needs and conditions. It was alos accepted that NGOs deliver services at a relatively low cost and have ability to find innovative solutions to solve local problems. Those charecteristics of NGOs has been accepted as the strenghts of NGOs by various evaluaters (Brown & Korten,1991:55)
There are also weaknesses of NGOs interms of their activities, organizational behaviour and sustainability of the proposed projects. NGOs are commonly creticised by the capacity of their introduced projects. They were taken as micro level activities and NGOs are determined as ‘micro level actors’ (Brown & Korten,1991:55). The spcope of activity lies on the centrer of criticsm. According to these criticsims NGOs have not the ability of evaluating and acting in regional or national level. Another issue of cricism mostly goes to the survival or sustainability of projects in community level. Because it was argued that running of the externaly introduced projects are difficult by the local people when the outsiders, NGO staff, withdraw their activities in the region. This is the most serious question on the NGO activities. Local peoples ability to sustain cooperatives, organization, commities without the quidance and support of proffesionals are very difficult in developing counties. It needs ability to develop relations with govermental officies and also needs ability to continue the activities within the complex bureaucratic structure of state mechanism.
On the other hand, there are other aspects of criticism and questioning on the status and also roles of NGOs in general. Here, one of the important point which is the differentiation of grassroots organisations and international NGOs. This can be described ‘internal’ and ‘external’ factors in development. Today, many developing countries perceive the international organisations as negative agents for their societies. Many article have been written on the irrelevance of WB, (Aydın,1993), FAO, UNIDO or any other UN or voluntary organisations in particular in Africa’s development in general developing countries. Because it is understood, in general, as an import of neo-liberalism and new type of dependency. According to Bayat (1996) and Rahnema (1985:80), most grassroots movements which have emerged, particularly in the last two decades, should be viewed as the response of this ‘turbulent consciousness ‘ to the failing promises of different kinds of Gods and Caesar. In the Third World, in particular, they constitute an expression of people’s deep disillusionment with the realities of development institutions and practices. They also represent their search for new ways of organising themselves in order to solve their problems according to their own cultural aspirations and their often different vision of a desirable society. They finally represent the grassroot people’s belief that any assistance coming from above or outside is either not for the poor, or for ‘relief’ operations that will ultimately increase the poor’s dependency on the same sources. The lessons is therefore that, for all matters concerning their survival and their ultimate liberation, they should henceforth only rely on their own collective-forces which they alone will mobilise and to develop.
There is clearly a danger in building up a new NGO myth according to which NGOs could be trusted solely because they are different from the state apparatus. No one could challenge the fact that there are differences between NGOs and governments, namely with regard to their particular modalities of action, their greater freedom from bureaucratic constraints and their field of interest. NGOs are indeed often in a better position to serve and to work with isolated communities. As such they also may understand better the needs of their ‘target populations’ and the possibility of implementing more effectively the projects designed to this end. Yet there is still little evidence to show that their perception of the people’s deeper cultural and existential aspirations go beyond the significant concept of ‘target populations’, i.e., populations who have been ‘targeted’ by the ‘developed’ world. As such, their views on the ultimate goals of development -as an instrument giving some of the privilege of ‘developing’ others are seldom basically different from those of governmental organisations (Rahnema,1985: 69).
How one looks at the NGOs and their roles on development often depends on the understanding on ‘development’ and roles of the state. This is an area of various debates varies the approaches that consider ‘development’ as technical, financial, political, organizational, institutional or social problem.
7. NGOs Within Civil Society: NGOs as Sub-Set of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
The location of NGOs within civil society is found very crucial and problematic in many countries especially non-western societies, in the South and East. Because of the dynamics or structure of these institutions are much different than those of western ones. It is easy to fall into a trap of thinking that civil society is a level of playing field and the new salvation for development. Civil society is a messy arena of competing claims and interests between groups and thoughts. The term ‘civil society’ has a long history in social sciences, and its definition has altered with Hegelian, Marxist and Gramscian interpretations long before it was restructured in the 1990s. Gramsci, the most familiar of modern interpretations, described civil society in a distinctive sence; as the sphere where battles capitalist logic. Civil society takes on the notion of ‘terrain’; a place where the state, the people and the market interact and where the wage war against the hegemony of the market and the state. By the 20th century, civil society had been constructed in opposition to the state, the law, nature and capitalism- for good or for ill.
There are many ways of presenting civil society that as one of the three sector (Korten,1990), and ‘engine of caring’. Uphoff (1995) asserts that ;
Most organisations referred as NGOs thus belong, analytically to the private sector, albeit to the service (i.e., not for profit) sub-sector thereof. True, some NGOs have been created by and operate on behalf of members. But for most part, NGOs serve persons who are not members of their organisations, and this makes them essentially service organisations, with mostly employees producing and distributing benefits (1995: 17).
Currently, there is much talk NGOs as leading actors in civil society. One of the difficulties with this is that. It is belived that ‘civil society’ simply was equated with ‘NGOs’. It was thought that NGOs are sub-sets or element of civil society and therefore civil society is understood as a ‘pool of organisations’ within the social life and everyday new elements are included within this pool. Hundreds of thousands of formally or informally organised groups and organisations are accepted as the core of civil society. But civil society is not a homogenous mass of organisations. Therefore civil society, in a way, is understood as a value neutral term which refers to all of those arguments. Civil society can also be described as a ‘building’ and the bricks of this building are the organised groups within social system that do not belong either to the state or to the private sectors.
There are several ways of interpreting ‘civil society’. One of the difficulties is that ‘civil society’ itself is discussed through a variety of terms the equivalence of which have not been effectively explored. Judge states that:
These include NGOs, voluntary associations, non-profit sector, not-for-profit sector, charitable organisations, benevolent societies and third sector. Depending on who uses these terms, there may, or may not, include bodies such as labour unions, trade associations, professional societies, or legally unrecognised (and even illegal) bodies such as cartels and crime rings. In many cases it is not what is effectively excluded and why. (1994: 1)
It might be assumed that the most straightforward approach to ‘civil society’ is through the legal aspect, in relation to ‘freedom of association’. This is , both, a very narrow and a very broad approach. It is a way and process of natural indigenous association and also in a broader meaning the right of associating in the international arena. Civil society can also be understood as ‘deeply rooted network of organisations and institutions that mediate the citizens and the state’. It is the ‘connective tissue of democratic culture’ or a ‘way of promoting pluralism and diversity in society‘(Judge,1994: 3), or a ’vehicle for various kinds of individual expressions’ or ‘mobilizer of a far greater range of human talent’(Korten,1990:28).
But within the evolving economic and political context there is little questioning of whether NGOs are appropriate vehicles for the process which is called ‘democracy’ (Korten,1990:91). According to Biggs and Neame (1995), ‘democracy tends to be seen as a smooth, linear, time-based progression from one predetermined set of outcomes to another’. They highlight the points that:
Civil society is an arena of social and political life autonomous from state domination where progressive values and political practices can be seen articulated, counter hegemonies institutions can be created which can nurture and nourish the creation of a outhonomous political actors who are able to articulate and defend their interests, proposed alternative projects For structuring the state and society and transform the relations of state and society. (1995: 35)
Such a position on the state and civil society see it as entirely distinct entities. Although Biggs and Neame argue that “civil society is not concerned primarily with power, it may be ranged against the excessive concentration or abuse of power in any quarter“ (Biggs & Neame, 1995: 3). It is generally accepted that both are the holders of ‘power’ in the modern globalised world. We are today most familiar with the idea that civil society exists in opposition to the state.
The role and relevance of NGOs has long been questioned from political and sociological perspective. Politically there is the well known conceptualisation of civil society defined by the term ‘power broker’. From the political perspective of acquisition and use of power, NGOs are accepted as less powerful. This approach is questionable. Today, it is known that there are hundred or thousands of international NGOs which have at their disposal greater budgets than many countries. They have been serving as the agents of transitional companies and the western interests. They have promoted ‘liberation movements’ or civil wars within the rest of the world such as in Albenia, Afghanistan, Northern Iraq and Sudan. The dramatic increase in the numbers and budget of such organisations are considered sceptically from the third world’s point of view. Khan (1996) sees the international aid organizations and NGO as missionaries because of their concern in muslim communities. He argues that they are aiming at the most neglegted, deprived, and illeterate muslim communities. They are wooded through medical, educational nd agricultural help. On the oter hand they are try to carry out one other task of “Sharing Christ” (1996:21).
Today, most NGOs are forced to join some ideological platform, in other words, to accept for themselves the role of central actors in the restructuring of the system. Most of them still limit themselves to do a small scale welfare activities. The development of NGOs can very often be tracked in relation to this journey from a welfare base to a more developmental focus. According to Gibson (1994) the reason for NGOs pushing in this direction is very clear. He argues :
the original approach with which they started usually created dependency among the intended beneficiaries and found itself with no clear direction forward. NGO find that a more business-like approach from them encourages a similar perspective from their clients. (Gibson,1994:194)
8. The Concept of Participation through NGOs
While it is historically impossible to identify the emergence of these strategies with complete accuracy, it could be said that disenhancement with development strategies in the mid-1970s led to the emergence of ‘participation’ as a major new force in development thinking. Interestingly, broadly two different schools of thought came to the same conclusion in arguing that ‘participation’ was a critical element in tackling the problems of poor people in the Whird World. According to Oakley (1994), one school saw ‘participation’ as the key to the ‘inclusion of human resources in development efforts’; previously development planners had overlooked the contributions that people could make and the skills that they could bring to development projects. If, therefore, one could incorporate the human element in such projects and pursuade people to participate in turn, then there would be a stronger chance that these projects would be successful. The other school saw this ‘participation’ in a very different light. It saw participation as ‘more linked to tackling the structural causes of people’s poverty’ rather than as yet another input into a development project. People are poor because they are excluded and have little influence upon the forces which affect their livelihoods. Participation is the process whereby such people seek to have some influence and to gain access to the resources which would help them sustain and improve their living standards ( Oakley et al.
According to Carnea, there are many possible kinds of participation, and who participates and how may be more crucial to project success than any purely quantitative expression of participation. Researchers can reasonably disagree about what is to be considered ‘participation’, but it should be possible to asses the results of different approaches, assumptions, and mechanism (Carnea,1985:369). Participatory process comoes out in four way .These are participation in decison makiong; implementation; benefit sharing and evaluation. There are two contrasting interpretation. One is : The people are ‘mobilised’ to implement activities generally decided by outsiders. This instrumental and interventionist interpretation is contrasted with the second view, which regards participation as ‘empowering’ the rural poor to play an effective role in development. (Oakley and Masden, 1982: vi) There have also been a variety of outside pressures ; from the church, western private organisations and official and agencies. Numerous northern private voluntary organisations have also contributed to the growth of the third sector in the developing world (Korten,1990:95). Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, many such organisations from America and especially Canada and Europe shifted from their traditional emphasis on humanitarian relief to a new focus on “empowerment” (Salamon, 1994: 114) Today, Participation as way of empowering people to mobilize their own capacities, be social actors rather than passive subjects; managing the resources, and making decissions and controlling the activities is more myth than reality in various development projects. The real participation of uneduceted, illeretate masses in investment planning, decion making and evlation process of the projects will be limited. It needs involvement in various special training activities in all levels of demographic groups. It also needs spare time for the people who are busy in most of their daily life with production and reproduction activities.
Today, at the beginning of the 21th century, it seems that societies are based mostly on the individual organisations. These organisations can initiate various kinds of activities from economic to environmental. People have become part of these activities. It has become a way of life and also a mechanism of livelihood. Now, there are full -time professional organisations that are consuming time and energy to engage the interests and involvement of other groups and institutions in society. They are addressing matters which are detrimental to the well -being, circumstances and prospects of people in such fields as human rights, environment, peace, gender awareness, the rights of indigenous and may be subordinated people. This sensitivity can also be understood as self-satisfaction and also hear confession If it is studied critically, global problems of communities are not their own destiny. It is the result of modern, global, capitalist and the colonialist processes. It is the result of the understanding and the discourses of the western world.
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Before the 1950s, the societies were mainly classified according to types of production, as capitalist, pre-capitalist, or feudal. In the last half of the 20th century with the emergence of the UN, Nations were classified as ‘first world’ ( western capitalist), ‘second world’ (communist Soviet block) and as ‘third world’ (those countries inhabited by non-Europeans that were poor and for the most part colonies of Europe). During the post-war era, they are classified as ‘capitalist’, socialist’ and ‘rest’. For more detailed debates and discussions on the classification of states and questionong on ‘thirld world’ see Cammack at all 1993, p.5 .Another type of classification in the last few decades is used by UN and by some international agencies like WB and IMF as ‘developed’, ‘developing’ and ‘least developing’ In 1970s to these descriptions, ‘newly industrialising countries’ (NICs) and ‘ new agricultural countries (NACs) were added. In the 1990s new descriptions also have emerged liked ‘European Community’ (EC), G-7(Developed Seven) , Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), and in
-Başkaya highlights the mentioned issues from the sociological and economic perspective. In general, he argues that the history of the Economics, Liberalism, Modernity are all the history of Western world which are different from the Rest of the world. For the details of his arguments see Başkaya, Fikret., (1992), Kalkınma İktisadının Yükselişi ve Düşüşü, (Fall and Rise of Development Economics), Ankara: İmge Kitabevi ; Başkaya, Fikret., (1994), Azgelişmişliğin Sürekliliği, (Continuity of Underdevelopment), Ankara
 This paper was published in an internet page source: http://mickey.interpac.be/uia/uiadoes/ngocivil.htm
 Edwards and Hulme claim that the new policy agenda has led official agencies to channel increasing amounts of money to and through them. The proportion of total bilateral aid channelled through NGOs is increasing. The proportion of total aid from member countries of the OECD channelled through NGOs rose from 0.7% in 1975 to 3.6% in 1985, and at least 5% in 1993-1994, some US$ 2.3 billion in absolute terms. For some bilateral donors the figure is much higher; for example, 30% of total Swedish Aid was channelled through NGOs in 1994. For example the British Overseas Development Administration (ODA) is already funding over 450 local NGOs in India. See for the discusion and more information on this issue of funding through donor, Edwards and Hulme(eds),1996, “Too Close for Comfort ? The Impact of Official Aid on NGOs”, World Development, 24(6),p.961-973
 The term ‘South’ is used here essentially as a synonym ‘Third World’ or ‘Developing Countries’. On the other hand, ‘North’ is used as a synonymous with ‘First’ and ‘Second World’, ‘Industrial’ or ‘Developed Countries’. The North/South terminology presents a greater symmetry than the First world/Third World terminlogy. There is less implication that one advances by becoming more like the other. On debates on North and South distinction see, Korten,1990,p.7
 The North/South Institute Civil Society Research Project, Draft Working Paper “Civil Society: the Development Solution ?” source: http://www.nsi.ins.ca/civil/
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