The term Non-Government Organisation1.0 Introduction At global perspective, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) have played a critical role towards development at local level, national level or even at international level. In a broader view, the operations of NGOs can be economic in nature, social, political or environmentally inclined service. NGOs perform functions like research, providing help during humanitarian crisis, peace building, provision of health services & social amenities and engagement in economic development programmes like that expands livelihood source of the intended beneficiaries. NGOs work in different distinct areas like deprived urban settlements, rural areas, and countries under civil strife or in thematic areas like health, provision of relief food and services among others.
Out of this wide scope of their area of operation the input of NGOs can’t go unnoticed (Lewis, 2009, p. 1; ngo. org). Lewis (2007) sees them as organisations involved in development, social change and human rightsMoreover, numerous NGOs have contributed towards opening up of democratic space, recognition of minority rights and highlight for the need of gender parity in certain regions or countries (Lewis, 2007, p. 47).
The mode of operation adopted by NGOs depends on their constitution, vision, legal framework in that host country and intended beneficiaries. Some of them operate by complementing government efforts; others operate by supplementing while some operate by bridging the gap that has not been occupied (ngo. org). This paper examines the term Non-Government Organisation (NGO). In addition, the paper compares and contrasts the approaches taken by several Non-Government Organisations to a particular social issue. 2.0 The term NGO/ DefinitionHistorically the emergence of the concept of NGO is diverse. According to Lewis (2007, p.
49), the historical background of this concep9t can be analysed at international level, regional level, national level and local level. Lewis (2007) refutes the mythology that NGO is a concept that emerged in twentieth century. To him the concept is traceable back to 200 years. In his observation, he traces the emergence of these concepts from self help group at community levels, emergence of missionary activities in Africa (Lewis, 2007, p. 52). To Lewis (2009, p. 1) he refers to them as third sector organisation since they perform two important, but related function.
These functions are delivery of service to people in need and the organization of policy advocacy, and public campaigns in pursuit of social transformation. Moreover, Lewis (2007, p. 48); World Bank notes that the NGOs can be categorised as northern or southern. The northern are the large charities while the south are the small ones. According to Martens (2002, p. 271), the term NGO arose at post world war II. He further notes that the term can be credited to United Nations (UN). In 1945, when UN charter was adopted, article 71 provided that NGOs could be accredited to the UN for consulting purposes.
In this perspective, NGOs were seen as societal actors that existed because of UN criteria. This section covers what is meant by NGO by looking at various definitions, approaches used to build those definitions/ how different authors have conceptualised the process, historical perspective/ origin of NGOs, areas of operation/ interest and levels of operation.