Quality Issues in NGO


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Quality Issues in NGO

  1. 1. Quality Issues In NGOsTotal Quality Management Project<br />Kunal Gulati (87, PGDIM-17), Priyanka Srivastava (132, PGDIM-17)<br />National Institute of Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai, India<br />Abstract<br />Introduction<br />NGO means Non governmental organization. These are legally constituted organizations in which government representatives are not present in members of organization and may or may not be funded by the government. Sometimes, the government provides entire funds, while in some occasions government partially funds the NGOs.<br />The term "non-governmental organization" has no generally agreed legal definition, is usually applied only to organizations that pursue some wider social aim that has few political aspects, but that are not overtly political organizations such as political parties. The main objective of NGOs is to provide social justice, development and human rights. It generally provides services directly to local community. In many jurisdictions, these types of organization are called "civil society organizations" or referred to by other names. NGOs are defined by the World Bank 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". These autonomous, non-profit and politically unaffiliated organizations advance a particular cause or set of causes in the public interest. The range of causes on which an NGO can focus is unlimited, but a cardinal principle is that NGOs operate in a manner consistent with the bye-laws or trust deed as the case may be, and objectives or causes for which they receive funds.<br />A non-governmental organization (NGO) is not part of a government and is therefore typically independent of governments. Although the definition can technically include for-profit corporations under certain circumstances, the term is generally restricted to social, cultural, legal, and environmental advocacy groups having goals that are primarily non-commercial. NGOs are usually non-profit organizations that gain at least a portion of their funding from private sources. They can however, and sometimes do, go in for commercial activities to raise resources and sustain themselves but the profits of these activities cannot he distributed to members as dividend and has instead to be retained in the organizations to further the interest and objects of the beneficiaries.  Because the label "NGO" is considered too broad by some, as it might cover anything that is non-governmental, many NGOs now prefer the term private voluntary organization (PVO).<br />Though voluntary associations of citizens have existed throughout history, NGOs along the lines seen today, especially on the international level, have developed in the past two centuries. One of the first such organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, was founded in 1863. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is today the world's largest group of humanitarian NGO's.<br />The phrase non-governmental organization came into use with the establishment of the United Nations in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter for a consultative role for organizations that neither are governments nor member states. The definition of international NGO (INGO) is first given in resolution 288 (X) of ECOSOC on February 27, 1950: it is defined as 'any international organisation that is not founded by an international treaty'. The vital role of NGOs and other "major groups" in sustainable development was recognized in Chapter 27 of Agenda 21, leading to revised arrangements for consultative relationship between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.<br />Globalization during the 20th century gave rise to the importance of NGOs. Now there are about 45,000 internationally operating NGOs. The remodeling processes of the welfare state have led to the rapid development of the non-governmental sector in western countries. <br />History of NGO Activity in India<br />India has a long history of civil society based on the concepts of daana (giving) and seva (service). Voluntary organizations—organizations that are voluntary in spirit and without profit-making objectives—were active in cultural promotion, education, health, and natural disaster relief as early as the medieval era. They proliferated during British rule, working to improve social welfare and literacy and pursuing relief projects. During the second half of the 19th century, nationalist consciousness spread across India and self-help emerged as the primary focus of sociopolitical movements. Numerous organizations were established during this period, including the Friend-in-Need Society (1858), Prathana Samaj (1864), Satya Shodhan Samaj (1873), Arya Samaj (1875), the National Council for Women in India (1875), and the Indian National Conference (1887).<br />The Societies Registration Act (SRA) was approved in 1860 to confirm the legal status of the growing body of nongovernment organizations (NGOs). The SRA continues to be relevant legislation for NGOs in India, although most state governments have enacted amendments to the original version.<br />Christian missionaries active in India at this time directed their efforts toward reducing poverty and constructing hospitals, schools, roads, and other infrastructure. Meanwhile, NGOs focused their efforts on education, health, relief, and social welfare. A firm foundation for secular voluntary action in India was not laid until the Servants of India, a secular NGO, was established in 1905. Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India in 1916 shifted the focus of development activities to economic self- sufficiency. His swadeshi movement, which advocated economic self-sufficiency through small-scale local production, swept through the country. Gandhi identified the root of India’s problem as the poverty of the rural masses and held that the only way to bring the nation to prosperity was to develop the villages’ self-reliance based on locally available resources. He also believed that voluntary action, decentralized to gram panchayats (village councils), was the ideal way to stimulate India’s development. Gandhi reinvigorated civil society in India by stressing that political freedom must be accompanied by social responsibility.<br />After independence, the Government of India increased its presence in social welfare and development but recognized the potential for civil society to supplement and complement its efforts. The first five-year Plan stated, “Any plan for social and economic regeneration should take into account the services rendered by these agencies and the state should give them maximum cooperation in strengthening their efforts.” The Central Social Welfare Board was established in 1953 to promote social welfare activities and support people’s participation programs through NGOs. This additional funding and recognition led to a growing body of professional NGOs. The Government of India decentralized development activities throughout the 1950s. The establishment of the National Community Development Program and the National Extension Service were early steps in this direction. Further decentralization was achieved with the introduction of the three-tier Panchayati raj system in 1958. Many farmers unions and agricultural cooperatives were founded around this time, and networking became more commonplace in civil society. In 1958, the Association for Voluntary Agencies for Rural Development (AVARD) was founded as a consortium of major voluntary agencies.<br />International NGOs entered India in significant numbers to provide drought relief during two consecutive agricultural seasons, 1965–1966 and 1966–1967. Many of them established permanent local operations thereafter. Moreover, foreign funds began flowing to domestic NGOs in India, changing the character of civil society once more. During the 1970s the government pursued a “minimum needs” program, focusing on the basic impediments to improving the quality of life for the rural poor, such as education, electrical power, and health. Several governmental development agencies were established around this time, such as the People’s Action for Development of India. Foreign-trained Indians entered civil society in greater numbers, leading to a professionalization of the sector.<br />India witnessed a rapid increase in and diversification of the NGO sector as a response to the national political scenario and increasing concern about poverty and marginalization. Both welfare and empowerment- oriented organizations emerged during this period, and development, civil liberties, education, environment, health, and livelihood all became the focus of attention. With community participation as a defined component in a number of social sector projects during the 1970s and 1980s, NGOs began to be formally recognized as development partners of the state. Their work was increasingly characterized by grassroots interventions, advocacy at various levels, and mobilization of the marginalized to protect their rights. The process of structural adjustment begun in the early 1990s, and the more recent approach of bilateral and international donors channeling funds directly through the government, NGO networks, and large corporate NGOs—have somewhat pushed peoples’ organizations into the background. Small, spontaneous initiatives at the community level, as a response to social and economic exploitations at the community level, are no longer the hallmark of the NGO sector.<br />NGOs Today<br />Over the past several decades, NGOs have become major players in the field of international development. Since the mid-1970s, the NGO sector in both developed and developing countries has experienced exponential growth. From 1970 to 1985 total development aid disbursed by international NGOs increased ten-fold. In 1992 international NGOs channeled over $7.6 billion of aid to developing countries. It is now estimated that over 15 percent of total overseas development aid is channeled through NGOs. While statistics about global numbers of NGOs are notoriously incomplete, it is currently estimated that there is somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 national NGOs in developing countries. So NGOs required new techniques and approaches for managing their essence and resources at national and International level.<br />Today, about 1.5 million NGOs work in India (i.e., nonprofit, voluntary citizens’ groups organized on a local, national, or international level). This includes temples, churches, mosques, gurudwaras (sikh place of workshop), sports associations, hospitals, educational institutions, and ganeshotsav mandals (temporary structures set up to house Ganesh festival celebrations). Most NGOs in India are small and dependent on volunteers. According to a survey conducted by society for Participatory research in Asia (PRIA), 73.4% of NGOs have one or no paid staff, although across the country, more than 19 million persons work as volunteers or paid staff at an NGO. The PriA survey also reveals that 26.5% of NGOs are engaged in religious activities, while 21.3% work in the area of community and/or social service. About one in five NGOs works in education sector, while 17.9% are active in the fields of sports and culture. Only 6.6% work in the health sector. The Indian Centre for Philanthropy, the Center for Advancement of Philanthropy, Charities Aid _Foundation (India), National Foundation for India, and the Society for Service to Voluntary Organizations are among the nonprofit organizations that provide information resources, services, and networking opportunities to NGOs.<br />Types of NGOs<br />NGO type can be understood by orientation and level of co-operation. NGO can be classified according to the orientation as follows :<br />Charitable orientation;<br />Service orientation;<br />Participatory orientation;<br />Empowering orientation;<br />Classification of NGOs by level of co-operation :<br />Community- Based Organization;<br />City Wide Organization;<br />National NGOs;<br />International NGOs;<br />International Development Co-operation/Assistance Organizations: These organizations/agencies extend money/finance, materials, instruments and technical assistance to the Non-Govt. development organizations engaged in international and national development activities.<br />Non-Govt. Development Organizations: There are NGOs which are termed as Non-Govt. development organizations engaged in planning and implement of developments projects at the grassroots levels in order to bring about positive changes of economic status of the poor in the on-going socio-economic context. There are three types of such organization such as:<br />a. International/Foreign Non-Govt. Development Organizations: In these organizations, foreign experts and citizens work in planning, implementing and managing the projects that are funded by foreign donors. <br />b. National Non-Govt. Development Organizations: Organizations which are engaged in service-oriented programmes/projects for education, health, population, environment, as well as projects for income generating.<br />c. Grassroots Organization or Target Group: Generally, groups or people receiving or enjoying services constitute these organizations.<br />The NGO can further be classified according to their main objectives and functions conducted in the country. The classification is:<br />a) International Relief Organization: These international organizations engage themselves in relief activities directly or through other agencies. <br />b) Service oriented NGOs: Though there are difference in the aims, objectives and activities, such organization can be classified according to their particular stress and attention.<br />c) Religions NGOs: Such NGOs work as branches of international religions institution/organizations.<br />d) Income Generating NGOs: NGOs engaged in alleviating poverty of the rural poor and landless peasants by employing them in income generating farm and non-farm activities. <br />e) Education and Training based NGOs: Engaged in educating and training of professionals and technicians at different levels.<br />f) NGOs for Health Services: Engaged in offering health services to the rural and urban people. <br />g) Aimless NGOs/Paper Organizations: Engaged in collecting huge amount of donations from home and abroad in the name of service but ultimately looting the amount for self-interest. There are many NGOs, which exist only on paper. Many operate under the umbrella of religious activities and to avoid taxation, some register as charitable organizations. Many NGOs do not encourage having membership rosters or indeed to have members at all because this would the latter a say in their affairs and ask difficult question about the work, activities and finances of the organization concerned. <br />h) Credit Disbursement NGOs: NGOs involved in various types of credit disbursement and the important sub-sector wise activities are agriculture, fisheries, food processing, small business, cottage industry, transport, housing, and health. <br />i) Ideology based NGOs: In Pakistan, these can be classified into Islamic and Non-Islamic NGOs. The Non-Islamic NGOs can be further categorized into two groups: a. Secular capitalist and b. Socialistic NGOs<br />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 (NSA's).<br />Non-governmental organizations are a heterogeneous group. A long list of acronyms has developed around the term "NGO".These include:<br />BINGO, short for Business-friendly International NGO or Big International NGO;<br />CSO, short for civil society organization;<br />DONGO: Donor Organized NGO;<br />ENGO: short for environmental NGO, such as Greenpeace and WWF<br />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;<br />INGO stands for international NGO; Oxfam, INSPAD is an international NGO;<br />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 nongovernmental 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.)<br />TANGO: short for technical assistance NGO;<br />TNGO: short for transnational NGO;<br />GSO: Grassroots Support Organization<br />MANGO: short for market advocacy NGO<br />USAID refers to NGOs as private voluntary organisations. However many scholars have argued that this definition is highly problematic as many NGOs are in fact state and corporate funded and managed projects with professional staff.<br />Types of NGOs in India<br />Indian Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can be set up under various Indian laws, and the different legal entities under which civil society organizations can register themselves are:<br />A. Registered Societies: Societies registration Act, 1860 is a central act for registering not-for-profit organizations. Almost all the states in India have adopted (with modifications, if any) the central Act for creating state level authorities for registering various types of not-for-profit entities. According to the act any seven persons who subscribe to the Memorandum of Association (MOA) can register a society. The memorandum should include names of the society, its objectives, its names, addresses and occupations of the members subscribing to it as well as the first governing body to be constituted on registration.<br />B.1. Public Trust: Public trust can be created for public charitable purposes. There is no All India Level Act for setting up public charitable trusts. Some of the states in India have enacted the Public Charitable Trust Act, while most states in India does not have a trust act. An NGO can be created only under a public trust act. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have independent state level public trust acts. States like West Bengal and Bihar do not have any act to register a public trust.<br />A trust can be registered in one state, but the same has the scope to operate in any number of states. In the state of Maharashtra and Gujarat, all organizations that are registered as 'Society' are by default also registered as Public Trust.<br />B.2. Private Trust: A private trust, created under and governed by the Indian Trusts Act of 1882, aims at managing assigned trust properties for private or religious purpose. A private trust does not enjoy the privileges and tax benefits that are available for public trusts or NGOs.<br />C. Non Profit Companies (Section 25): Conferring of corporate personality to associations that promote cultural and charitable objectives, but exempting them from the operation of some cumbersome requirements (which are essentially for regulation of business bodies but are difficult for compliance by non-profit companies), are the noteworthy features that are provided under the companies act, 1956.<br />According to section 25(1): "Where it is proved to the satisfaction of the Central Government that an association is about to be formed as a limited company for promoting commerce, art, science, religion, charity or any other useful objectives, intends to apply its profits, if any, or other income in promoting its objectives, and to prohibit the payment of any dividend to its members, the Central Government may, by license, l direct that the association may be registered as a company with limited liability, without addition to its name of the word "Limited" or the words "Private Limited"<br />Comparison between a trust, a society and a section 25 company<br />Public TrustSocietySection 25 CompanyStatute/LegislationPublic Trust Act like Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950Societies Registration Act of 1860Companies Act of 1956Jurisdiction of the ActConcerned state where registeredConcerned state where registeredConcerned state where registeredAuthorityCharity CommissionerRegistrar of SocietiesRegistrar of CompaniesRegistrationAs TrustAs Society (and by default also as Trust in Maharashtra and Gujarat)As Section 25 CompanyMain DocumentTrust deedMemorandum of Association and Rules & RegulationsMemorandum and Articles of Association.Stamp DutyTrust deed to be executed a non-judicial stamp paper of prescribed valueNo stamp paper required for Memorandum of Association and Rules & RegulationsNo stamp paper required for Memorandum and Articles of AssociationNumber of persons needed to registerMinimum two trustees; no upper limitMinimum seven, no upper limitMinimum three, no upper limitBoard of ManagementTrusteesGoverning body or council/managing or executive committeeBoard of Directors/Managing CommitteeMode of succession on board of managementUsually by appointmentUsually election by members of the general bodyUsually election by members of the general body<br />D. Co-operative Societies: In India, cooperative societies are regarded as instruments to mobilize and aggregate community effort to eliminate layers of middlemen in any product or service supply chain hence resulting in greater benefit sharing for the grassroot farmer, worker or artisans. The Cooperative Credit Societies Act, 1904 enabled formation of cooperatives for supplying to farmers cheap credit and protect them from exploitation in the hands of the moneylenders. The cooperative act 1912 expanded the sphere of cooperation and provided for supervision by central organization.<br />E. Multi-State Co-operative Societies (MACTS): The Multi-state Co-operative Societies Act, 2002, which substitutes the earlier statute of 1984, facilitates the incorporation of cooperative societies whose objects and functions spread over to several states. The act provides for formation of both primary (with both individual and institutional members) and federal cooperatives (with only institutional memberships). Any application for the registration of a multi-state cooperative society, of which all the members are individuals, should be signed by at least fifty persons from each of the states concerned. In case of a society of which members are cooperative societies, it should be signed by duly authorized representative of at least five such societies registered in different states<br />F. Trade Unions: Trade union means any combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workmen and employers or between workmen and workmen or between employers and employers, or for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or more Trade Unions.<br />Importance of NGOs<br />In the last decade, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have gained increased attention among scholars and practitioners of development. They have become increasingly important agents of the development process in many countries, in all of their main areas of work such as humanitarian relief, long-term development, policy formation and political advocacy. NGOs are commanding greater attention within civil society as vehicles for social service delivery, advocacy, and empowerment.<br />NGOs are professionally staffed organizations aiming at contributing to the reduction of human suffering and to the development of poor countries (Streeten 1997). They do this in various ways, e.g. by funding projects, engaging in service provision and capacity building, contributing to awareness, and promoting the self-organization of various groups (Baccaro 2001). Meanwhile, Desai (2005) has mentioned that NGOs have an important role to play in supporting women, men and households, and expected that they can meet the welfare. She accounted some role and functions for NGOs, such as counseling and support service, awareness raising and advocacy, legal aid and micro-finance. These services help the people to achieve their ability, skill and knowledge, and take control over their own lives and finally become empowered. On the other hand, Stromquist (2002) has noted three major functions for NGOs such as (1) service delivery (e.g. relief, welfare, basic skills etc); (2) educational provision (e.g. basic skills and often critical analysis of social environments); and (3) public policy advocacy. Baccaro (2001) shows how particular NGOs can promote the organization and “empowerment” of the poor, particularly poor women, through a combination of micro-credit, awareness raising, training for group members, and other social services. Empowerment is the ability of individuals to gain control socially, politically, economically and psychologically through (1) access to information, knowledge and skills; (2) decision making; and (3) individual self-efficacy, community participation, and perceived control (Rappaport 1987; Zimmerman and Rappaport 1988).<br />In the long term, the aim of NGOs is to promote sustainable community development through activities that promote capacity building and self- reliance. Langran (2002), has mentioned that NGOs through capacity building help to sustain community development. NGOs are often created in order to expand the capacities of people (Korten 1990). Furthermore, NGOs are praised for promoting community self-reliance and empowerment through supporting community-based groups and relying on participatory processes (Korten 1990; Clark 1991; Friedmann 1992; Fowler 1993; Edwards and Hulme 1994; Salamon 1994).<br />On the other hand, sustainable development has emerged over the past few decades as an important paradigm for community development. However, as Bradshaw and Winn (2000) have noted, sustainability is rooted largely in an environmental approach, particularly in the industrialized countries. But, the goal of sustainable development is to find a balance between three pillars - social, economic and environmental - of communities (Sneddon 2000). The Rio Conference interpreted sustainable development as a single process with three dimensions. In addition, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation defined it as three distinct processes, of “economic development, social development and environmental protection— as interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars” (United Nations 2002). These dimensions were originally introduced with the aim of identifying areas in which social, economic and environmental goals are interrelated (Holmberg and Sandbrook 1992). However, these dimensions of sustainable development have done little to reduce the complexity of the concept and has itself introduced a contradiction.<br />Hibbard and Tang (2004), in their study in Vietnam, have noted the importance of NGOs’ roles in sustainable community development. One of the roles was that NGOs balance the social, economic and environmental factors in promoting sustainable development. Another important role of NGO that they discovered was decentralization of the central government, which helps the local communities to acquire more power in order to make their own decisions. But, sometimes the local communities lack specialists to do professional work and resources that are important for the particular projects. In this situation, NGO assists local staff with drafting sustainable development plans that are functional under the umbrella of a central government policy. Finally, they concluded that sustainable community development is process-oriented, and it requires extensive community participation and relies on network to share resources, knowledge and expertise.<br />From the literatures, it could be summarized that NGOs play an important function in promoting sustainable community development. Sustainable community development emphasizes on a balance between environmental concerns and development objectives, while simultaneously enhancing local social relationships. Sustainable communities meet the economic needs of their residents, enhance and protect the environment, and promote more humane local societies (Bridger and Luloff 1997). As Bridger (1997) has mentioned, sustainable community development includes five dimensions. The first dimension emphasizes on increasing local economic diversity. The second is self-reliance which entails the development of local markets, local production, local processing of previously imported goods, and greater cooperation among local economic entities. The third dimension involves a reduction in the use of energy, coupled with the careful management and recycling of waste products. The fourth dimension focuses on the protection and enhancement of biological diversity and careful stewardship of natural resources. Finally, the fifth dimension is related to the commitment of the sustainable communities to social justice.<br />Through the functions of providing micro-finance, initiating capacity building and self - reliance, NGOs could promote empowerment among community members, and eventually community sustainable development.<br />The above figure shows the outline of the relationship between NGOs’ functions, empowerment and sustainable community development. From this perspective, NGOs’ functions in community development are, among others, develop the local production and local markets; help the community to develop the social, capital and human resources; increase the knowledge and skills; encourage people to participate in activities, and act as a network between community and systems. The involvement in these activities would lead to them become empowered, which is the output of community development. In the long run, the outcome would be sustainable community development.<br />Role of NGOs in democracy<br />In a democratic setup like India, an important trend that is taking place in the recent few decades is the growing involvement of NGOs in the socio-economic development of the country. The advocates of the NGO movement argue that voluntary action could be a viable alternative to state sponsored programmes like IRDP, which were unable to help the rural poor. The NGOs could become a ‘potent instrument for bringing about social transformation and building an egalitarian and humane society. It may be only a protest forum in the short run, but over time, it had considerable potential for effective social change’ (Dantawala et. al. 1998: 9).<br />Though it was Mahatma Gandhi who had advocated voluntarism long ago and some Gandhians had been practicing it all through, the NGO movement took off in India only with the growing interest of international funding agencies with issues of the rural poor. The paradigm shift from state oriented development to market driven economy also helped in giving legitimacy to the NGO movement. With NGOs came a new language of development: empowerment, participation, participatory research appraisal (PRA), social capital etc. One of the most popular and effective programme initiated by NGOs has been the promotion of thrift societies (Dantawala et. al. 1998; Rajasekhar 1998; Khan et. al. 1989; Srivastava 1999). They have become increasingly important agents of the development process in many democratic countries, in all of their main areas of work such as humanitarian relief, long-term development, policy formation and political advocacy. NGOs have commanded greater attention within civil society as vehicles for social service delivery, advocacy, and empowerment.<br />Niraja Jayal and Rob Jenkins together underscore how the growth of civil society has enhanced liberal aspects of India’s democracy. Jayal details the explosive growth of nongovernmental organizations in a variety of arenas, highlighting that some such organizations have effectively checked autocratic tendencies in state power. Echoing critical trends in the civil society literature more broadly, Jayal correctly points out that not all NGOs work to enhance liberal aspects of democracy and that NGOs are themselves not democratically accountable. Rob Jenkins argues that the development of civil society has contributed to India’s democratic deepening. The proliferation of NGOs dedicated to exposing corruption has created new mechanisms of accountability and provided for new avenues of coalition building. The reading aloud of official government records in localized settings, effectively auditing the veracity of such records, is just one example of how the growth in NGOs, though not an unambiguous good, has contributed to the creation of a substantively liberal state. On the whole, therefore, these authors correctly stress that the growth of civic organizations has invigorated a norm of vibrant civic engagement with the state.<br />Despite so many benefits, only a very few NGOs get the required support and attention. The reason behind this can be the set of limitation they have due to uncontrolled nature of the organization. Most of the NGOs do not have quality manpower and the financial support. They die or become extinct within one or two years. Politic Influence is another major concern in a democratic setup like India. It puts the NGOs in a dilemma and questions their "politically unaffiliated" status. When power and money are involved, corruption can also creeps in, and this gains momentum in an uncontrolled environment of NGOs. Money starts flowing out of the system, and the NGO deviates from its path. The following table compares the strengths and weaknesses of an NGO in a democratic setup.<br />Effect of NGOs in Rural India<br />Role of Non-government Organisations (NGOs) in the development process in the third world countries like India is very crucial, especially in the 21st Century. They have a greater role to play in the lives and livelihoods of the tribal and backward communities of India today. The tribal communities constitute about 7 percent of the total population in India. The tribal communities generally live in the inaccessible hilly and forest regions. The economy is largely self-sufficient, unstructured and non-specialized. Their social system is simple. This situation has however changed with the process of new developments in India. Industrial and mining complexes have been established making the tribal economy quite uneven. Coupled with it the government policies and programmes also alienated the tribals from natural resources such as land, forest produce, etc. (Sharma 1977).<br />Eswarappa (2007) in his recent paper, ‘Development and Change among Sugalis, tried to portray that the impact of developmental efforts made by both the government and non- government agencies is to bring desired socio- economic changes in the lives of the marginalized tribal communities in Andhra Pradesh. Further, Baviskar (2001) has rightly mentioned that the decline of the State is accompanied by increasing attention towards civil society institutions. Among the social groups and associations of various kinds that are considered to make up civil society, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have become especially prominent in the last two decades. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have emerged around the world - notably in the developing world - as major players in the developmental action (Meyer 1996: 453).<br />Given the profound implications of NGO involvement in development, there is a great need to essentially examine the changing relations between NGOs, State agencies, multilateral and bilateral funding institutions, and other social groups. The NGO sector in India is characterized by tremendous diversity and heterogeneity. Ignoring this diversity, unfounded generalizations are often put forward and unfair comments and criticisms are offered. NGOs differ from one another in size, in funding, in functions; in the levels at which they operate; and in organisational structures, goals and membership (cited in Baviskar 2001: 4-5). In India, there are 14,000 NGOs registered under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act. In all, there may be over 30,000 NGOs in India. The close collaboration between academics and the NGOs practical work is one of the reasons for the absence of rigorous studies. Social scientists have close links with NGOs, and since many NGOs operate in the cross-disciplinary space between academic research and activist intervention, they offer to academics many opportunities to pursue their work into the domain of non-academic practice.<br />At the micro level, the NGOs are beset with problems relating to coordination of various elements that necessarily intervene and intersect the areas of operation. These include human elements – discharging the duties of the functionaries, location of the institutions, power politics and natural local conditions. There is a complex relationship of these elements. Thus, it is here the introduction of Right to Information Act has relevance to understand the problems better and make beneficiaries more involved. Civil society organisations have expressed a genuine interest in liaising and working towards building strategic partnerships with government where possible to assist in the implementation process. Civil society is also likely to take a lead in raising public awareness about the new law (Devasher 2005). The paper by Kasi Eswarappa suggests that in addition to the involvement of the NGOs, there is a need of having association with the government partners to make more effective of the implementation of the Right to Information as a basic means to achieve the desired goals of the marginal tribal development in India.<br />TQM: Conceptual Background<br />TQM is one of the most publicized management programmes of the 1980s. It is an integrated organizational approach to bring continuous improvement in products, services and processes along with proper tools, technology and training to meet customer’s expectations on a continuous basis through total employees’ involvement. The ‘total’ part of TQM emphasizes that it is an all round excellence effort and is not about one aspect of the company. The ‘quality’ part of the TQM emphasizes upon not only quality product but also quality services. Quality is operationally defined under TQM as meeting or exceeding customer’s expectations. The ‘management’ part of TQM implies that, it is a management approach, not just a narrow quality control or quality assurance function.<br />Prof. Oakland (1990) looks upon TQM as a “.....a way of managing to improve the effectiveness, flexibility and competitiveness of business as a whole”. Scurr (1990) defines TQM as “ continuously meeting agreed customer requirements at the lowest cost by realising the potential of all employees”. Padhi and Palo (2205) after examining a number of definitions given by management authors, consultants, practitioners, quality gurus, reached at defining TQM as: “TQM is an integrated organizational approach to bring continuous improvement in products, services, and processes along with proper tools, technology and training to meet customers’ expectations in a continuous basis through total employees’ involvement.”<br />TQM has been described in different ways in the form of models. Some of the widely used TQM models are:<br />Integrated Model (Sohal, Tay & Wirth, 1989) <br />Oakland Model (Oakland, 1989) <br />Quality – Sweating Model (Kano, 1989) <br />Building Blocks Model ( Zairi, 1991)<br />Theoretical Model (Anderson et al., 1994) <br />Three Dimensional Model (Kelda, 1996) <br />Pyramid Model (Kanji & Asher, 1996) <br />EFQM Excellence Model (Hendricks and Singhal, 1996)<br />House of TQM Model (Kano, 1997)<br />Simplified TQM Model (Green, 2000)<br />Although, there are variations in the scope and applicability of TQM programme, the six principles that capture common themes in the field of TQM are:<br />1.Customer Focus <br />2.Employee Involvement <br />3.Continuous Improvement <br />4.Defect Prevention <br />5.Performance Measurement <br />6.Continuous Learning<br />TQM can be put into practice by encompassing the above mentioned principles and using different methods like, Quality Function Deployment, Reengineering, Just-in-time, Zero defects, Benchmarking, Concurrent Engineering, Continuous Improvement, Quality Circle, Suggestion Schemes, ISO – 9000 Series, Internal Customer Satisfaction, Team work etc.<br />Case Chosen:<br />We are taking a case of Indian NGOs registered under Societies Registration Act 1860. One such NGO is Akshara Kriti (Akshara Network) in India. And the model used is EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Excellence Model.<br />We'll be discussing the working of such NGOs, their implications and quality issues. Then we'll discuss the guidelines for such NGOs in India and their performance assessment vis-à-vis the quality model selected under a set of assumptions and limitations.<br />Societies Registration Act, 1860<br />The following societies may be registered under this Act: Charitable societies, the military orphan funds or societies established at the several presidencies of India, societies established for the promotion of science, literature, or the fine arts for instruction, the diffusion of useful knowledge, 1[the diffusion of political education], the foundation or maintenance of libraries or reading-rooms for general use among the members or open to the public or public museums and galleries of paintings and other works of art, collections of natural history, mechanical and philosophical inventions, instruments, or designs.<br />Guidelines for NGOs under this Act : A society may be defined as a company or an association of persons united together by mutual consent to deliberate, determine and act jointly for same common purpose. Minimum seven persons, eligible to enter into a contract, can form society. When an NGO is constituted as a society, it is required to be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.<br />The chief advantage of forming a society are that it gives a corporate appearance to the organization, and provides greater flexibility as it is easier to amend the memorandum and bye laws of the society than in case of trust, terms of which are strictly manifested in the trust deed. However, formation of a society requires more procedural formalities than in case of a trust.<br />A Society for its inception requires:<br />I. Memorandum of Association, and<br />II. Rules and Regulations<br />For the purpose of registration, following documents are required to be filed with the registrar of Societies:<br />a) Covering letter requesting for registration stating in the body of the letter various documents annexed to it. The letter is to be signed by all the subscribers to the memorandum or by a person duly authorized by all of them to sign on their behalf.<br />b) Memorandum of Association, in duplicate neatly typed and pages serially numbered.<br />c) Rules and Regulations/Bye-Laws, in duplicate, certified by at least three members of the governing body.<br />d) An affidavit of the president/Secretary of the society, on a non-judicial stamp paper of prescribed value, stating the relationship between the subscribers, duly attested by an oath commissioner, notary public or 1st class magistrate.<br />e) Documentary proof such as house tax receipt, rent receipt in respect of premises shown as registered office of the society or no objection certificate from the landlord of the premises.<br />f) An authority duly signed by all members of the managing committee.<br />g) A declaration by the members of the managing committee that the funds of the society shall be used only for the purpose of furthering the aims and objects of the society.<br />Income Tax Exemption: Societies are taxable in the status of AOP and different rates of tax are applicable to the income of an AOP in different circumstances:<br />A. Individual shares of members in AOP are not determinate:<br />i. Where the total income of any member of the AOP is taxable at a rate higher than the maximum marginal rate-Rate of tax is such higher rate. <br />ii. Otherwise-30% <br />B. Individual shares of members in AOP are determinate:<br />i. If total income of any member is not higher than Rs 50000/- (excluding share from AOP) and no member is taxable higher than 30%- Rate of tax on total income of AOP is the rate applicable to individuals. <br />ii. If total income of any member is higher than Rs. 50000/- (excluding share from AOP) and no member is taxable higher than 30%- Rate of tax is 30% <br />iii. If any member is taxed higher than 30%, then (a) Tax on the portion of total income of AOP that is relatable to the share of such member is levied at such rate higher than the 30%, (b) tax on the balance total income will be 30%. <br />Tax Exemption for Notified Charitable Societies U/s 10(23C) (iv) and (v)<br />Any income of any institution established for charitable purposes is exempt. For getting exemption under these clauses, following requirement must be completed:<br />i. Making an application in Form No. 56 <br />ii. Applying its income or accumulating it for application, wholly & exclusively to its objects;<br />iii. Notice of accumulation u/s 11(2) will have to be given to the assessing officer in Form No. 10<br />Operational Requirements For A Society: An annual list of members of the management committee shall be filed to Registrar of society within 30 days of the AGM. However if no AGM is held for any reason as per society Registration Act 1860, section whatsoever, than an annual list of members of the managing Committee as on 31st December each year shall be submitted to the office of the Registrar of societies. Non-submission of the list attracts a financial liability of Rs.50/- for the list of each year. Once in every year a list of the office bearers and members of the Governing Body shall be filled with the Register of Societies, N.C.T of Delhi as required under Section 4 of The Societies Registration Act 1860 and applicable to the National Territory of Delhi.<br />Minutes<br />A: Governing Body Meetings<br />There shall be minimum four meetings of the Governing Body each calendar year, i.e. one meeting in every three calendar months.<br />B: Annual General Meetings<br />There shall be minimum one Annual General Meeting (AGM) of all the Members of the Society every year. The AGM can be held at any time from April 1 to December 31 after the end of the financial year each year.<br />1 - Adoption of Annual Accounts.2 - Admission/Resignation/ other matters of the members of the society.3 - Investment of funds of the society.4 - Appointment of the members of Governing Body on every expiry of its tenure<br />C: Extra Ordinary Annual General Meetings<br />For any urgent or emergent matter like Admission/Resignation/Death of the Member / Change of Name/change of address /change of objectives /change of Rules & Regulation or any other major issue of the society.<br />Notice & Quorum<br />A: Governing Body Notice<br />Minimum 10 days clear notice or as per Rules & Regulation of the society and the quorum shall be 1/3rd members of the Governing Body or as per Rules & Regulation.<br />B: Annual General Meetings<br />Minimum 21 days clear notice or as per Rules & Regulation of the society and the quorum shall be 3/5th members of the General Body or as per Rules & Regulation.<br />C: Extra Ordinary Annual General Meetings<br />Minimum 10 days clear notice or as per Rules & Regulation of the society and the quorum shall be 3/5th members of the Governing Body or as per Rules & Regulation.<br />Register Of Members<br />The Society shall maintain at its registered office a register or its members and shall enter therein the following particulars:<br />1 - The names & addresses of the members.2 - The date on which the member was admitted.3 - The date on which a member ceased to be a member.4 - Particulars of Admission fees received.5 - Particulars of Annual Subscription received.6 - Any other information required from time to time.<br />Election: The General Body in its meeting shall elect all the office bearers after Five years or as per Rules & Regulation of the society by show or by secret ballot papers as required. The Quorum of the General Body shall be 2/3rd members of the Governing Body present or as per Rules & Regulation of the society.<br />Admission To Membership Of The Society: A member shall fill the membership form to become a member of the society. The Membership shall be initially dealt with in 2 meetings of the Management Committee, One accepting it and the second confirming it, all the members of the society added/left during the year are to be discussed in the AGM also. A Register of member of the society has also to be maintained.<br />Calendar Year: The financial year of the Society shall start from the 1st day of April and end on the 31st day of March in the following year.<br />Financial Year: The accounts of the Society shall be audited at least once in a year by a qualified firm of Chartered Accountant appointed by the Governing Body.<br />Amendment: Any amendment in the Memorandum of Association and rules and regulation will be carried out in accordance with the section 12 & 12A of the Societies of Registration Act, 1860, as applicable to the National Capital Territory of Delhi.<br />Documents for amendments: <br />Amended Copy of MOA & R.R of the Society in duplicate.Copies of Special Resolution in duplicate (General Body).Copies of Notice in duplicate.Copies of Minute of Society Governing Body).List of Governing Body. Copy of Comparative List of Amendment.Copy of Election proceedings with Notice.Proof of Notice received.Copies of application form for new membership.Copies of resignation letter. Annual List of Governing Body (Sec.4).N.O.C. from owner of the new registered office of the Society.Ownership proof of new registered office of the Society. n. 'No Dispute' affidavit from President.<br />Akshara Network <br />Akshara Sakthi, (meaning sustainable force), livelihoods volunteer force, works with rural/urban/tribal poor livelihoods to better the livelihoods and quality of life of the poor and participate in the effort(s) for economic poverty reduction. The volunteers themselves may come from various parts of the country and outside. The effort will begin with Andhra Pradesh. Akshara's headquarters are located in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh India, but the organization operates throughout India. Akshara Sakthi, mobilizing the volunteer force, works for improving existing rural/urban/tribal livelihoods, identifying and utilizing best practitioners' within the existing livelihoods, bridging the gaps in these livelihoods, and identifying and availing viable new livelihoods opportunities, leading to the built-up five capitals - natural, physical, social, human and financial - of livelihoods and contributing to functioning four arrows - increasing incomes, decreasing expenditure, increasing employment and decreasing risks - of livelihoods. Akshara sees itself as a leading contributor in accelerating the pace of professionalism in the development (livelihoods) sector. Further it works to better the quality of life of the poor, including education, health and other public services. The volunteers may begin their work to develop the villages/clusters/districts/states from where they have come. Gradually it builds of the momentum for pro-poor policy advocacy that creates enabling environment for the existing and new livelihoods of the poor to thrive. Finally, Akshara Sakthi offers a variety of forums for volunteer-contribution to the integrated human development. <br />Akshara has contributed to the development sector the LEAP Process, which is a methodical and complete process for development project evaluations and the Livelihood Framework that explains how development process must function in order to succeed. Akshara means A+’kshara’=non-destroyable (therefore, sustainable).<br />Further, relevance and significance matter to Akshara.<br />Core Philosophy: Application of management concepts, tools and techniques to development in general and Livelihoods Enhancement for the Poor, in particular and working towards Livelihoods Management as an independent discipline.<br />Focus & Values: Our focus and Values can best be summarized as follows:<br />Thematic FocusGuiding ValuesMicro-financeHope that poverty can be eradicatedTribal IssuesTeam work/learningWatershed ManagementFaith in the capacity of peoplePoverty ReductionSignificanceRural Livelihoods: Four ArrowsPeople’s collective effortRural-Urban ContinuumExcellenceEco-fragile and Marginalized AreasLearning OrganizationCooperation and People’s InstitutionsIntegrity<br />Purpose: Akshara Sakthi's raison d'etre is to support, sustain and offer appropriate support of volunteer force to development initiatives/projects/activities for the purpose of contributing to integrated human development and ecological security/integrity, particularly enhancing the livelihoods and quality of life of the poor, in the county, beginning with Andhra Pradesh. Akshara Sakthi Volunteer Force programmes include scanning the best practices in the existing livelihoods, building the conscience and consciousness of all the stakeholders in fighting poverty, knowledge augmentation campaigns, skill building facilitations, forums for poor and non-poor to fight poverty together, support in building five capitals of the livelihoods, and volunteer livelihoods support and hand-holding for the collective struggle(s) of the poor. <br />Consolidating Existing Livelihoods and finding new Livelihood Opportunities towards increasing the incomes, decreasing the expenditure (money, cost, time, energy), increasing the employment (days), and decreasing the risks.<br /> Organization: Composed of Four Units<br /><ul><li>Akshara Gurukulam is a school that offers various programs on Livelihoods Management. It aims at sourcing, creating, nurturing and developing the development management professionals with clear bias towards the poor to improve their livelihoods and livelihoods options. The curriculum comprises classroom segment + field work.
  2. 2. Akshara Livelihoods Private Limited is a consulting arm of Akshara Network. Its consulting focus areas include Visioning, Strategic Planning, Project Design for Poverty Reduction and Livelihoods Enhancements Projects, Custom-made trainings, Module Development, Handholding Support, etc.
  3. 3. Akshara Jobs focus is to offer job/employment to rural youth by linking up with various employment opportunities. This happens by matching employers' job specifications and the individual's capabilities, skill -building for the individual where required, matching employer’s need with individuals’ collective/ organization etc.
  4. 4. Akshara Books is a new initiative with focus on Livelihoods Framework, livelihoods concepts and trends, application of management concepts in livelihoods and poverty reduction efforts.</li></ul>Mentoring and Facilitating Roles<br /><ul><li>Akshara Sakthi is a campaign to mobilize livelihoods volunteer force comprising various individuals and organizations into livelihoods management agenda to contribute towards enhancing the livelihoods of the poor in their own way. Currently 1000 volunteers are part of Akshara Sakthi.
  5. 5. Chelama LPC (Livelihoods Professionals Collective) provides a platform for solidarity, security and learning for the livelihoods professionals/workers. This organisation offers services like savings, mutual aid, e-mail, web space, refresher trainings and sourcing work for professionals etc.
  6. 6. Endogenous Tourism at Bhoodhan Pochampally in partnership with GOI, UNDP, Andhra Pradesh Tourism and Nalgonda District Administration. As a software implementing partner Akshara is promoting weaving and tourism based livelihoods. Chenetha Gurukulam is also coming up.
  7. 7. Community Livelihoods Facilitators Forum is an organisation of community level animators with livelihoods facilitation/support skills in general and at the grassroots level in particular. The Community Livelihoods Facilitators (CLFs) offer livelihood support services to required programs/organizations.
  8. 8. Magazines - Jeevanopadulu (Telugu) / Livelihoods (English) - is aimed to fulfill the need for authentic knowledge, inputs and updates in livelihoods domain in particular and development sector in general. The magazine features case studies, livelihoods concepts, issues, options, interventions, current/changing trends and impact on livelihoods, interviews from social entrepreneurs, activists, career options etc
  9. 9. Livelihoods Support Organizations (LSOs) receive visioning, institution building, strategic planning, capacity building, project evaluation and monitoring and other mentoring support from Akshara Mentors. LSO franchisee arrangements are supported. LSO networks with shared livelihoods vision are facilitated. Of the 10 LSOs that received support three became self-reliant.
  10. 10. Field Projects/Partnerships are established with community based organizations (CBOs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and PRIs for experimentation, shared learning and praxis.</li></ul>Working Model of Akshara Kriti:<br />Livelihood Framework<br />Framework Diagram<br />Akshara Network interventions focus on improving the livelihoods of the poor by increasing their stock of and access to Six Capitals natural, physical, social, human, financial and spiritual and by bringing appropriate changes in the Four Contexts ecological, techno-economic, distribution, and income-expenditure pattern that result in Four Arrows- Increased income, Decreased expenditure (cost, time, energy), Increased Employment and Opportunities, Decreased/ diversified risk(s).<br />LEAP Process: Livelihoods Enhancement Action Plan (LEAP) A livelihoods intervention must be based on the appreciation of the current reality with respect to the four arrows, six capitals and four contexts of the households, the community, village and surrounding areas. This needs to be done in a participatory manner so that the assessment, analysis and planning is done by the villagers. The process also should lead to the identification of the knowledge/skill/resources that are outside the community and need to be explored further. Where required, the process should also lead to the identification of the community organization required. To achieve this, the first step in the LEAP processes is general discussion with the community about the existing socioeconomic and physical environment of a village. This also includes a transect walk and appreciating the techno-economic context, including the markets and their access. For deeper understanding of the available assets and resources of the community, the following participatory exercises (often called LEAP tools) are used: Social map, Livelihoods analysis and prioritization, Resource map, Value-chain analysis, Traded-in & traded-out, Income & Expenditure pattern.<br />In addition to the above, farming systems analysis, local market analysis, analysis of emerging opportunity in wider markets, institutional analysis, etc., are also undertaken. The analysis would point to various gaps and opportunities, which would have to be prioritized for further study. The interventions would then be a set of simultaneous, supplementary and complementary interventions at individual, household, sub-habitation, habitation, supra-habitation, cluster or policy level. The institutional arrangements for the interventions need to be worked out and the acquisition of resources planned. Resource may be required even at the planning stage and a case may have to be made to acquire the same. Of particular importance would be the access to technical and professional services during the planning stage, to make the process truly community driven. The emphasis needs to be on process and building the capacities of the target communities. Moreover, the processes need to build an environment congenial for cooperation between the target community with those others present in the village and around.<br />Among LEAP tools, resource map, traded-in & traded-out, value-chain analysis, livelihoods analysis and farming systems analysis can provide insights into the natural capital and the environmental and ecological context. <br />Initial Activities: <br />Design livelihoods support and poverty reduction programs/initiatives/campaigns and mobilize volunteer force to initiate and/or participate;<br />Develop and nurture volunteers in livelihoods support and building their conscience towards fighting poverty; <br />Evolve programs/schemes/activities to involve volunteers to support/enhance quality life of poor, by strengthening the existing livelihoods and/or adding new viable livelihoods;<br />Mobilize volunteers to support individuals/institutions/CBOs/groups at the grass roots or otherwise to build the five capitals (natural, physical, social, human and financial) of livelihoods and utilize them effectively so as to improve livelihoods of poor and to evolve systems to ensure equity and justice in their utilization;<br />Mobilize volunteers to offer know-how, advice and technical guidance in the field of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry rural livelihoods, water resources, forestry, new and renewable energy sources, rural industries, formal and non-formal education, community health, habitat and environment, information technology and communications, and any other fields considered useful for promoting integrated human development;<br />Share information in the form of papers, seminars, e-literature, electronic media, print media, and any other related media, directly or through identified volunteers, which will enhance the livelihoods of the rural/urban/tribal poor; <br />Foster public understanding of and support for development issues; and<br />Take up such other activities as may be necessary from time to time for furthering and promoting the objectives of Akshara Sakthi.<br />Issues faced by NGOs<br />Organizational problems of NGOs: Research into this area produced a number of common problems and dilemmas that NGOs experienced. This topic has been explored in detail by various researchers and authors. One of the most mentioned was that of the decision-making processes. Tensions often occurred between staff and senior managers because of the staff expectations that they would be equal partners in the decision-making process (Mukasa, 2006).<br />Another common problem was to do with the governance of the organizations and the relations between board members and staff. These stemmed largely from the boards’ inability or unwillingness to carry out their responsibilities of governing the organizations. Board members often lacked the time or the expertise to be able to carry out these responsibilities effectively. As a result, senior staffs were often left to make policy decisions with little or no support from board members (Mukasa, 2006). <br />Governance and decision making; The governance picture of many NGOs is quite complex. Most nonprofits are governed by self-perpetuating, largely self-appointing boards of directors. “Though trustees are not elected by society at large, their essential purpose is to hold an organization in trust for the benefit of society, as specified in its papers of incorporation and grants of tax exemption” (Lewis, 2005)<br />Staff; Other problem is about staff; such as; recruitment, assignment and layoff as well as human resources development and administration and finally everyday management of staff (Vilain, 2006). NGOs were found to be weak at staff career development. Often organizations lacked a career structure in which staff could develop. In addition they were not good at budgeting for staff training. In situations where the organizations were expanding rapidly, it created problems for many who were unable to keep up with the demands of their work. Not all people working for non-governmental organizations are volunteers. Paid staff members typically receive lower pay than in the commercial private sector. Their members usually do not get paid in any way and only invest little of their leisure in order to fulfill their duties. Sometimes they only have little organizational and professional skills (Mukasa, 2006). The poor quality of training or lack of importance attached to training NGO workers has been discussed elsewhere (Ahmad, 2002)<br />Fund raising activities were often the source of much tension in organizations. The strategies and images used to raise funds from the public were often felt to compromise the nature of the work done by other members of staff. These images often depicted beneficiaries as helpless victims in need of assistance, which other staff felt was inaccurate and lacked respect for the beneficiaries (Mukasa, 2006).<br />The difficulties of managing NGOs with operations in several countries also raised concerns. The difficulties came from the inability to define proper lines of autonomy on policy issues. Field staff often felt isolated unsupported and felt there was a lack of understanding of the issues they were dealing with at field level. In addition, they often found it difficult to be loyal to headquarters. Headquarters staff on the other hand, felt that field staff had too much power which needed to be controlled if all the interests within the organization were to be adequately addressed (Mukasa, 2006).<br />Funding such large budgets demands significant fundraising efforts on the part of most NGOs. Major sources of NGO funding include membership dues, the sale of goods and services, grants from international institutions or national governments, and private donations. Even though the term 'non-governmental organization' implies independence of governments, some NGOs depend heavily on governments for their funding.<br />The most commonly identified weaknesses of the sector include; limited financial and management expertise, limited institutional capacity, low levels of self-sustainability, isolation/lack of inter-organizational communication and/or coordination, lack of understanding of the broader social or economic context (Malena, 1995). <br />NGOs can have members but many do not. NGOs may also be a trust or association of members. The organization may be controlled by its members who elect the Board of Directors or Board of Trustees. NGOs may have a delegate structure to allow for the representation of groups or corporations as members. Alternately, it may be a non-membership organization and the board of directors may elect its own successors.<br />The structural growth problem; once they are successful, small businesses worldwide commonly face the problems of replacing one-person management (or family management) with a more institutionalized structure. The founder is used to having total control and doing things his or her way. It is difficult to persuade her/him to create independent management or expert roles, or to respect the authority and autonomy of independent managers and experts once they are in place. Their styles, ethos, and values are often severely challenged by the formality and the bureaucratic discipline that is imposed by this volume and variety of external funding from public organizations. <br />The accountability problem; This has both a `real’ and a `perceived’ dimension. The `real’ problem is quite clear and is articulated repeatedly; who are these people accountable to? (Moore & Stewart, 1998).<br />The evaluation problem; this is most immediately a problem for donors, but failure to resolve it reflects back on NGOs eventually, and should be perceived as their problem. Performance evaluation; is relatively easy in `post-office’ type organizations where (a) activities are routine; (b) objectives are few and clear; (c) there is no great distinction between immediate `outputs’, medium-term `effects’, and long-term `impacts’; and (d) outputs, effects or impacts can be measured relatively cheaply and reliably without the measurement process itself distorting the objectives of the organization or the goals of the staff. Few public organizations are like post-offices. Many, including many development NGOs, are very different: their activities are experimental rather than routine; their goals are often intangible (such as changing the consciousness of clients or the opinions of policymakers); they may be operating in the face of official obstruction and hostility; and it may be difficult to find other organizations with which their performances can usefully be compared in any quantitative sense. (Moore & Stewart, 1998).<br />The economies of scale problem; most NGOs are very small. They lack easy and cheap access to the specialist knowledge they require. For example, they may be aware that `staff development’ is important, but have little idea about how to do it (Moore & Stewart, 1998).<br />Volunteer relationships; “volunteering means any activity in which time is given freely to benefit another person, group or organization”. Organizational volunteering can further be defined as proactive (e.g., signing up to serve meals at a shelter every Sunday) rather than reactive (e.g., stopping to help an accident victim after a car accident) and entails commitment of time and effort (Lewis, 2005)<br />Mission, effectiveness, and accountability; for NGOs to thrive, it must fulfill a mission that is valued by the community, staff, board, and founders. NGOs must create value within operational and environmental constraints that are at once more complex than those faced by corporations and more opaque than those confronted by government (Lewis, 2005).<br />Main future needs: more funds and more staff, and above all the former, is more or less universal. Older voluntary organizations desire more paid staff. Younger voluntary organizations appear in relatively greater need of information and management advice. The desire for more volunteers is very widespread. (Marcuello, 2001)<br />Other Issues and their Implications in proper working of NGOs<br /><ul><li>Limited community participation: There are some NGOs who seriously try to involve communities in the process. There are some NGOs who seriously remain limited to the formation of a Village Committees or such related communities only and arrange meetings between them and dignitaries when on visit. The VEC members are not specifically informed of or trained for their roles.
  11. 11. Lack of proper documentation: Most of the NGOs are understaffed and are trying to cope with the tasks with less than the minimum number of personnel required. Thus the work and its quality suffer. Jafri (1997) indicated that government personnel did not understand the NGOs functioning without any apparent structure, themselves used to working in highly formalized and rigid structures. They accept very few NGOs, mostly the ones with some government or bureaucratic reference. NGOs on the other hand do not understand the limitations the government personnel are subject to, in spite of their apparent authority. Very few of them respond positively to the government.
  12. 12. Lack of co-ordination: Some good NGOs are now well established and are working towards similar goals. Yet they work in complete isolation from one another. This results in an overlapping of activities, which can be avoided. Resources, energy and time can be saved by effective collaboration and co-ordination of activities.
  13. 13. State-NGO relationships: There are also internal problems as well as external problems like state-NGO relationships. Clark (1993) having surveyed a wide range of literature, presents the following as the barriers to a healthy State-NGO relationship:
  14. 14. (a) A highly political policy environment;
  15. 15. (b) NGO’s preferences for isolation;
  16. 16. (c) Jealousy of civil servant towards the NGOs’ access to resources;
  17. 17. (d) Pressure on successful NGOs from major donors to receive more funds, leading to a decline in performance;
  18. 18. (e) The NGO constituency being often very narrow;
  19. 19. (f) NGO’s capacity, with their work often being not as effective as claimed;
  20. 20. (g) Public sector’s capacity, with government performance often marred by weak commitment, a shortage at local levels of competent staff, and corruption and nepotism;
  21. 21. (h) Political jealousy, with governments not wanting to foster a healthy NGO sector for fear of bolstering the political opposition;
  22. 22. (i) Dependence on foreign donors, with NGO motives “guided by a foreign aid”. </li></ul>Many government officials doubt that NGOs are working for the good of the people they search for hidden motives even when there are none. Others are jealous of the headway many NGOs are making, especially when funding from donors goes directly to NGOs and circumvents governmental control. So they try to frustrate NGOs by imposing rules and requirements. Many NGOs feel that co-operating with governments and United Nations agencies reduces their independence. Also, some fear that government shirks their responsibility for educating the people by dumping it on NGOs, while development agencies seek to use NGOs as “cheap labor”. <br /><ul><li>Fears of governments: The governments concerned fearing that the NGO ideology will be reflected in an alternative political voice in the country. In these circumstances, any governmental monitoring of NGO activities, including through registration, is likely to be for purposes of control rather than co-operation (Farrington and Lawis, 1993). </li></ul>Hall (1986) notes some problems of NGOs that there are difficult relationships: the donor/receiver mentality prevails. There may be ownership problems between ‘my’ programme and ‘your’ programme. Also there may be problems with the setting of priorities. Tandon (1987) also has identified problems for NGOs and noted how governments may seek to influence NGOs, control their independence and restrict their ability to respond and react to the community. Thus he fears, government owned NGOs (GONGOs). NGO projects are not easily replicable and often depend, even in the long run, on exceptional visionary leaders with resources and training not easily accessible among the disadvantaged classes. <br />According to UNESCO (1996), there is a growing perception that NGOs and voluntary groups are better able to identify needs and deliver help than are governments. However, some governments increasingly shift their NGO funding programmes to emergencies and refugee work while restricting funds to NGOs working in education and other sectors. NGOs working for literacy have warned that quality enhancement will be seriously affected by the attitude of the government. If funds are not made available according to the original amount demarcated, the failure of yet another attempt to create a literate society will come to nothing. The responsibility for this failure would then lie with the government and not the organizations running the literacy centres. Qasrani and Khawaja (1989) have enlisted following worth mentioning problems of NGOs: <br /><ul><li>Allocation of funds to deserving NGOs is largely at the discretion of the Social Welfare Officer. Several observations indicate that his choice of deserving NGOs is based more on his relationship with the NGOs than on a question of merit. A deal for mutual favors is more often the basis for government aid, which is disheartening for the dedicated members of competing societies.</li></ul>(ii) Moreover, teacher is paid a stipend too low to attract a qualified member of the community to organize a conscious pursuit of deliberate objectives to enhance the literacy skills of the learners and improve their awareness of health, nutrition and child rearing practices. <br />Dilemmas for Local NGOs : Also, NGOs operating locally face other issues at times in their day-to-day working. This range of issues surrounding NGO advocacy points to several trade-offs that any NGO needs to carefully consider before making a strategic decision to enter the policy arena or, indeed, to not do so. Discussion around these issues, in the context of an organizational self assessment that facilitates some serious reflection, can be a learning opportunity for any local NGO. These dilemmas are: <br />- Investment in learning versus investment in doing: Serious policy influence usually requires documented learning. But most NGOs pride themselves on being action-oriented, quick to respond to needs or to adapt to particular local situations. The values and skills that support commendable NGO flexibility and action-orientation, however, are not always consistent with reflection and learning nor the investment they require. Nor is research a particularly compelling draw for fund-raising. So this trade-off between learning and doing becomes a strategic dilemma that an NGO needs address proactively. <br />- Policy awareness versus policy influence: Understanding and mastering the environment is a key tenet of good strategic management. So every NGO should develop the skills and mechanisms to understand the policy environment and how it will affect what they are trying to do. Whether, however, any NGO goes beyond policy awareness to policy influence is another key strategic choice that may have significant ramifications for its future work, both positive and negative. <br />- Insulation versus influence: As we noted earlier, insulation from government attention or other activities that bring attention to an NGO, especially controversy, can be a deliberately chosen and effective strategy in some circumstances and for some organizations. Such a strategy, however, may often be inconsistent with any drive toward policy advocacy and influence whether direct or indirect. Here again the issue is not whether one option is inherently better than the other but rather that any given NGO make the choice deliberately and control its own future strategy. <br />- Independence versus partnership: There is a price to any partnership ranging from the need to make strategic compromises to being co-opted by a larger partner with its own agenda. The risks are especially large when a local NGO partners with a large foreign partner or any NGO or PVO partners with government. The risks may be worth it in the interests of expanding scale or obtaining support for key activities. And many U.S. PVOs, for example, are working creatively to build partnerships with local NGOs based on equality and mutual self-respect. But even the appearance of being co-opted by a foreign partner may damage a local NGO’s credibility and effectiveness, especially as a voice in the policy arena. <br />These dilemmas represent opportunities for effective strategic choice by an NGO. Too often, however, organizations back into one or the other horns of these dilemmas due to external pressures, usually the pressure to raise funds or satisfy a stronger partner. This reality brings us back to the heart of the issue for this conference – NGO sustainability. Organizations with sustainable capacity are much more likely to make independent decisions than organizations with what we might call dependent capacity. <br /> From Capacity to Sustainability:Thinking about autonomous decision making capacity as a key marker of NGO sustainability takes us back to the third category of organizational assessment that I suggested earlier, organizational sustainability. I propose your consideration of three sub-categories of organizational sustainability: autonomy, learning, and leadership. These attributes enable the organization to transcend the sum of its component parts. They also are the most predictive indicators I can think of to assess future organizational capacity.<br />Organizational Autonomy: Autonomy is the organization's degree of independence from other organizations or forces in its environment. Effective autonomy is reflected in the power to make decisions about basic matters such as organizational goals, policy, budget, hiring practices, pay and incentives, and external linkages. Julie Fisher identifies several keys to organizational autonomy. These include <br />- being driven by mission rather than by donors or other funding sources, <br />- financial diversification from any single-source patron, <br />- a mass constituency, <br />- technical expertise, <br />- strategic knowledge on development issues, and <br />- social and managerial knowledge. <br />We’d also like to emphasize the importance for building autonomy of commitment to a clear sense of purpose. Institutions with a clear vision and internal consensus regarding that vision (often referred to as “alignment”) usually employ resources effectively toward goal achievement because they understand what they stand for. Autonomous organizations also tend to conduct programs or activities that earn a high degree of acceptance by relevant stakeholders and, in turn, contribute in demonstrable ways to organizational resources and performance -- for example, by attracting new funding, enhancing organizational learning, or broadening organizational influence. <br />Organizational Learning: Much has been written and said about learning organizations and time does not permit much examination of the topic this morning. Recall, however, that organizational assessment itself can be a powerful learning experience if done by an organization for itself or done in a highly interactive faction with a facilitating donor, consultant or partner organization. In fact just about anything an NGO does can be turned into a learning experience if done with creative attention to process. In my view, fundamental organizational functions like planning, organizing, performance management, and human resource management all should be seen as key learning opportunities. For this reason, such functions should never be turned over to outsiders though consulting expertise may be employed in a supportive role. Appropriate monitoring and evaluation of an NGO’s actual programmatic or other activities also is an obvious tool for learning. These functions, too, should be handled internally and for the primary purpose of informing the organization’s managers and staff, not just outsiders. Learning from programmatic activities serves both better management and also, in many cases, better support for efforts to influence policymakers or civil society.<br />Question of Credibility: Another question to be asked in reference of NGOs is “what is credibility” and what constitutes credibility for an NGO. One can define credibility as quality of being trustworthy which means, whether or not the NGO (the aims and vision with which it is established) is to be believed or trusted. We know that many a times, NGOs are not considered credible because they have a personal, monetary, political or other interest, which is often in contradiction with the interest of the community or people whom they claim to serve.<br />For example, considering the Indian context, credibility is one of the most critical factors, which has affected the people’s perception of NGOs in Bihar. Now people and communities have started demanding money for participation in NGOs programme, as they believe that NGOs are getting money in their name. The question here is, ‘how can an NGO build its credibility?’ Before answering this question, however it is important to focus on why NGOs have lost their credibility. NGOs have lost their credibility in people because they are not consistent, transparent, honest and accountable to their work being done. Despite the recent cancellation of the registration of hundreds of “fake” non-government organisations (NGOs) in Bihar, a large number of people, including those belonging to Naxalite outfits, have made a beeline for getting their new organisations registered. Interestingly, people belonging to various Naxalite outfits and women activists top the list of those who have set up their NGOs in different parts of the state. Transparency and sharing information and knowledge is a best way to build credibility which helps in building the intellectual base of the NGO, and its ability to articulate the views of the people it is speaking for. There is no fix set of guidelines for NGOs, which we have for other sectors like government, corporate and other institutions. Although several activists, networks and Alliances (Like credibility alliance) are raising theses issues and have developed norms and good practices for governance and public disclosure, we have not achieved and provided rights to people working in development sectors (Its not true for all organizations but applies to many voluntary organizations and NGOs). <br />Conventional Assessment of NGOs<br />Existing Frameworks and other methods for assessing NGO quality and developing quality standards for them:<br />A framework for assessing the work of the NGOs has been defined. (Mick Howes, 1992). The framework consists of a 16-cell matrix. The left-hand column resembles the input/output/effect/ impact sequence described earlier, although effects and impacts are displaced by the more narrowly defined 'project purpose' and 'programme goal'. Proceeding from left to right, the other columns then deal respectively with the 'objectively verifiable indicators' which will be used to determine whether inputs, outputs, purposes and goals have been achieved; the means by which different indicators will be verified; and the 'important assumptions' upon which the successful attainment of shorter' and longer term objectives will rest.<br />The Logical Framework: This framework had a number of things to commend it. It facilitates communication between interested parties, by presenting a synoptic view of all of the key elements comprising the overall activity on a single sheet of paper. It obliges designers to specify indicators and means of verification at the outset, which clarifies what is required by way of baseline information and from the monitoring system, and laying a much firmer foundation for subsequent impact analysis/evaluation than had previously been available. It has the effect of extending the range of activities which an agency feels happy to support into areas which may be difficult to justify on purely economic grounds. Finally, by acknowledging, for the first time, that there were elements in the external environment which would lie beyond management control, it begins to soften the assumption of the project as prime mover, and moves rather closer to an appreciation of 'real world' circumstances. <br />As such, the framework represented a significant advance on earlier practice, and has now been adopted, with only superficial modification, by nearly all of the leading donor agencies. NGOs too are utilizing it in increasing numbers.<br />Certain limitations should, however, also be noted. By itself the framework makes no explicit provision for the identification and targeting of the poor. In the absence of supporting methodological advances to address this issue, they therefore tended to be overlooked; both at the appraisal and at the evaluation stages. In addition, it should be recognized that the potential openness to indigenous institutions still left the outside expert firmly in the driving seat, and did little to challenge the notion of a simple unilinear and mechanistic process of causation. <br />There has been agreement among NGOs that some standards should be reflected in NGO work and that together with the previously existing framework should be the basis for assessment and improvement of that work. The standards include: <br />1. NGO activities should seek to address the root causes of poverty and marginalisation, therefore interventions are more likely to focus upon empowerment, community development, advocacy and other mechanisms that address peoples’ ability to control and benefit from their development. <br />2. NGO activities should demonstrate high quality gender practice. <br />3. NGO activities should be based upon and coherent with an analysis and understanding of the situation and context. This includes attention to diversity in communities and groups and to the links between micro and macro conditions. Significantly, this understanding is rarely possible at the beginning of an intervention. It develops over time, based upon relationships and openness to learning. <br />4. NGO activities should have an appropriate design that identifies people-centred outcomes, and the means and processes required to achieve these. The designs need to be flexible, to enable adaptation to the dynamic situation of implementation. This may not suit the requirements of all donors and therefore requires careful negotiation to ensure that the focus upon people is not skewed by donor accountabilities. <br />5. NGO engagement should aim for wider impact through various means, including empowerment and capacity building of partners and communities, and by taking a programmatic approach to activities. <br />6. NGOs, together with their implementing partners, should continue to undertake monitoring and evaluation of their work, both formal and informal, in order to identify areas of success, areas requiring improvement and in order to implement timely and appropriate change. <br />7. NGOs should be able to demonstrate that costs associated with their engagement are appropriate to the context and the nature of the intervention and reasonable in relation to the proposed outcomes and benefits. <br />8. NGO activities should have sustainability strategies, based upon long term engagement and high quality relationships, which take into account the wider context and give attention to long-term impact. <br />9. NGOs should assess and manage risk during their activities, but balance this with their focus upon meeting needs of risky or marginalised people. <br />10. NGOs should work in ways that include clear and transparent accountability mechanisms to all key stakeholders, including communities and local governments, as well as donors. <br />11. NGOs will provide appropriate quality technical input, as necessary, in their engagement with others. This input should be cost effective, maximise local input and capacity and utilise appropriate technology. <br />12. NGO activities should be implemented with an informed understanding of the environmental impact of the activity. <br />13. NGOs work towards the participation and increased control of people of their development situation. This should include genuine participation of people at all stages of the program cycle and be reflected in the way engagement is undertaken. <br />While these standards and principles are not new to the debate on effectiveness, what is different is the participatory and NGO sector-wide approach to embed the principles into organisational structures and procedures. The key area for debate is the relative weight given to up-front planning and designs versus a more genuine participatory and adaptive process that truly fosters local ownership and empowerment. The main tension is, as it always has been to some extent, balancing the need to meet reasonable donor accountability (expressed through detailed up-front design) with genuine participatory process. The very strengths of NGO ways of operating - participatory, long-term relationships based upon mutual trust and learning and acceptance of differences – can often be undermined by the strict requirements of donor accountability. NGOs are seeking to get the balance right. First and foremost so that the work they manage is more effective and, in the process, to pursue dialogue with other aid donors as to how more flexible accountability systems can support NGO processes and effectiveness. <br />Indian Context: According to the findings of a recent government survey there are an estimated 3.3 million registered NGOs working in the country — one for every 400 Indians. Not only has the number of NGOs in India risen dramatically but so has their influence. In some of India’s flagship development efforts — the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the National Rural Health Mission, the Right to Education or even the draft Right to Food Act — NGOs have been at the forefront both in formulating these laws and policies and in implementing them. NGOs have helped voice the concerns of some of India’s most vulnerable groups and focus the attention of the government on critical social and development issues. They have also spearheaded efforts to expose corruption and maladministration in government bringing in much needed transparency. <br />But despite the growing influence of NGOs in India today, we know very little about them: their structure, activities, sources of funding and, more importantly, how accountable they are to the people they represent. This is alarming given the crores of rupees in development aid that NGOs receive from the government and from donors every year. Ironically, though NGOs have been watchdogs of the government for many years, there has been little regulation or monitoring of their own activities. <br /> Indian NGOs are slowly beginning to experiment with similar self-assessment tools and certification schemes, but the real problem is that information disclosure by NGOs continues to be a rare and uncommon practice. This is ironic given that NGOs that were at the forefront of the RTI movement.<br />The RTI places a legal obligation on NGOs to be transparent and offers one important mechanism through which NGO accountability could be enforced. Under Section 2(h) (ii) of the RTI Act, NGOs that receive substantial funds, grants or loans from the government are considered public authorities and are required to disclose information as per the law. While the term “substantially financed” has not been defined clearly in the act, arguably NGOs accountable to the government for the funds they receive from it are automatically accountable to the public under the RTI. The Delhi High Court has expanded this interpretation to argue that NGOs that perform “public functions” or provide services similar to those provided by the government, are subject to the RTI Act. Thus for example, private bodies such as Sanskriti School, New Delhi, the Indian Olympic Association and the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee have been brought under the purview of the RTI.<br />Over and above these legal provisions, the RTI Act also serves as a useful model for NGO disclosure. Section 4 of the RTI Act outlines 17 categories of basic information that public authorities have to disclosure proactively through websites, manuals and other means. This includes basic information about the organisation, its structure and activities, the rules and norms that guide its functioning, a staff directory and so on. NGOs can very easily, and at low cost, adapt the proactive disclosure provisions of the RTI Act and develop their own guidelines for information disclosure.<br />There is little doubt that NGOs are here to stay and with good reason. Many NGOs have been at the forefront of efforts to fundamentally reshape the development and accountability debate in India. Given this role that NGOs have begun to play, it is all the more critical that questions of NGO accountability be debated and resolved. In the absence of a clear guidelines or an official code of conduct, NGOs have a moral and ethical obligation to be transparent and answerable to the public for their activities. The RTI Act, the very tool that NGOs have used to hold government accountable, can help to initiate this process of setting norms and standards for NGO accountability. <br />Issues specific to NGOs under this Act<br />NGOs face many challenges and limitations since its very inception. They have to comply with all rules and regulations that are framed by the government and only the group that is eligible would be certified by the government as 'NGO' under The Societies Registration Act, 1860. <br />Some of the major problems these NGOs face are:<br /><ul><li>Approximately half of the aid money received by non-governmental organizations in India is misused, mostly to cover high administrative costs.
  23. 23. Organizations are often required to register under multiple laws without any uniform accounting policy or reporting framework
  24. 24. Capacity Constraints
  25. 25. Corruption and nepotism
  26. 26. NGOs operate in different fields and set-ups. As such, any effort at evolving a uniform standard may not be desirable. Thus there is a need to frame layers of norms.
  27. 27. Accountability is not necessarily unidirectional. It is vertical to state and donors, horizontal to other partner voluntary organisations and civil society constituents, downward to the people with whom they work with and internal to the staff. Remaining compliant to all puts additional pressure.
  28. 28. In India, NGOs do not have any profit oriented businesses. They depend on the funds from external sources. Fund raising campaigns is one of the most challenging tasks for an Indian NGO.
  29. 29. If sourcing funds from other countries or importing goods from foreign countries as aid material to be distributed to people, they will have to get customs clearance before they can claim the goods. Operational costs are heavy in India.
  30. 30. Availability of volunteers
  31. 31. Often NGOs face minor problems in meeting the government requirements, getting permissions for their programs and in executing them. This puts a lot of delay in all the good work they do.</li></ul>Quality Models and Tools for assessing the performance of NGOs<br />The following models/tools/frameworks are used generally by NGOs, social enterprises and voluntary sector for assessment of quality:<br /><ul><li>Social Impact measurement for Local Economies (SIMPLE)
  32. 32. Social Return on Investment (SROI)
  33. 33. European Foundation for Quality management Excellence Model(EFQM)
  34. 34. ISO 9001: 2008
  35. 35. Social Accounting and Audit
  36. 36. Quality First
  37. 37. Social Enterprise Balanced Scorecard
  38. 38. Third Sector Performance Dashboard
  39. 39. Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit (Institute for Volunteering Research)</li></ul>European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model <br />We found the EFQM model most suitable for the case undertaken for the NGO Akshara Kriti. EFQM is a comprehensive, systematic and regular review of an organisation’s activities and results to provide excellent services. The EFQM model allows the organisation to discern clearly its strengths and areas in which improvements can be made and culminates in planned improvement actions, which are then monitored for progress. It is suitable for the voluntary sector as it is a model and not a norm, and so it doesn't dictate strict rules for achieving objectives, but rather evaluates initiatives based on basic agreed upon principles.<br />Primary purpose: The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model, is a self-assessment framework for measuring the strengths and areas for improvement of an organisation across all of its activities. The term ‘excellence’ is used because the Excellence Model focuses on what an organisation does, or