From housing to shelters to blankets by Connie Hargrave A report about increasing homelessness in Canada, which like other countries, has cut funding for housing to reduce its deficit and save taxpayer money. Nanaimo, Canada Over the past two decades homeless people are increasingly evident on the streets in Canada. Newspaper articles occasionally profile a homeless person who once had a job and savings like anyone else.
Non-governmental organizations NGOs have become quite prominent in the field of international development in recent decades. But the term NGO encompasses a vast category of groups and organizations. The World Bank, for example, defines NGOs as private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development.
NGOs are typically value-based organizations which depend, in whole or in part, on charitable donations and voluntary service. Although the NGO sector has become increasingly professionalized over the last two decades, principles of altruism and voluntarism remain key defining characteristics.
While there may be distinctions in specific situations, this section deals with a high level look at these issues, and so these terms may be used interchangeably, and sometimes using NGOs as the umbrella term.
Since the s, it has been noted how there are more non-governmental organizations than ever before trying to fill in the gaps that governments either will not, or cannot.
The above-mentioned World Bank document points out that Since the mids, the NGO sector in both developed and developing countries has experienced exponential growth…. It is now estimated that over 15 percent of total overseas development aid is channeled through NGOs.
Recognizing that statistics are notoriously incomplete, the World Bank adds that there are an estimated 6, to 30, national NGOs in developing countries alone, while the number of community-based organizations in the developing world number in the hundreds of thousands.
Such organizations must operate as a non-profit group. All or some of these can have direct or indirect political weight on decisions and actions that NGOs make. Professor of anthropology, Richard Robbins, in his book, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism Allyn and Bacon,Second Editionsuggests a few reasons why NGOs have become increasingly important in the past decade or so.
Amongst them from pp. Perhaps most important, Robbins suggests, is that some believe NGOs have developed as part of a larger, neoliberal economic and political agenda. Shifts in economic and political ideology have lent to increasing support of NGOs from governments and official aid agencies in response.
One of the many aspects of this ideology is to minimize the role of the state in things like health and education; NGOs and other organizations receive funding as an alternative to the state.
There is a good deal of evidence, Robbins says, that NGOs are growing because of increased amounts of public funding. As a result, a number of alternative, grassroots type of NGOs have grown in both developed and developing countries campaigning and researching issues related to globalization, social justice, the environment and so forth.
These are independent of government aid. However, NGOs not dependent on state aid are the exception rather than the rule as Robbins also adds p. NGOs as a Weak Third Sector Compared to Governments and Corporations Some have observed that in a way then, the complex group termed NGOs are seen as the weaker part of a triumvirate, or third sector to counter the other two actors, the state and the market.
It is suggested that NGOs are a natural outcome of a free democratic and capitalistic society. The idea is that as market forces require more and more relaxations of rules and regulations for their benefit, society will naturally demand social justice to balance out negative aspects of market forces such as exploitation and environmental degradation.
This leads to a romantic notion of what Adam Smith, regarded as a father of capitalism, described as a hidden hand Wealth of Nationswhere through the pursuit of self-interest, hidden forces would automatically help balance things out.
Yet, NGOs are typically weaker because they are not as financially independent as the other two actors, and are often dependent upon them. Or, when independent, they typically do not have the resources and political power that the other two wield for example, both states and corporations can own large influential media organizationsand are not as well and long established as the other two.
One of many effects then is that many NGOs are subject to political and market forces, as Jude Howell and Jenny Pearce observe, quoted at length: For donors, civil society is a force for and ingredient of democratization, as well as a natural component of a market economy.
In legitimizing civil-society strengthening programs, donors make frequent reference to the potential of civil society, to hold in check the state, to serve as the moral pulse of society and to further democratic value.
By reducing the power of the state and increasing the role of the market, it is assumed that civil society too will flourish and will in turn encourage further economic liberalization.
Moreover, civil society, state, and market are assumed to constitute an organic, symbiotic whole, characterized by unity rather than disjuncture and by cooperation rather than conflict.
There is thus an expectation that civil society will function to mediate and balance the power of the state and market, to provide a moral check on the market, and likewise to maintain the democratic integrity of the state.
Finally, there is an implicit assumption that external donor agencies can create, nurture and strengthen civil society in aid-recipient countries. Yet, many organizations within civil society receive funding to varying degrees from both state and private sponsorship.
In some countries, government officials have set up their own NGOs as a way to work more creatively, access different resources, and gain new opportunities.Growing Concern over Poverty and Homelessness: Global Poll A GlobeScan poll, released today, shows increases in perceived seriousness of poverty and homelessness.
The GlobeScan poll of 24, citizens across 24 countries, including Canada, shows the abiding strength of people’s concerns about poverty and their perceptions of economic unfairness. Mar 04, · A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility. A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.
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