The non-government organizations are the bodies that are established to address the social and political issues that exist in the community. These entities operate in an independent fashion and the government has no role to play in their functional aspects. These voluntary citizens’ associations are formed at various levels – international, domestic and local levels. They adopt a task-oriented approach so that different social problems can be solved in the most convenient manner. The common interest of the involved people acts as the driver that drives them towards the ultimate objective of NGOs (Agarwala et al., 2014).
There exist different kinds of non-government organizations. Some are established with the intention to remove specific social evils like poverty, malnutrition, etc. Other NGOs come into existence to focus on issues like human rights, environmental aspects, health aspects, etc. As per Fowler, sometimes NGOs decide to join hands with government agencies, major development institutions like bilateral and multilateral donors, or other contributors in order to strengthen peace, reduce poverty and enhance the sustainability of the environment (Fowler, 2013). While adopting such models the NGOs might face a number of challenges in their path. The assignment focuses on these challenges so that the overall functioning of NGOs can be strengthened.
The government and the non-government organizations that exist in society exist so that the quality of life of the people can enhance. The main focus of these bodies is to enhance the social development and community development, and form partnerships between various organizations so that society can have a positive impact through their existence.
The role of the government is vital for the development and growth of a nation. It is responsible to aid the transition towards a more efficient and stronger economy. When the NGOs and government join hands, their overall agenda get strengthened which in turn strengthens the economies, industries and the people. According to Coston, the major roles of the government can be classified into four categories namely policy development, regulation, facilitation and internal sustainability management (Coston, 1998). When the non-government organizations form a partnership with government bodies, the objective gets boosted and it becomes simpler for both the parties to bring about the desired change in the social front.
The NGOs that have a strong presence all around the globe have access to different kinds of resources so that they can enhance the living conditions of the people and eradicate the specific social evil which they intend to address. Sometimes the NGOs are seen as a complex mixture of alliances and rivalries, charities and businesses, radicals and conservatives (Prabhakar, 2014). These bodies receive financial assistance from various sources such as donations, private charities bilateral and multilateral aid from the UN, World Bank, etc.
The relationship that exists between non-government organizations and the government is a vital component that has a key impact on the delivery of the ultimate service to the end-user. The idea of a partnership between the two entities is not as simple as it seems. There exist a number of complexities in the idea of “partnership” since the NGOs comprise multiple layers, types, roles, services, etc. The partnership that an NGO can have with another body would be definitely affected by the policy commitments as well as the conditioning factors. Even though the objective of the involved participants is to attain peace, minimize poverty and enhance sustainability, the influence of the external factors makes the objective challenging to attain (Sagepub, 2017).
The NGOs are primarily designed as the development-related projects that can be categorized as “relief-oriented” or “development-oriented”. The operational NGOs can be divided into community-based, nation-based or international-based. The main factors that motivate the partnership and cooperation of NGOs have been highlighted below:
The multilateral bodies like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), donors, etc. have reduced faith in the national governments and markets to deliver the quality offering.
There is a greater need for reduced national budgets that can meet the various demands of society like health demands, social welfare, educational requirements, etc. The allocated resources need to put to effective use so that it is used by the people who are in need of it (Verger, Altinyelken & Novelli, 2013).
The stronger ability of the voluntary sector i.e. the non-government organizations makes it the key area that attracts funds in order to support the overall delivery of the basic services to the target service user.
The new era that includes technological development and better administrative skills, strengthens the desire and the ability of the government to expand the role that is played by the non-government organizations and civil societies.
Thus a number of elements come into play that motivates NGOs and the government bodies or the bilateral and multilateral donors to join hands and form a partnership so that the service delivery can be strengthened (Prabhakar, 2014). But there arise a number of challenges in the path of this partnership model that makes it a challenge to attain peace, reduce poverty or strengthen the overall social sustainability.
The partnership between an NGO and government body or any other organization seems to be an effective idea in the initial stage. But a number of challenges come to the surface during the implementation of the partnership model that hampers the ultimate objective of the involved bodies. The issues that arise can be due to a number of reasons such as the lack of transparency, lack of accountability, the influence of the political setting, poor decision-making model, rivalry, and mistrust, etc.
The other issues that might arise in the path include the perception of the community towards the NGO and the government, increase in community resentment, lack of long-term vision, the expectation of the government of the NGO, ineffective disbursement of the development funds, misconceptions in the process, etc. These challenges that have been presented are not exclusive in nature and there is the possibility of other kinds of challenges that could slow down the participation of both the parties (Agarwala et al., 2014). The major challenges that could act as a barrier to peace and sustainability, and fail to minimize poverty at the international or domestic level have been highlighted below.
Lack of transparency – The poor transparency model that exists between the non-government organizations and government bodies is the main reason that leads to the failure of the partnership model. Due to this weak foundation, the collaboration and coordination between these organizations in managing and implementing the planned strategy and policy fails. Since there are multiple layers in the NGO set-up, both the parties need to take the initiative to align their work model so that ultimate peace can be restored in the society.
Lack of Accountability – Taking the needed responsibility and accountability is a vital aspect of any operation that makes the partnership a success. The poor and ineffective accountability structure that has been observed in this relationship act that does not allow the relationship to bring a positive change in the social front. The majority of the partnerships between NGOs and other bodies fail since neither of the party takes ownership of the change that they wish to see in society (Fowler, 2013). Due to this poor model, the involved financial resources in the process get wasted and the society does not derive any kind of benefit in the process.
Poor decision-making model – The decision-making model that exists in this partnership relation has a strong bearing on the success or the failure of the relationship. A robust and productive decision-making model would strengthen the overall objective of the collaboration. But that is not observed in most of the cases (Agarwala et al., 2014). Since two key parties are involved in the process that does not share the same approach and policies, the decision model miserably fails and does not help the primary purpose of the partnership relationship. Due to the increase in friction between the NGO and the other association or body, poor decisions are taken that do not help to restore peace and sustainability in the community.
Mistrust and Rivalry – The mistrust that exists in the partnership relationship of the involved parties leads to internal competition between them. This attitude leads to rivalry and thus they fail to work together in order to achieve the common objective. The involvement of the financial resources further adds complexity and uncertainty to the operational environment.
Weak Foundation – The traditional reason for the establishment of an NGO is to fulfill the dream of an individual who wishes to make the society a better place to live in. When the size of the NGO expands, automatically the complexities associated with the resources and capabilities also increase (Prabhakar, 2014). Due to the existence of various kinds of uncertainties in the external environment, the base of the NGO becomes weak. There is a need for a constant upgrade of the NGO’s resources and capabilities so that it can form partnerships with other bodies to bring about a major change in the community. An NGO with a short-sighted approach is bound to fail and its relationship will also falter due to the poor functional framework.
The absence of a strategic planning model – There are numerous occasions where the partnership relationship between competent non-government organizations and other bilateral and multilateral donors or government bodies fail due to the lack of a proper strategic planning model. The success of any operational relationship depends on the strategic planning and implementation model (Verger, Altinyelken & Novelli, 2013). It acts as the foundation that can help the concerned parties to reach the desired objective. The poor strategic model automatically limits the application of the resources and the capabilities of the NGO and its partner. It does not allow them to effectively utilize the components that they have to deliver quality service in society.
Poor Networking – The poor networking has also been identified as a major challenge that needs to be effectively tackled while forming a partnership between an NGO and any other body. The ineffective networking system can lead to the duplication of effort, conflicting strategies at the functional level and inability to address the key issues of the community.
In any personal or professional relationship, the communication and networking model acts as a key element that simplifies the objective of the setting (Prabhakar, 2014). Due to the existence of multiple layers in the partnership system, the quality of the networking could get adversely affect which could further weaken the functionality of the partnership
Lack of Funds – On certain occasions, the partnership relationship between the non-government organizations and its partner could become sour due to the unavailability of an adequate amount of financial resources. Currently one of the major issues that NGOs face relate to the difficulty in locating sufficient funds to perform their work (Agarwala et al., 2014). The finding of donors becomes challenging for these bodies. In such a scenario, the partnership of these NGOs with other agencies or bodies does not simplify the situation. In fact, it weakens the overall objective to bring about a positive change on the community front.
The non-government organizations and government bodies both play a major role to bring about a favorable change in the lives of the citizens. But it is vital to take into account the challenges that arise in the partnership model. The various challenges such as the lack of trust, poor transparency, ineffective accountability, poor communication, and networking, etc. have a negative impact on the overall relationship. Even though the common objective to bring about peace and sustainability in society drives the involved partners, the poorly coordinated relationship between the two does not allow them to work in harmony. Thus the implementation of the model is not an easy process. It involves various challenges that need to be tackled by both parties so that they can align their strategies, decision-making model and work process to achieve their functional objective.
The existence of NGOs and government agencies, major development institutions like bilateral and multilateral donors, or other contributors is crucial to strengthen the environment and the community. But the partnership model must be carefully planned so that both the involved associations can effectively work together to strengthen peace, diminish poverty and enhance the sustainability of the society.
Agarwala, M., Atkinson, G., Fry, B.P., Homewood, K., Mourato, S., Rowcliffe, J.M., Wallace, G. and Milner-Gulland, E.J., 2014. Assessing the relationship between human well-being and ecosystem services: a review of frameworks. Conservation and Society, 12(4), p.437.
Fowler, A., 2013. Striking a balance: A guide to enhancing the effectiveness of non-governmental organisations in international development. Routledge.
Coston, J.M., 1998. A model and typology of government-NGO relationships. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 27(3), pp.358-382.
Prabhakar, K.2014, Voluntary Organisation and Its Challenges In India. Department of Anthropology, S.V. University,
Sagepub. 2017. Role of Governments and Nongovernmental Organizations. [online] Available at: https://uk.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/52625_ch_9.pdf [Accessed 20 Oct. 2017].
Verger, A., Altinyelken, H.K. and Novelli, M. eds., 2013. Global education policy and international development: New agendas, issues and policies. A&C Black.Order Now