World NGO Day 2023: theme, meaning, history and celebrations
People all over the world celebrate World NGO Day on February 27 every year. It is an international day designed to honor, recognize and celebrate non-governmental and non-profit organizations. The day also celebrates the people who founded these groups and made significant contributions to society around the world.
The United Nations declared February 27, 2014 as NGO Day, which has been enthusiastically observed ever since. The meaning, history, celebration and other important information about World NGO Day 2023 are covered in this article.
More than 10 million NGOs and non-profit organizations worldwide
More than 50 million workers in NGOs and non-profit organizations around the world
More than 96 countries: World NGO Day is marked and celebrated
What exactly is an NGO?
A non-governmental organization is any nonprofit group that operates without government influence. The phrase was first used in 1945 in Article 71 of the newly created United Nations Charter.
NGOs, also called non-profit organizations (NPOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), charities, membership organizations, charities or the third sector, are important players in the fields of development, human rights, humanitarian aid, gender equality. , the environment and numerous other areas of public action.
Importance of World NGO Day
The aim of World NGO Day is to raise awareness of all these organizations around the world, recognize those who work in this field and inspire others to support this worthwhile cause.
Every year on this day, supporters and volunteers show their appreciation to those who work for non-governmental organizations. On this day, numerous companies receive significant honors and awards to drive them to greater productivity.
The history of World NGO Day
On April 27, 2010, the Baltic Sea NGO Forum of the Council of Baltic Sea States established World NGO Day for the first time. Countries like Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Norway and Sweden are members of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum. Two years later, the Forum’s Final Declaration Resolution adopted the day of NGOs.
However, it wasn’t until 2014 that the UN, EU leaders and other international organizations began to formally observe World NGO Day. On February 27, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs sponsored the global launch event for World NGO Day. International NGO Day was originally recognized on February 27 and is now celebrated in 89 countries around the world.
Celebrating World NGO Day
On February 27 of each year, supporters and volunteers from around the world come together to celebrate World NGO Day and honor the goals and contributions of non-governmental organizations.
On this day, the Council of Europe INGO Conference organizes a high-level conference across Europe that brings together a variety of stakeholders, including members of the Council of Europe Secretariat and representatives of Civil Society.
You can volunteer for many NGOs as an individual and help them in their charitable endeavors. You can support these organizations by giving your time, money, or both.
Theme of World NGO Day 2023
The theme of World NGO Day 2023 will be the role and influence of NGOs in promoting human rights, addressing social and environmental challenges, and achieving sustainable development goals.
The theme could also emphasize the value of helping NGOs build their capacity, recognizing their role as agents of change, and fostering partnerships and cooperation to achieve common goals.
What roles do NGOs play in Indian democracy?
Bridge the gap: NGOs work to fill gaps in government programs and connect with populations that are often excluded from state-funded initiatives. For example, helping migrant workers during the Covid-19 crisis. These NGOs also discuss accelerating activities such as issues related to poverty alleviation, water, the environment, women’s rights, and literacy. They have been dynamic in almost all sectors: health, education, livelihoods in rural and urban areas, etc.
Role of a facilitator: Community-level teams and self-help groups are critical to achieving any change on the ground. In the past, these grassroots organizations have been enabled by collaborations with larger NGOs and research agencies that have access to foreign funding.
Acting as a lobbyist: There are political NGOs that mobilize public opinion against the policies and actions of the government. To the extent that these NGOs are able to educate the public and lobby for public policy, they act as important pressure groups in a democracy.
Role in Participatory Governance: Many civil society initiatives have contributed to some of the pioneering laws in the country, including the Environmental Protection Act of 1986, the Right to Education Act of 2009, the Forest Rights Act of 2006, and the Right to Education Act of 2006. to Information 2005, National Mahatma Gandhi Act. Rural Employment Guarantee Law (MNREGA) Juvenile Justice, Comprehensive Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).
NGOs also partnered with the government to successfully implement major campaigns like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Act as social mediator: Social mediation is an intervention of different levels of society by various agents to change social attitudes and behavior within the prevailing social environment to achieve the desired results of change in society. In the Indian context, where people are still steeped in superstition, faith, belief and customs, NGOs act as catalysts and raise awareness among the people.
What problems do NGOs cause?
lack of credibility: During the last few years, numerous organizations have multiplied that claim to work for the cause of helping the poor. Under the guise of being an NGO, these NGOs often mint money from donors and are also involved in money laundering activities.
Lack of transparency: The disproportionate number of NGOs in India and the sector’s lack of transparency and accountability is clearly an issue that needs reform. Furthermore, allegations of corruption against NGOs are ignored. In the past, many NGOs were blacklisted after it was discovered that they had indulged in the misappropriation of funds.
What are the main obstacles for NGOs?
Lack of funds: Many NGOs find it difficult to obtain sufficient and continuous funding for their work. Gaining access to the appropriate donors is an important component of this challenge. Earlier, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (Mha) canceled the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (Fcra), 2010 Registration of Various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
The suspension of the Fcra’s license means the NGO can no longer receive fresh foreign funds from donors pending an investigation by the Home Office. The Fcra Is Mandatory For Associations And NGOs To Receive Foreign Funds.
Absence of Strategic Planning: Many NGOs suffer from the lack of a cohesive strategic plan that would facilitate success in their activities and mission, leaving them unable to effectively raise and capitalize on financial support.
Poor governance and networks: Many NGOs have a lack of understanding of why they should have a board and how to set one up. Poor or disorganized networking is another major challenge, as it can cause duplicate efforts, time inefficiencies, conflicting strategies, and an inability to learn from experience.
Many NGOs do not maximize the use of current technologies that could facilitate better communication and networking.
limited capacity: NGOs often lack the technical and organizational capacity to implement and fulfill their mission, and few are willing or able to invest in capacity building training. Weak capacity affects fundraising capacity, governance, leadership, and technical areas.
development approaches: Many NGOs favor a “hardware” approach to development through building infrastructure and delivering services rather than empowering people and institutions at the local level.
way to go: India is committed to the SDGs till 2030 and a long-term strategy is important to stay focused while pursuing sustainable growth and development. However, it is important to bear in mind that the success of a long-term strategy depends not only on the lessons learned from the implementation of development strategies in the short or medium term, but also on the cooperation and coordination of various sectors: the government, India Inc and NGO. Capacity building and training can help provide crucial new skills.
NGOs can then more easily train staff and cultivate the necessary skills within the organization to address future challenges. There is a need to regulate corrupt NGOs, however excessive regulation on foreign contribution can affect the functioning of NGOs that are useful for implementing government schemes at the grassroots level.