Just as the term ‘non governmental’ implies, a non governmental organization popularly called NGOs are free from governmental influence. The aim is to embark on charity causes to effect positive change.
An NGO is defined as an independent voluntary association of people acting together on a continuous basis, for some common purpose, other than achieving government office, making money or illegal activities (Okafor, 1985).
In the past few years or there about, there has been greater recognition of NGOs as important partners in rural development.
For several years, there has been greater recognition of NGOs as important partners in development in a lot of sectors in Nigeria.
There are several non governmental organizations which promote the educational sector by awarding scholarships to deserving but financially handicapped students; some NGOs seek to promote creativity and innovations, they help to bring business plans to fruition; several more NGOs have risen as a result of one crises of the other, providing drugs and food aid.
A number of non governmental organizations championing different causes in Nigeria have contributed to alleviating poverty, and encouraging national growth and development.
However laudable the cause, Non governmental organizations also face problems which challenge and limits the extent of their success. Here are ten problems of Non Governmental organizations and possible solutions, the list is however by no means inexhaustible:
1. lack of participation of the stakeholders who hardly had any influence and control over development. Sustainable development can only be achieved by continuity.
If the recipients of the NGOs are nonchalant about the need to actively participate in order to execute and maintain the program of change offered, such development would not last long.
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2. Financial Constraints
As deduced from the definition of a non governmental organization, it is founded by a group of persons voluntarily giving their money, time, effort and resources to achieve a common goal, however these organizations may also be constrained by limited funds or resources which limits the extent to which their program can go, at times without some form of external support ,some of their projects are left either incomplete or totally abandoned.
In Nigeria, as in many settings, development programs are a common cover for some of the most venal forms of graft, donor support among others.
However, these funds meant for the execution of development programs is siphoned into private pockets and used instead for personal purposes.
3. Cultural Animosity
Non governmental organizations are often travailed by the disenchantment of the subjects and possible animosity. At times development projects might be seen as challenging the norms of the society especially in a culturally sensitive nation such as Nigeria.
4. Crime and terrorism, specifically Boko Haram insurgency
Volunteers in non governmental organizations are at risk especially in riot prone areas; for this reason a number of them are scared to take their programs to such areas; even when they do, personnel’s and infrastructures are killed and destroyed.
5. Education and university systems
Education exposes the mind and makes one open to other ideas and more accepting of development programs.
A good number of problems non governmental organizations wish to tackle are in areas where the dwellers are uneducated and ignorant. This makes the task of bringing positive change to the said societies more difficult.
The lack of jobs has increased the craze for any source of income. Unemployment is one of the factors which have increased the number of persons seeking help,, some are desperate enough to want to trick the NGOs by false claims and forged documents.
7. Difficulty in hiring the right candidate
Many non governmental organizations lack funds which is a major motivation for employees, as a result working at NGOs is seen as a stop gap with no one willing to work full time. Experienced personnel will also demand higher pay which the organization is unable to afford.
8. Challenging task of changing people
In addition to the above factors, one major issue is that at grass root level, the work involves changing the behavior of the target population.
This change has to obtained in a sustained manner so that even after NGO moves out of the intervention domain the change remains; which is a very difficult deliverable given the constraints mentioned above.
9. A lack of synchrony of purpose between NGOs and funders
Non governmental organizations need money to run as such those who fund the organization are particularly influential to the direction an NGO moves.
If there is no synchrony of purpose between NGOs and funders, there will be operational friction which may cause a delay or total abandonment of programs.
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Solutions to the problems of Non Governmental Organizations in Nigeria:
1. The active participation of the society must first be ensured and the people taught ways to maintain and continue the development programs.
2. Grants, donations from the general public, national and international philanthropists, governments will go a long way in reducing the financial constraints non governmental organizations face.
3. Systems of check and balance should be put in place to ensure that funds are dispensed to the right functions and directed towards development programs and not personal gains.
4. Thorough research must be conducted into the culture, values and religion of the target society and programs tailored to a cultural fit, so as not to insult the cultural sensitivity of the people. Gaining the people’s trust is Paramount to effecting any changes.
5. Security measures should be put in place for these volunteers in order to protect the lives and properties of these NGOs.
6. An intense call for the education of every citizen needs to be embarked on. Adults and children alike need education and should be encouraged to take advantage of the free primary education provided for by the Nigerian government.
7. Youths should be oriented on the importance of skill acquisition and self employment, by these even they could be employers of labor .Skill acquisition may be imputed into the academic curriculum of schools of various levels.
8. More investment should be put into the human relations department of the Non governmental organization and more funds provided so as to attract experienced personnel.
9. The task of changing people might be difficult but is not impossible. Through thorough research, a culturally sensitive and fit program, mutual interaction with the opinion leaders, and rulers within the society, change can be effected slowly but surely.
10. NGOs and funders should be clear as to the purpose and direction of aims and programs for a smooth execution of development plans.
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