tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

BBC investigates the politics of NGOs in India

What do non-governmental organizations (NGOs) really do to improve the lives of people in developing countries and work for sustainable development of impoverished and oppressed societies?

Plenty, as I learned in India over the course of a year with an exceptionally dedicated and scrupulous NGO called PREM. But the world of NGOs and so-called development, like many a human endeavor, is rife with contradiction, corruption and power politics.

Part 2 of a new three-part radio documentary by Allan Little called "The Truth about NGOs" examines the complex and ever-changing world NGOs inhabit in India. Though the focus is mainly on Mumbai, not on the rural jungles of Odisha, many of the issues are the same: credibility, transparency, efficacy, relevance and corruption (both ethical and fiduciary). Further, it explores in basic detail the complicated relationship between NGOs and government, and the role of the wealthy, powerful and often out-of-touch international NGOs (e.g. Oxfam, Save the Children, others).

Part 1 of Allan Little's NGO reportage examined NGO involvement in influencing government and policy in Malawi, and in foisting Western cultural values onto local society via the power vested in them by the money these NGOs receive from foreign donors. What is a human rights struggle in the West (gay marriage, e.g., or economic equality) becomes a form of neo-colonialism in Africa. And by making local NGOs dependent on this stream of funding, the foreign donors and the agendas they represent and can wield wide-ranging, undemocratic power in the developing world. It's no stretch to imagine that local government and those opposed to NGOs can paint them as agents of a new imperialism.

Part 3, on Haiti, is airing this week.

[Tip of the hat to Dean Bradley for alerting us to these documentaries.]


aarif khan said...

Hi u have done well. NGO in India

aarif khan said...

Good post!!!!!! working good as an Ngo in India.