Role of Voluntary Organisation in Promoting Participation in Development Submitted to: Mr. Ajesh P. Joseph, School of Social Work, Marian College, Kuttikkanam. Submitted by: Bimal Antony, II MSW, School of Social Work, Marian College, Kuttikkanam. Date of Submission: 29th August 2011.
Voluntary Organisation and Development 2IntroductionNon-Governmental organisations or NGOs in brief, have been engaged in many socialdevelopment activities. They are organised by a group of people who feel that they have a moralduty to serve the community. They are organised on a voluntary basis on the principle of serviceto the socially disadvantaged classes. Their efforts supplement those of the government. Also,they can take up many activities, like organising the poor, which the government bureaucracy isnot generally capable of taking up. In the developing countries as well as in the least developedcountries, the role of NGOs in development activities is being increasingly emphasised in suchfields as child and woman’s development, slums improvement, poverty amelioration,environmental conservation, educational development and political movements.The success of the Rural Development depends upon the active participation and willing co-operation of the rural people through self-help organizations and voluntary agencies. In recentyears, the voluntary agencies have acquired greater importance and significance than before.Voluntary action stimulated and promoted by voluntary agencies engaged in development play asignificant role at the grass roots level in the Indian social milieu; The NGOs and GovernmentDepartments are also struggling hard to organize the people through social mobilization processfor eliciting their participation in the successful implementation of the development programmes.Some have succeeded in the process and some are still struggling in progressive direction. Also,the guidelines issued by the Government of India on SGSY, strongly emphasized the need forsocial mobilization for the successful implementation of the SGSY scheme through effective andinnovative role of NGOs.Role of NGOs in five years plansAfter Independence, India was declared as a welfare state and relevant provisions were includedin the Constitution of India. Social welfare was included as part of the Five Year Plans. Themajor responsibility of organizing social welfare services continued with the voluntaryorganizations. Hence, even today it is the voluntary organizations that are taking care of welfareactivities (Basanta Kumar - 1995).The voluntary sector has been given due importance in the planning process right from the FirstFive Year Plan, as emphasis was given on public cooperation in national development with thehelp of VOs. It was highlighted in the First Plan document that the “Public cooperation andpublic opinion constitute the principal force and sanction behind planning. A democracy workingfor social ends has to base itself on the willing assent of the people and not the coercive power ofthe State.” In the Second Plan, it was reiterated that public cooperation and public opinionconstitute the principal force and sanction behind India’s approach to planning. It was observedthat wherever the people, especially in rural areas, have been approached, they have respondedwith eagerness. In national extension and community project areas, in local development works,
Voluntary Organisation and Development 3in shramdan, in social welfare extension projects and in the work of voluntary organisations,there has always been willingness and enthusiasm on the part of the people to contribute inlabour and local resources have been made freely available.The Third Five Year Plan emphasised that “The concept of public cooperation is related to themuch larger sphere of voluntary action in which the initiative and organisational responsibilityrest completely with the people and their leaders, and does not rely on legal sanctions or thepower of the State for achieving its aims. It was realised that so vast are the unsatisfied needs ofthe people that all the investments in the public and private sectors together can only make alimited provision for them. Properly organised voluntary effort may go for towards augmentingthe facilities available to the community for helping the weakest to a somewhat better life. Thewherewithal for this has to come from time, energy and other resources of millions of people forwhom VOs can find constructive channels suited to the varying conditions in the country.”During the Fourth and Fifth Plan, the thrust on public cooperation and involvement of people’sorganisation was lost due to attack on over territory and recession that followed. During thisperiod investment was focussed especially in intensive agricultural programmes.In the Sixth Five Year Plan, the idea of participation of people’s organisations was againrecognised. Success stories in the field, of VOs like the Jamkhed Project on child and health carein Maharashtra, Bharat Agro Industries Foundation’s work in animal husbandry and socialforestry and Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) were quoted and it was stated thatthe country is dotted with numerous examples of highly successful voluntary action of thisnature.Role of VOs in development got a further fillip in the Seventh Five Year Plan where it wasdeclared that serious efforts would be made to involve VOs in various development programmesto supplement the government efforts to offer the rural poor choices and alternatives. Theemphasis continued till the ongoing Ninth Plan, wherein efforts are being made to promotepeoples’ participatory bodies like Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), Self-help Groups andNGOs for development. The following criteria were identified for identifying voluntary agenciesfor enlisting help in relation to the rural development programmes:(i) The organisation should be a legal entity.(ii) It should be based in a rural area and be working there for a minimum of three years.(iii) It should have broad-based objectives serving the social and economic needs of thecommunity as a whole and mainly the weaker sections. It must not work for profit but on noprofit and no loss basis.(iv) Its activities should be open to all citizens of India irrespective of religion, caste, creed, sexor race.
Voluntary Organisation and Development 4(v) It should have the necessary flexibility, professional competence and organisational skills toimplement programmes.(vi) Its office bearers should not be elected members of any political party.(vii) It declares that it will adopt constitutional and non-violent means for rural developmentpurposes.(viii) It is committed to secular and democratic concepts and methods of functioning.In the Eight Plan Document, due emphasis was given on building up peoples institutions. It wasadmitted that developmental activities undertaken with peoples active participation have agreater chance of success and can also be more cost-effective as compared to the developmentactivities undertaken by the Government where people become passive observers.In the Ninth Five Year Plan, it was admitted that private initiative, whether individual collectiveor community based, forms the essence the development strategy articulated in the Plan andefforts to be made to remove disadvantages which had prevented some segment of our society inparticipating effectively in the development process. Keeping up with this line of thinking,“promoting and developing people’s participatory bodies like Panchayati Raj Institutions,cooperatives and self-help groups” was one of the objectives of the Ninth Plan.Certain disadvantages or shortcomings of voluntary sector are also well known, namely, theirinability to cooperate with each other in a way which would allow for coherent policy making,their accountability & transparency is not perfect and their operations are smaller in scale.Therefore, there is a need to improvise the working of VOs by scaling up their operations and bymaking them transparent and accountable.Role of NGOs in Social MobilizationIn recent times, many Non Governmental organisations have been concentrating socialmobilization on contemporary issues of importance such as women empowerment, human rights,and implementation of various central and state government development programmes. TheNGOs in India have contributed handsomely towards social mobilization and social activismthrough their intensive campaigns, people’s mobilization programmes and effective networks.The NGO as a social force facilitates collective action and people mobilization for the purpose ofachieving the desired objectives. The NGOs are deploying various people-oriented as well aspeople-centered strategies, and these organizations build rapport with the people and mobilizethem. The NGOs play in making the people environmentally aware and sensitive to take part inthe development process (Biswambhar Panda et.al -2003).
Voluntary Organisation and Development 5Social mobilization and development processThere is a symbiotic relationship between social mobilization and development process. Socialmobilization lies at the genuine development. It gives impetus to the necessary changes that mustoccur before developmentwhether social, political or economic-can be realized (Prasad 2003).Social mobilization, argues Ikoiwak (1989), in fact, is an essential surgical operation for theremoval or virulent tissues of development in a polity. These malignant tissues are old ortraditional economic, social,institutional, administrative, cultural system.Social mobilization is methodologies for making the poor contribute to economic growth. Rana(2001) is of the opinion that “social mobilization provides a non-violent way of the morass ofdeprivation, alienation, insecurity, political graft, and corruption experienced relentlessly overthe past fifty years of development and democracy”.Deutsch (1961) states that social mobilization is a name given to an overall process of changethat happens to sustainable parts of human population in countries that are moving fromtraditional to modern ways of life. This specific process of change, he says, affects residence,occupation, social setting, associates, institutions, roles and ways of acting, demands andcapabilities. Later, Deutsch gave a rather short hand definition of his concept of socialmobilization as “the process in which major clusters of old social, economic, and psychologicalcommitments are eroded or broken and people become available for new patterns ofsocializations and behaviour”.Jarry Gana (1987) argues, “Social Mobilization is the process of pooling together, harnessing,actualizing and utilizing potential human resources for the purpose of development. It is processwhereby human beings are made aware of the resources at their disposal, and are also motivatedand energized to collectively utilize such resources for the improvement of their spiritual andmaterial conditions of living”.Role of Voluntary Organizations in Social Capitalopportunity for face-to-face interaction provided by participation in voluntary organizations notonly teaches essential civics skills, such as trust, compromise and reciprocity, but also bindssociety together by creating bridges between diverse groups (de Tocqueville, as summarized byNewton, 1997). These bridges are viewed as difficult to create because they necessitate peoplegoing outside their social circles (Wuthnow, 2002).Leonard and Onyx (2003) explore the role of strong and weak ties in the context of voluntaryorganizations. Their qualitative study was conducted in three different communities in NewSouth Wales with respondents who had some association with community or voluntaryorganizations. The conventional wisdom is that strong ties are associated with bonding and weakties are associated with bridging, but Leonard and Onyx’s findings do not support thisconclusion. Their analysis indicates that bridging social capital associated with voluntaryorganizations is in fact dependent on strong, not weak ties. It is more likely that two different
Voluntary Organisation and Development 6networks will link if they can work through a trusted intermediary. Bridging using loose ties isonly possible when the linking person is a professional who is trusted because his/her statusprovides legitimacy and credibility, and he/she has demonstrated commitment.Newton (1997) suggests that the impact of voluntary organizations on social capital depends onthe type of organization. For example, highly formalized bureaucratic organizations may haveless impact because there is not much involvement of members in the daily activities. Insteadmembers pay a fee to access services or benefits or maintain a symbolic attachment to theorganization because of its support of a particular social cause. This research highlights the roleof face-to-face organizational involvement in the development of trust.There is also a question of the relative importance of voluntary organizations compared to othersocietal structures promoting social capital. Marsden and Campbell (1983) found that emotionalintensity is a better indicator of tie strength than duration and frequency of contact. Thus, whenconsidering the importance of voluntary organizations as the “glue” that holds society together, itmay be that participation in school, family work and community may have stronger internaleffects because they take up more time and involve stronger emotional commitment (Newton,1997).Onyx and Bullen (2000) would agree that voluntary organizations do not have a monopoly onthe development of social capital. Their research indicates that social capital can be producedanywhere there are dense lateral networks involving voluntary engagement, trust and mutualbenefit. While voluntary organizations are important so are informal networking among friendsand neighbours, the workplace and the educational system.ConclusionVoluntary organizations can play a crucial role in rural development by supplementingGovernment efforts as they are close to the mind and hearts of the rural people. In the changingscenario of the liberalization they can experiment new approaches to rural development and selfemployment training. Now a days, there is huge investment by voluntary organization in ruraldevelopment and self employment training in rural area. Here, there is scope for researchers tomeasure efficiency of fund utilization by the voluntary organizations in contrast to theGovernment. There is need to evaluate voluntary organizations owing to their changed role.Efficiency measure would help us to evolve an appropriate auditing / accounting model forvoluntary sector.
Voluntary Organisation and Development 7References 1. Mary Foster, Agnes Meinhard, Ida Berger (2003), The Role of Social Capital: Bridging, Bonding or Both?, Ryerson University, Working Paper Series, Number 22, November 2003, Toronto. 2. Steve Davies (2009), GOVERNMENT POLICY, RECESSION AND THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR, A report for UNISON, Cardiff University: UK. 3. Non-Government Organisations, IGNOU: Delhi. 4. Jayavantha Nayak (2004), Role of Voluntary Agencies in Rural Development and Self Employment Training. 5. Dr. C. Villia, Study on The Role of NGOs in Social Mobilizations in the Context of SGSY, State Institute of Rural Development: Maraimalai Nagar. 6. REPORT OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE ON VOLUNTARY SECTOR (2002), PLANNING COMMISSION GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. 7. Alan F. Fowler (1995), STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF VOLUNTARY DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATIONS: POLICY ISSUES FACING OFFICIAL AID AGENCIES, The Synergos Institute and the Overseas Development Council: New York