NGO & Think Tanks Law
A Non Governmental Organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest. NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring citizens’ concerns to Governments, monitor policies and encourage political participation at the community level. They provide analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help, monitor and implement international agreements. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, the environment or health.
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) is a legally constituted organization created by private persons or organizations with no participation or representation of any government. In cases in which NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status insofar as it excludes government representatives from membership in the organization. While most of the NGOs work at the grass root level with the communities, some provides analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements.
The World Bank defines NGOs as “private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services or undertake community development”. A World Bank Key Document, working with NGOs adds, “In wider usage, the term NGO can be applied to any non-profit organization which is independent from government. NGOs are typically value-based organizations which depend, in whole or in part, on charitable donations and voluntary service. Although the NGO sector has become increasingly professionalized over the last two decades, principles of altruism and voluntarism remain key defining characteristics.”
TERMS USED FOR NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
Apart from ‘NGO’ often alternative terms are used as for example “Independent Sector”, “Volunteer Sector”, “Civil Society”, “Grassroots Organizations”, “Transnational Social Movement Organizations”, “Private Voluntary Organizations”, “Self-help Organizations” and “Non State Actors” (NSAs).
FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 laid down the fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan and right to form an Association is the fundamental right. Every citizen shall have the right to form Associations or Unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of morality or public order.
HOW NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE GET REGISTERED?
NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE NOT FOR PROFITS. SO CAN THEY MAKE PROFITS?
Yes. It would be called as surplus and not profit. Like Companies, which can distribute profits in the form of dividends, NGOs can not distribute surplus.
NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE REFERRED IN MANY WAYS
NPOs as Not for profit Organizations
VOs as Voluntary Organizations
CSOs as Civil Society Organizations
CBOs as Community Based Organizations
Third Sector Organizations
TYPICAL FORMS OF NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
These NGOs basically work on advocacy or campaigning on issues or causes. As a focus, they do not implement programmed. e.g. PETA works on advocating the cause of Ethical Treatment of Animals. It is not an animal shelter, which many expect.
Consultancy / Research Organizations
These NGOs work on Social and Developmental Research & Consultancy.
Training / Capacity Building Organizations
In the NGO Sector, training is usually called as Capacity Building. Some NGOs only work on Capacity Building of the other NGOs.
These NGOs provide vital network opportunities for NGOs in a specific field e.g. Association of Voluntary Agencies for Rural Development (AVARD) works on networking of NGOs working in the field of Rural Development.
These NGOs are recipients as well as givers e.g. large NGOs like CRY, Concern India receive funds as well as disburse funds. They have a work focus, but instead of implementing projects, they identify projects and monitor, evaluate and build capacities of participating NGOs.
Grass root Organizations
These NGOs work directly with the community.
City Based Organizations
These NGOs restrict their focus to cities.
These NGOs have national presence, e.g. CRY, Pratham, Concern India
These are part of International NGOs e.g. CARE India is an integral part of Care’s global operations. Like mother NGOs, these NGOs receive and disburse grants.
Self Help Groups
They are not typically terms as NGOs. These are formed by beneficiary communities, typically women who come together in a group of 10 plus.
Large percentage of NGO funding goes to religious based Organizations.
SOME PROMINENT INTERNATIONAL NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
INGO: stands for International NGO;
BINGO: is short for Business-oriented International NGO, or Big International NGO;
ENGO: short for Environmental NGO, such as Global 2000;
GONGOs: are Government-Operated NGOs, which may have been set up by governments to look like NGOs in order to qualify for outside aid or promote the interests of the government in question;
QUANGOs: are Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). (The ISO is actually not purely an NGO, since its membership is by nation, and each nation is represented by what the ISO Council determines to be the ‘most broadly representative’ standardization body of a nation. That body might itself be a non-governmental organization; for example, the United States is represented in ISO by the American National Standards Institute, which is independent of the federal government. However, other countries can be represented by national governmental agencies; this is the trend in Europe.)
TANGO: short for Technical Assistance NGO;
CSO: short for Civil Society Organization.
NGOs vary in their methods. Some act primarily as lobbyists, while others conduct programs and activities primarily. For instance, an NGO such as Oxfam, concerned with poverty alleviation, might provide needy people with the equipment and skills to find food and clean drinking water.
UNITED NATIONS AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
Their relationship with offices and agencies of the United Nations System differs depending on their goals, their venue and their mandate.
Over 1,500 NGOs (with strong information programmed on issues of concern to the United Nations) are associated with the Department of Public Information (DPI), giving the United Nations valuable links to people around the world. DPI helps those NGOs gain access to and disseminate information about the range of issues in which the United Nations is involved, to enable the public to understand better the aims and objectives of the World Organization.
WORLD ASSOCIATION OF NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
The World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) is an International Organization uniting NGOs worldwide in the cause of advancing peace and global well being. WANGO helps to provide the mechanism and support needed for NGOs to connect, partner, share, inspire and multiply their contributions to solve humanity’s basic problems.
Initiated in 2000 by a handful of International NGOs and prominent visionaries, WANGO has quickly become one of the premier International bodies for Non-Governmental Organizations that are committed to the ideals of universal peace, justice, and well being for all humanity.
PUBLIC RELATIONS OF NON GOVERNEMTAL ORGANIZATIONS
Non-governmental organizations need healthy relationships with the public to meet their goals. Foundations and charities use sophisticated public relations campaigns to raise funds and employ standard lobbying techniques with governments. Interest groups may be of political importance because of their ability to influence social and political outcomes. At times NGOs seek to mobilize public support.
MANAGEMENT OF NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
Two management trends are particularly relevant to NGOs: “Diversity Management” and “Participatory Management”. “Diversity Management” deals with different cultures in an organization. Intercultural problems are prevalent in Northern NGOs which are engaged in developmental activities in the South. Personnel coming from a rich country are faced with a completely different approach of doing things in the target country. A “Participatory Management” style is said to be typical of NGOs. It is intricately tied to the concept of a learning organization; all people within the organization are perceived as sources for knowledge and skills. To develop the organization, individuals have to be able to contribute in the decision making process and they need to learn.
LEGAL STATUS OF NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
NGOs are not subjects of international law, as states are. An exception is the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is subject to certain specific matters, mainly relating to the Geneva Convention.
The Council of Europe in Strasbourg drafted the European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organizations in 1986, which sets a common legal basis for the existence and work of NGOs in Europe. Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to freedom of association, which is also a fundamental norm for NGOs.
Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have become increasingly influential in world affairs. They often impact the social, economic and political activities of communities and the country as a whole. NGOs address a host of issues, including, but not limited to, women’s rights, environmental protection, human rights, economic development, political rights, or health care. In numerous countries, NGOs have led the way in democratization, in battling diseases and illnesses, in promoting and enforcing human rights, and in increasing standards of living.
Twenty NGOs from Pakistan are currently associated with DPI, a figure that is gradually increasing. These NGOs are working in diverse areas such as education, the environment, human rights, health, care and women’s rights and naturally advocate the goals of the United Nations.
KEY INGREDIENTS OF NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
The key ingredients that make or break an NGO/NPO, of course, are its programmes and projects. It covers the issues and themes that the NGO/NPO addresses, the target areas or communities that it works in, funding available and the activity’s partners.
These are influenced by, among other things:
They felt needs of target community (what are the real problems faced by the target community? How can the NGO/NPO identify them, or create a forum where it can be expressed by the community?
Staff expertise available (what expertise and skills do the NGO/NPO staff possess? Are they full-time or part-time staff? How can external human resources be mobilized?)
Funding strategy (what sources of funding can the NGO/NPO tap into? Which of these are local and international? How can funds for short-term and long-term activities be mobilized?)
While it is critical that a new NGO/NPO ensure it is properly registered with the public authorities of the country, it is of even more importance to ‘register’ with its target community – in terms of ensuring acceptability, building trust, programme and project effectiveness, and bringing about real change.
STATUS OF NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN PAKISTAN
Non Governmental Organizations also called as non profit organizations or charitable Institutions. Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 considers it the fundamental right of every citizen to form Associations. It is right and freedom of the citizens of Pakistan to form Associations. Non Governmental Organizations can be registered under the Companies Ordinance, Trusts Act, Societies Registration Act and Income Tax exempts such Associations from any sort of tax.
REGISTRATION OF NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS UNDER COMPANIES ORDINANCE
Procedure for registration of Non Governmental Organizations under Sec. 42 of the Companies Ordinance and Companies (General Provisions and forms) Rules, 1985 is given as under. A license will be issued to the NGO’s under the Companies Ordinance as it will be registered as a Company with limited liability without the word “Limited”, “(Private) Limited”, or “(Guarantee) Limited”. These Companies applies or intends to use its profits for the promotion of its object and prohibit the payment of any dividend to its members.