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NGO Contribution in the Development of Country: Bangladesh

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:


INTRODUCTION
Bangladesh has a strong tradition of private philanthropic initiatives for humanistic and voluntary works for people's welfare. Many schools, colleges, hospitals and other voluntary initiatives for public service have their origin in the philanthropic values of caring and sharing.

It is with the same spirit of caring and sharing that after the Liberation War in 1971 many dedicated individuals took initiatives for people's welfare, at the beginning in the form of relief and rehabilitation, which subsequently transformed into NGOs working in wide ranging areas of development and social change. As a complimentary force to the state sector, NGOs have made great contributions to public welfare, in many cases becoming national and international models which are being replicated in many countries of the world.


RATIONALE

It is against the backdrop of the robust growth of the NGO sector in Bangladesh in terms of both size and influence that TIB undertook this study on "Problems of Governance in the NGO Sector: The Way Out". TIB's rationale in undertaking this study stems from a realization that it is in the interest of the sector itself, its continued success, credibility and sustainability that issues related to governance and corruption, if any, should be confronted head on.

Much before the study was planned there have been reports and complains of some NGOs moving away from the values of volunteerism and self-less service to the poor and needy. There have been allegations that while NGO intervention has helped significantly facilitated uplift of the poor, it is only a relatively much lesser portion of the resources that reach the real target group.

OBJECTIVES

This study was undertaken to bring out an overall picture of the nature, extent and process of governance economic development, failure, irregularities and corruption in the NGO sector IN Bangladesh. It also puts forward certain recommendations as a way out for promoting accountability, transparency and good governance in the sector. The main objective is to bring into focus the importance of the contribution in the development of country and soul searching within the sector and to sensitize all the stakeholders with particular emphasis on self-regulation of NGOs.


KEY FINDINGS

NGOs have made remarkable progress on many human and economic development indicators over the past two decades. Great's strides have been made on health, social awareness, nutrition, environment development, employment generation etc. it has experienced rising rates of growth, a slow but steady decline in poverty and impressive progress in terms of social development, outperforming some of its richer neighbors on a number of Millennium Development Goals. On the other hand, it has an abysmal record on governance and was ranked as the world's most corrupt country for five consecutive years by Transparency International. There is an emerging view that the country's extremely active development NGO sector has contributed to some of the more positive achievements.

NGOs, now facing various types of problems to operate their regular activities such as judicial, fund crisis, political corruption, religious etc.

These problems are evident in every sector in Bangladesh, from developing rural peoples and to growth overall economic the NGOs will bear a happy and plateful nations in the country.


Table of Contents:

Executive Summary………………………………………………………………………………………..##

Chapter one: Introduction & form of NGOs…………………………………………………………….01
Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………01
Definition of NGO……………………………………………………………………………………………..02
Types of NGO…………………………………………………………………………………………………03
The evolution of NGOs in Bangladesh……………………………………………………………………..03
NGO registration……………………………………………………………………………………………...03
The policy environment for NGOs in Bangladesh…………………………………………………………04
Sources of funding for NGOs………………………………………………………………………………..05
Financing NGOs: trends: prospects………………………………………………………………………...05
A framework for NGOs activities…………………………………………………………………………….06

Chapter two: sustainable agriculture & rural development (SARD)…………………………………07
Landless farmer & NGOs……………………………………………………………………………………...07
Agricultural sectors development…………………………………………………………………………….07
Real works done by Proshika for rural farmers……………………………………………………………..08
Government & NGOs collaborations for agriculture development………………………………………..09

Chapter three: Environmental & consciousness activities of NGOs………………………………..10
Environment & NGOs………………………………………………………………………………………….10
The changing emphasis of disasters in Bangladesh NGOs……………………………………………….10
Peoples consciousness & NGOs……………………………………………………………………………..10
Advocacy…………………………………………………………………………………...............................11
Role of NGOs in HIV/AIDS/STD prevention & control……………………………………………………..12

Chapter four: Micro- finance & NGOs in Bangladesh………………………………………………….13
Introduction & industry coverage……………………………………………………………………………..13
Impact of micro- finance services on borrowers & on the economy……………………………………...15
Regulatory framework…………………………………………………………………….............................16
Challenges for MF-NGOs & for the government…………………………………………………………...16
Suggested reforms to face the future challenge……………………………………………………………17

Chapter five: Role of NGOs for woman development…………………………………………………18
Micro credit & woman…………………………………………………………………………………………18
Development & growth of woman…………………………………………………………………………...18

Chapter six: Role of NGOs for households, education & health development............................19
The main NGO services are by & large successfully targeted to poor…………………………………..19
Education……………………………………………………………………………………………………….19
Health…………………………………………………………………………………………………………...20

Chapter seven: Leading domestic, international NGOs & activities in Bangladesh……………..21
Domestic NGOs………………………………………………………………………………………………..21
International NGOs…………………………………………………………………………………………….22

Chapter eight: Overall activities analysis of NGOs…………………………………………………….23
NGOs as learning community………………………………………………………………………………...23
Who's sustainability…………………………………………………………………………………………….23
NGOs relation with the state…………………………………………………………………………………. 25

Chapter nine: Recommendation & conclusion………………………………………………………….26
Recommendation………………………………………………………………………………………………26
Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………………………27

References…………………………………………………………………………………………………….28

Abbreviations………………………………………………………………………………………………….29


CHAPTER ONE

Introduction & Form of NGOs


Introduction:

Non-Government Organization (NGOs) started in this country in a limited scale as relief provides following the devastating cyclone in 1970, which claimed colossal human lives and properties in the coastal belt and the off-shore islands. Devastations caused by the War of Liberation in 1971 prompted other foreign and newly established local NGOs to mount relief and rehabilitation Programs.

Recognizing the need for development for alleviating endemic poverty in the country, NGOs began to shift their emphasis from relief to socio-economic development and to pursue –initially rather haphazardly Programs aiming at health care, family planning, income generation and self-reliance for the disadvantaged and the poor. As poverty continued to deepen and encompass ever larger numbers of people, more foreign NGOs came to work in this country and at the same time, the members of local NGOs grew fast.

Definition of NGO:

Generally speaking, the terminology may be used to include any institution or organization outside the Government, and as such, may include political parties, private and commercial enterprises, social and cultural organizations, academic and research institutions, youth and sports clubs, and similar other organizations. In fact the terminology covers all those organizations outside the government, which are involved in various development and welfare activities with the objective of alleviating poverty of the rural as well as urban poor. In Bangladesh, it includes all such organizations and institutions that are registered with the Government under the Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Council) Ordinance1961 and the Foreign Donation (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Ordinance of 1978.

In the contexts of Bangladesh, the term NGO has been defined "as an association of persons formed voluntarily through personal initiatives of a few committed persons dedicated to the design, study and implementation of development projects at the grass root level. They function outside the government framework but they are bound by and work within the laws of the land. They are variously involved in multi-sectoral development projects combined with research welfare services, human capability development through educational training, technology development m exchange of information and social communication. Their broad objective is poverty alleviation and their target groups are primarily the poor and the disadvantaged.



Types of NGO:

NGOs may be widely classified into the following broad groups, which are functioning in
Bangladesh.

1. Donor Agencies:
These comprise international NGOs dispensing funds they raise or receive from their governments to various NGOs- national and expatriate-engaged in social, economic and development activities. Apart from providing funds to the local and national NGOs, some of them implement projects directly. Major such organizations operating in Bangladesh include OXFAM, Swedish Free Church Aid (SFCA), Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO),South Asia Partnership (SAP), The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), etc.


2. International Action NGOs:
Such NGOS are those expatriate organizations who operate on various geographic inspectoral areas with areas with operating funds obtained from foreign donors. Some of these NGOs are also acting as co-financing agents of their respective governments. Such major NGOs operating in Bangladesh include Rangpur, Dinajpur Rural Services (RDRS), Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), CONCERN, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), International Development enterprise (IDE), etc.

3. National action NGOs:
There are many of these NGOs in the country. Some of them have earned reputation as effective organizations helping the poor and the disadvantaged through health activities, educational and training programs, and income generating activities. Prominent such NGOs include Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) Proshika Manobik Unnayan Kendro, Caritas Bangladesh, Nijera Kari, etc.

4. Local Action NGOs:
There are organizations operating in local areas covering single or few villages, and are engaged in traditionally specialized activities in the locality. Sources of funding of these NGOs include the government and or nationally based donor agencies and other NGOs.

5. Service NGOs:
There does exist some service NGOs in Bangladesh. Generally, they work in the field of medical service, education and family program.







The evolution of NGOs in Bangladesh
Historically, the non-government organizations (NGOs) started shortly after the 1971 war of liberation, initially providing relief services and rehabilitation assistance to war- ravaged victims. These NGOs then shifted their development programs and strategies towards community development, giving special preference to the poor and to the powerless segments of Bangladeshi society.
Dr. David Korten analyzes the evolution of the NGO sector in Bangladesh within the framework of the Four Generations of NGOs, to wit:
• First generation: NGOs put emphasis on relief and rehabilitation work (1971-72);
• Second generation: developmental efforts of NGOs are aimed towards community development (1973-75) with a number of sectoral activities (e.g., agrarian reform, health, cooperatives, etc);
• Third generation: also known as "sustainable systems development" where the NGOs extend the breadth of their programs, ensuring sustainability through undertaking large-scale programs, complementing the national development systems and involving various organizations and institutions (1976-to date); and,
• Fourth generation: which entirely depends on the development phase of NGOs in realizing their vision of society characterized by strong People's Movements.
Over the past two decades, since 1971, the NGOs have made significant progress and contributions to a country which is still struggling to survive and to rise as a truly independent nation. Through their various development programs and projects such as health, agriculture, agrarian reform, irrigation, credit assistance, among others, these NGOs have served as catalysts, making their development interventions strongly felt in the urban and rural areas.
NGO Registration

NGOs in Bangladesh are registered under different Acts. These are

(1) The Societies Registration Act, 1860;
(2) The Trust Act, 1882;
(3) Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Regulation and Control) Ordinance 1961;
(4) Co-operative Societies Act, 1925 and
(5) The Companies Act, 1913 (amended in 1914). NGOs registered under these above mentioned acts are controlled in accordance with (1) 3.

The Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Regulation and Control) Ordinance 1961; The Foreign Donation (voluntary activities) Regulation Ordinance, 1978 (amended in 1982) and The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Ordinance, 1982. The highest number of NGOs is registered under The Societies Registration Act, 1980. NGOs covered under this study are mainly those which are registered under the NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB) attached to the office of the Prime Minister/Chief Adviser.

In reality, the registration-providing government offices cannot efficiently monitor these NGOs. Research has shown that registration often takes place allegedly without due process in exchange of bribes of Tk. 5,000 to Tk. 10,000 many NGOs have got registration from government offices such as Social Welfare Directorate, and Women and Children Welfare Directorate. At the local level the Upazila and District administration authority is responsible for monitoring the activities of NGO in their respective areas and send report to the NGOAB. The research shows that because of heavy workload they have no time or resources to do so except holding of monthly meetings, which also do not take place on a regular basis.
The Policy Environment for NGOs in Bangladesh
The attitudes of many government officials towards NGOs have been largely ambivalent. While official pronouncements highlight the role of NGOs, government policies restrict the participation of the NGOs in the mainstream of development.
Government attitudes have been found to be ambivalent. While on the other hand, the government in their successive five year plan categorically emphasized the participation of NGOs in national development, they on the other hand, promulgated a number of regulatory laws to control NGO activities, inhibiting their smooth operation. The government bureaucracy and political elites tend to exhibit a strong bias against the NGOs and most often, create bottlenecks to impede their activities. Perhaps, this may be attributed to the very nature of the government and the existing socio-economic and political structures which have been mostly autocratic and non- democratic in nature. However, in recent years there have been some collaborative national ventures which have been successfully undertaken by both NGOs and the Government.
Apparently, government is afraid that the growing number of NGOs may lead to the creation of countervailing power blocs and eventually, the take-over of government functions. But these negative perceptions towards NGOs by the government have been unfounded.
Below are several government legislations and regulatory laws which exhibit government's strong tendency to regulate and control the activities of the NGOs in Bangladesh:
Indicating the Policy Environment for NGOs in Bangladesh
Key Issues/Legal Constraints Year
Initiated
1) Issues on Orientation
• GO must approve any amendments to an NGO's constitution 1961
2) Financial Dimension
• NGOs must formally register with gov't. in order to receive foreign aid 1978
• NGO must report any foreign aid received to GO
• NGOs must obtain GO approval in order to use foreign aid 1978
• NGOs must file an annual report with the government 1982
• Donors must obtain GO approval for any foreign contributions to NGO 1961/1978
• Foreign aid in foreign currency must be deposited with Central Bank or GO - specified Bank 1982/1983
• Central Bank provides bi-annual report on all NGO foreign currency accounts to key GO agencies 1978
• GO has the authority to monitor and audit NGO accounts
• GO review required for an NGO's annual budget 1978
3) Organizational Dimension
• NGO must formally register with GO to operate legally 1961
• GO project approval required for NGO operations 1986
• GO has the authority to monitor and inspect NGO projects and activities 1978
• NGO must report and get approval for any expatriate involvement in its operations 1982/1988
• GO has the authority to remove and appoint new board members to govern an NGO 1961
• GO has the authority to suspend and dissolve NGOs 1961
• Voluntary NGO resolution requires GO approval 1961
These aforementioned legal constraints initiated by the government to regulate and control NGOs development activities in the areas of orientation, financial and organizational dimensions seem to signify government's general lack of trust and appreciation of the developmental NGOs.


Sources of Funding for NGOs

NGOs have been able to flourish in Bangladesh due significantly to the availability of funding, especially from foreign development agencies and INGO. Smaller NGOs tend to receive a greater proportion of their financing from northern INGOs, while larger organizations receive more from development agencies. Most NGOs rely on funds received from foreign sources, such as INGO s, development partners, foreign private organizations, and multinational organizations. A World Bank Report (2006–2009) indicated that 34.1% of the foreign aid ($379.4 million) received by Bangladesh was allocated for the NGO sector. There are no estimates of funds from other sources involved in this ever-growing sector. The NGO sector is also an important employment generator. There is no estimate of the number of people employed in the sector, but BRAC, for example, the second largest employer after the Government, employed 93,843 people as of June 2009.

Some civil society experts believe that Bangladesh NGO s rely too heavily on foreign development partners. Mr. Rehman Sobhan of Dhaka's Centre for Policy Dialogue suggests the ubiquity of foreign funding has contributed to an enormous NGO sector, which has pushed the Government out of the provision of public services through delegitimization of the State. "The reality of the matter is that NGO s cannot substitute the Government any more than the private sector can…so whilst this may not have been the intention of the donor community, the objective results have been not just a downsizing, but also a devaluation of the State. And an increasing reliance, at least in the social sector, on NGO s which has become a counterproductive exercise."13 Members of the NGO community have argued that the Government does not have the capacity to provide these services, regardless of NGO involvement.


Financing NGOs : Trends & Prospects

The total aid to NGOs rose from an average of $232 million (0.7% of GDP) between 1990-95 to $ 326 million (0.7% of GDP) between 1996-2004 while total aid to Bangladesh fell from an annual average of $ 1.62 billion ( 4.9% of GDP) to $ 1.35 billion (2.9% of GDP) during this period (1996-2004).

As a result the share of aid to NGOs as a portion of total aid to Bangladesh has risen from 14.4% in the first half of the nineties to 24.5% since then.

On average 20% of aid averaging around $77 million a year, that is provided to NGOs comes through Government from lending agencies.

Around 70% of private charitable contributions in Bangladesh go to religious institutions with educational establishments (15%).



Flow of foreign grant fund through NGO Affairs Bureau (up to February, 2006)

FY 2005-06 (up to Feb/06) No. of Projects Commitment Disbursement No.of NGOs registered Remarks
641 $388,069,646 $229,625,444 2005
Local- 1815
Foreign- 190

From 1990, the cumulative disbursement of foreign fund until February, 2006 is $3042,583,759 and total number of projects is 11,962.


Till 30th June 2006 the number of registered NGOs under NGOAB is as follows:

Local NGOs - 1843
Foreign NGOs - 191
Total NGOs – 2034,


Financial Accountability of NGOs Through NGOAB



A Framework for NGO Activities

There are more than 2000 NGOs (development oriented & registered with NGOAB) in Bangladesh and a small group are among the largest such organisations in the world. These big NGOs BRAC,ASA and Proshika have nation wide programs with tens of thousands of employees and multi-million dollar budgets.

Most NGOs are small and have limited managerial and staff capacity. For instance in a sample of 720 NGOs 90% had programs in less than five (out of 64 districts) districts and only three NGOs had programs in more than 200 ( out of 507) sub-districts. The services of NGOs have grown significantly over the last fifteen years (from 1990) and they have shown that it is possible to scale up innovative antipoverty experiments into nationwide programs. Notable innovation that were expanded include i) Delivering credit to the previously "unbankable poor" ii) Developing a non-formal education program to cater to poor children particularly girls; iii) The use of thousands of village based community health workers providing doorstop services in partnership with Government.

The unique nature of Bangladesh's NGos is not confined to the delivery of social services and pro-poor advocacy. NGOs have developed commercial ventures in order to link poor producers with inputs and output markets as well as to develop a source of internally generated revenue. The draft Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper(PRSP) views the role of NGOs as an integral part to achieving national poverty reduction targets, particularly through delivering and facilitating pro-poor services.

The range of activities undertaken is wide with NGOs known to be active in :-

i) Micro finance;
ii) Health;
iii) Education;
iv) Social safety net programs;
v) Agricultural extension;
vi) Social forestry;
vii) Environmental protections;
viii) Safe water & Sanitation;
ix) Disaster management & relief;
x) Legal & Human rights education.

Poor rural women constitute the large proportion of NGO beneficiaries. This is all the more remarkable for having been made in the context of severe, interlocking constraints of extreme poverty and the persistence of strong patriarchal norms associated with both South Asian culture and Islam, as characteristics of Bangladesh Society.














CHAPTER TWO

Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD)

Landless Farmers & NGOs
The NGOs made significant contributions in the areas of organizing the landless farmers, and of providing education and training to increase farmers' knowledge and skills to enable farmers to actively participate in the programs of the government. NGOs also provided some technical skills to increase the farmers' productivity. But more specifically, the areas where the NGOs contributed greatly to the government's land reform program were as follows:
• identifying government land
• identifying landless farmer beneficiaries
• preparing basic policy documents
• publicity campaigns
• holding divisional and regional conferences with NGO fieldworkers, landless group leaders and the government officials
• training of the landless men and women who received government land.
The NGOs and RPOs strongly believed that through the implementation of agrarian reform program, they would be able to ameliorate the hardships of the people. According to the government, a total of 16,843 acres of land have been distribute to benefit some 167,867 landless which include the landless organized by the NGOs.
Agricultural Sectors Development:
In general, NGOs in Bangladesh focus their work on the very poorest sectors of society such as the landless, women and the rural poor.
Undeniably, there is now a proliferation of NGOs in Bangladesh. According to the Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB), an apex forum of NGOs founded in 1974 with the objectives of facilitating information exchange among its member organizations, about 135 NGOs are presently involved in agricultural programs alone.
NGOs with a Program on Natural Resource Management
Name of Programs International National Local Total
1. Agriculture 12 22 101 135
2. Sericulture 3 6 19 28
3. Horticulture 0 2 2 4
4. Fisheries 7 15 96 118
5. Social Forestry 6 20 92 118
6. Land Reform 0 3 2 5
TOTAL 28 68 312 408
Source: ADAB, Computer Data Base on NGOs, ADAB, Dhaka
However, there are only a few NGOs in Bangladesh that promote the importance of sustainable agriculture among the farmers such as PROSHIKA-MUK, Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB), CARE International and Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS). Their concept of sustainable agriculture "entails an eco- friendly agricultural system whereby people in the community optimize the use of their resources through traditional, indigenous, as well as modern science."
Because sustainable agriculture is still a new concept which at this point in time, and is still at the experimental stage, NGOs' main strategy is directed at meeting the subsistence needs of the farmers (Hirschman 1984).

Real Work Done by Proshika for Rural Farmers:
Proshika Manobik Unnayam Kendra (Proshika) is a non-government organization (NGO) in Bangladesh. Since 1976, it has been organizing the rural poor through education and training and by providing various other support services such as credit extension. In 1989 a similar process was initiated by Proshika in the urban areas.
Proshika's work priorities are grouped into themes which reflect a number of rural and urban development concerns. These are:
1) organization of the rural poor
2) development and education
3) employment and income generating activities
4) rural health infrastructure
5) social forestry
6) ecological agriculture
7) urban poor development and,
8) disaster management.
The Ecological Agriculture Program was started in a modest way in 1978 concentrating on vegetable growing. From 1990-91, experiments on rice production were conducted.
Using organic fertilizers and a natural control mechanism, Proshika's experiments in "ecological agriculture" were designed to show that "organic" farming is capable of producing rice yields comparable with those chemical farming, prevents disease and pest infestation and enhances the soil's natural productivity.
• Irrigation command areas
• Demonstration plots
• Chemical spry
• Disease and pest infestation

Proshika's Ecological Agriculture Programme revealed that the "ecological agriculture" plots required a significantly lower investment per acre while producing yields comparable to those of "chemical agriculture" plots.





Government & NGOs Collaborations for Agriculture Development
The government and NGOs could conduct joint GO-NGO/RPO consultation and policy workshops on sustainable agriculture to come up with a common understanding and development frameworks and approaches on sustainable agriculture.
1. The government's agricultural policy promoting the use of chemical agriculture and HYV technology to address the country's food insufficiency has been proven to be ineffective by the NGOs based on their comparative research and actual field experiments. Also, it is a well established fact that chemical-based agriculture has negative effects on the people's health and their environment.
2. An alternative way of doing agricultural development combining modern technology and the indigenous knowledge and practices of the people has been found to be very effective in increasing farmers' productivity. This has been called Sustainable Agriculture which utilizes organic farming and integrated pest management systems.
3. Consequently, the government must review its present agricultural policies based on these research findings. These experiments and other similar NGO field experiences could form one concrete basis and topic for building GO-NGO dialogue and collaboration.
4. The government must closely collaborate with NGOs like Proshika and other NGOs which have direct knowledge on organic farming and other forms of sustainable agriculture (e.g. regenerative agriculture, etc.). The government must recognize the indigenous knowledge of the people and therefore, consult them in programs and projects related to the promotion of sustainable agriculture and rural development.









CHAPTER THREE

Environmental & Consciousness Activities of NGOs


There are some efforts in Bangladesh to deal with the environmental problems. The government agencies, in collaboration with other organizations, are implementing several donor-financed environmental projects. A good number of environmental NGOs are active. Many large, general-purpose NGOs also now have environmental components. However, it is clear from the continued environmental deterioration that these efforts are not proving adequate for the challenge that Bangladesh faces. The efforts have to be raised to an entirely different level.


Environment & NGOs

As in many other areas of developmental activity in present day Bangladesh, NGOs play a prominent role in the arena of environmental studies and protection. There are two types of NGO involvement in environmental protection. On the one hand, there are specialized, environmental NGOs that have been set up solely with environmental goals. On the other hand, many of the "general purpose" NGOs also now have environmental components in their program. Environment related NGOs (both specialized and not specialized in environment) have formed a coalition, namely Coalition of Environmental NGOs (CEN). Many of these NGOs have collaborated with the Government in formulating NEMAP. Some of these are now engaged in implementation of NEMAP related and other environmental projects, such as the Sustainable Environment Management Project (SEMP).


The Changing Emphasis of Disasters in Bangladesh NGOs

Bangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, affected by cyclones and floods, as well as chronic hazards such as arsenic poisoning. NGOs have played a major role in bringing concerns related to risk management on to the national agenda and promoting a shift of focus from mere relief response to disaster mitigation and preparedness. The government has, after earlier skepticism, now accepted NGOs as major partners in these tasks. Innovative approaches, such as the use of microfinance, have been applied; many of which are related to preserving the gains of development efforts as part of rehabilitation. NGOs have pressured for better co-ordination with government. Improved structures are now approved, but it is still too early to judge their impact. Despite progress, neither NGOs nor governmental agencies have clearly defined roles in the effort to link disaster management priorities. This will ensure that longer-term development efforts build on local capacities and reduce vulnerabilities


Peoples Consciousness & NGOs

As things appear at present, political systems, administrative dispensation, quality of governance, access to redress of grievance and violation of human rights, universalizing of economic gains and overall movement towards higher quality of life especially in the developing countries world over are the areas needing immediate attention. These become the primary concern of genuine NGOs. That speaks for the importance of the NGOs in the new order of human society.
Therefore the first and foremost responsibility that falls on the shoulders of NGOs is of disseminating education among the people at large. This is the biggest role and the biggest challenge for the NGOs. How do we address this is what needs to be debated threadbare.
NGOs will also need to establish their astute neutrality as well as deep involvement. Their neutrality as non-partisan organizations will highly increase their credibility with the peoples and their governments. Their involvement will endear them to the masses of people who will repose in them the trust, which they are somehow loath to repose in the governments when their aspirations are not met. Obviously, the NGOs are made to do tight rope walking. They have to be cautious in their business of alerting the governments, responding to the aspirations of the people, conducting fruitful enterprise for educating people and finally giving direction to the civil society.
The day has come when NGOs will no more be doubted. Their credentials have to be accepted by national and international organizations and their word has to carry the full weight. As such the NGOs have also to be alive to their responsibilities. This calls for a debate on the restructuring of the NGOs themselves along a broad democratic base. They must, in due course of time, become the icons for democratic ideology and dispensation.
The picture of the importance and role of the NGOs, which we are contemplating, eventually necessitates considerable expansion of NGOs, their structure, their corpus of activity, their accessibility and their fund of achievements. It is also a reality and a necessity that NGOs world over confederate into a universal body with regional trappings and then co-ordinate their efforts of building a new civil society in which justice and equity rule the roost.



Advocacy

The Advocacy activities of NGOs focus on issues affecting the poor such as,

1) Violence against women;
2) Dowry;
3) Land rights;
4) Access to justice;
5) Housing;
6) Education.

Role of NGOs in HIV/AIDS/STD prevention & control in Bangladesh: a case study on targeted interventions with truckers community.
To determine the role of NGOs in HIV/AIDS prevention & control in Bangladesh. METHODOLOGY: Case Study on an NGO's (CEDAR, Bangladesh) activities in the field of HIV/AIDS/STDs prevention and Control. SUMMARY OF RESULTS: CEDAR, an NGO of Bangladesh, targeting truckers community (Drivers & Helpers) as a high risk behaviour group, has been working in the field of HIV/AIDS/STDs prevention and control since 1995. A need assessment study was conducted by CEDAR before the project run. The result of the study revealed that there are about 70,000 truckers working all over the country, who are one of the core group in Bangladesh. The findings gave a vital insight into the lives and needs of the truckers such as: long period of time spent away from wives; multiple sexual partners; no recreational and washing facilities with little alternative to visiting brothels; high level of STDs, but no treatment services, and little accurate awareness about HIV/AIDS and virtually no use of condoms. Subsequently based on the findings, CEDAR has developed a package of support which addresses the drivers and helpers needs and desires through the provison of a recreational center with TV, indoors games and sanitation facilities. The center has helped CEDAR to develop a strong relationship with the drivers and helpers and provided a venue for disseminating general health information, STD treatment and condoms. CEDAR is also training peer educators and carrying out outreach work through traditional folk dance. CONCLUSION: The present paper is an example of NGO's activities and provide some insight into the facts as to HIV/AIDS/STDs prevention and control program in Bangladesh.























CHAPTER FOUR

Micro-Finance & NGOs in Bangladesh


Introduction and Industry Coverage:
In Bangladesh there are mainly four types of institutions involved in micro-finance activities. These are
1) Grameen Bank (GB), a member owned specialized institution,
2) Around 1500 Non- Governmental Organizations (NGO) like BRAC, Proshika, ASA, BURO-Tangail, BEES, CODEC, SUS, TMSS, Action- Aid etc.
3) Commercial and Specialized banks like Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB), Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) and
4) Government sponsored micro finance projects/ Programs like BRDB, Swanirvar Bangladesh, RD-12 and others which are run through several ministries viz., Ministry of Women & Children Affairs, Ministry of Youth & Sports, and Ministry of Social Welfare etc.

All the programs are targeted at the functionally landless rural poor. All the MFIs provide mostly small, un-collateralized one-year term loans to individuals belonging to jointly liable peer groups, and they use similar on-site loan disbursement and weekly collection methods by forming village organizations or centers.
A research reveals that NGOs started credit program in mid eighties and their activities increased noticeably higher after 1990 (CDF, 2000). With the increasing number of collateral free micro credit disbursement by MFIs, some Nationalized Commercial Banks (NCBs), and Specialized Banks like BKB and RAKUBhave been encouraged to provide a considerable amount of their rural credit to the poor without security. However, the amount is much less compared to the deposit mobilization from the rural sector of the country. Today, some of the Private Commercial Banks (PCBs) have also started direct and linkage programs with NGOs.
The following organizations are the main MC provider in Bangladesh-
• Main providers: BWTP, CARE, CDF, Grameen Bank, INAFI, MFN, World Relief, World Vision, WWB
• Number of active borrowers: 20.5 million
• Average loan per borrower: $114
Source: Microfinance Information Exchange 2010
Micro Credit
Micro-Credit now reaches as many as 37% of all Bangladesh households and around 60% of poor households.
The sector is dominated by :

1) Grameen Bank
2) BRAC Cover 76% of all borrowers
3) ASA
4) Proshika.




Total loan disbursement (cumulative) by these four kinds of institutions till December 2010 was taka 434.55 billion; of which disbursement under Government program was taka 37.77 billion (8.69%), Grameen Bank disbursed taka 154.11 billion (35.46%), other Banks and MF-NGOs disbursed taka 78.41 billion (18%) and taka 164.26 billion (37.80%) respectively (figure-1). Recovery rate of all these organizations excluding formal banks and government sponsored programs stood at 95 percent.







Figure-1: Institution-wise Cumulative Loan Disbursement
All the non-government organizations are involved in micro-finance activity but they are not under the same regulatory authority / monitoring agency. Therefore, there is no single source of information about them. However, Credit and Development Forum (CDF) an NGO who collects information of MF-NGOs reveals that 629 MF-NGOs have mobilized about 13.85 million poor people (11.24% of the total population who are under absolute poverty), among them 11.85 million are female and only 2 million are male. Out of 13.85 million of poor people near about 9 million are outstanding borrowers. About 90% of the borrowers of those MF-NGOs are from rural area and only 10% are from urban area. These MF-NGOs disbursed taka 164.26 billion with outstanding loan amount of taka 25.88 billion. The outstanding amount of micro-finance extended under government program is taka 7.46 billion, the outstanding balance of Grameen Bank is taka 12.73 billion and that of other banks is taka 7.55 billion. Grameen Bank, BRAC, ASA and Proshika are top four MFIs in terms of loan disbursement, outstanding loan and saving mobilization (figure-2). It has been seen that top 4 institutions including Grameen Bank served more than 70% of the market.





Figure-2: Top Four MFIs in terms of Disbursement, Outstanding loan and Savings in billion taka.
Impact of Micro-finance Services on Borrowers and on the Economy
The impact of micro-finance at macro level is not still clear (CPD, Task force Report, 2001), even though it has some impact at micro level on the society both in terms of economy and social value. There are a few studies on this impact assessment of micro-finance, findings of those studies are as follows:
1. The dependency of poor people on the moneylender or richer people has been reduced substantially in the society and people are getting access to institutional sources for credit. Even the formal sectors have been keeping confidence on the poor for lending money, which is a qualitative change in the rural society due to micro-finance intervention.
2. Employment opportunities of the poor have increased to a great extent in terms of both longer working hours and new employment. The targeted households that are eligible for participation in micro-finance programs have a higher probability of being self-employed than their counterparts in non-program villages.
3. The labor force participation rate (LFPR) for more employment opportunity of the participants was found higher than the non-participants. Before nineties the wage rate for women labor force did not get importance because of social backwardness, women labor was sold at a very low non-bargaining rate. This was equally true in case of male labor force before the eighties. But with time passing situations have changed noticeably; it is recognized that there is now a days a serious scarcity of labor in rural areas, especially in the peak season and this shortage even hampers agricultural production. The intervention of micro-finance in the rural market is one of the main reasons for this change. Therefore, the labor force of rural areas now has the ability to influence rural wage rate.
4. As the main target group of micro-finance is women, they have gained a special financial power over men. Though women are dominated by men culturally, their access to get credit and do their own business has increased their confidence on their own ability. This is especially true for the rural poor women of the country. Now more and more rural women move outside their home after joining micro-finance program. They now go to office, banks, market and other places without a male company. This is a positive indicator of women empowerment.
5. There is a controversy about the impact of micro-finance on poverty alleviation. The poverty rate of the country did not decrease significantly in last few years. It did not increase though. The main focus of micro-finance is to alleviate poverty, but it could not reach the poorest of the poor till now. One of the reasons might be the failure to reach the hard-core poor by these programs. Now MF-NGOs are seriously thinking about this issue and have started some programs to solve this problem. But it is a challenging work to do, because this group of the population first needs money for consumption. Without solving these problems they are not able to invest credit for cash flow, which they need to repay the loan in time. Therefore, it has been seen that there are big successes of micro-finance at micro level that do not show any significant impact at macro level. In the recent literature it is often mentioned as the problem of "Macro-Micro Mis-match" To know the real extent and to quantify the impacts of micro-finance mentioned above thorough study is needed, which is time consuming and costly. However, government needs to do that to make a correct decision. There is another problem to assess the real net positive impact of micro-finance program, which is again impossible without assessing the real cost involved in operating this financial service. Different MF-NGOs are charging different interest rates but none is based on rational cost involved. A real positive impact of micro-finance program can be measured if and only if the recipients of this facility pay the full cost of the services they receive.
Regulatory Framework:
Two big provider of micro-finance are Grameen Bank and MF-NGOs. Grameen Bank follows the Grameen Bank Ordinance, 1983 and MF-NGOs register under any of the following acts of the Government of Bangladesh :
. Societies Registration Act of 1860
. Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Control) Ordinance of 1961
. Companies Act of 1994
. NGOs who are accepting grants/donation are required to take a certificate of permission from the NGO affairs Bureau.
There is nothing in the registration act of any NGO/MFIs that prohibits them to undertake micro-finance activities with the member clients. Therefore, there are two types of MF-NGOs operating in the field of micro-finance. One type of them are those who have started their organization with a single objective of micro financing, and the others are NGOs who have other objectives in addition to micro-financing. A large number of NGOs did not start the organizations with a view to perform micro financing activities, but later on they either shifted to or have added micro financing. However, they need formal and legal permission from the Government in the form of a special licence for carrying out the micro-finance activities with the ultimate objective of poverty alleviation. In spite of that, there is no single authority that provides licence/ permission and keep the information of all organizations involved in micro financing.
In this context, many agencies like GOB, donor agencies and policy makers of the country feel that there is a serious need to monitor the activities of MFIs in Bangladesh. Since, members' savings is most important source of fund (near about 25%) of MFIs, which also is increasing as a percentage, therefore, there is a need to protect the interest of small savers. In addition to that, without a formal legal entity the sustainable growth of the NGO-MFIs would be hampered seriously in a number of ways. Among those, the most important is the lack of access to formal sources of national and international fund for effectively carrying out micro-finance program for poverty alleviation on a sustainable basis. Therefore, there is an obvious need for certain form of compatible and user's friendly prudential norms/indicative guidelines in the shape of a concrete code of norms/conduct for making this sector more institutionally organized and sustainable with a specific legal identity.
The Government of Bangladesh has formed a committee named ‘Micro-finance Research and Reference Unit (MRRU)' in 2000, which includes 11 members from different sectors who are involved in this program to formulate a uniform policy for this sector. Ensuring transparency and accountability of MF-NGOs would be the main objectives of this policy. This committee has also given emphasis on observing uniform accounting policy and auditing, governance structure of MFIs, policy on savings and investment, rational interest rate, credit rating etc of the MF-NGOs. The committee is also discussing the issue of licencing to those MF-NGOs who are accepting deposits up to a certain amount from non-members or general public.
Challenges for MF-NGOs and for the Government
The current challenge of MF-NGOs is whether they could run the program without subsidy, because the flow of donor fund is declining over the years. Since the main objective of micro-finance is to alleviate poverty, the question is whether they would be able to charge real cost of service on the recipients. If it charges full cost, what would happen to the other objective of outreaching the poorest of the poor? On the other hand if full cost is not charged, would they be financially sustainable in the long run? And the challenge for the government is to bring this huge unorganized industry under a uniform umbrella where this industry would get proper direction and support to run the business and at the same time serve the people who are the target group in such a way that they would be benefited in the long run and would be able to overcome their financial backwardness. Ultimately these institutions would become autonomous players in the main-stream economy.

Suggested Reforms To Face The Future Challenge:
Since NGO-MFIs have to face the realities of declining subsidized fund, they should take effort to reduce administrative and transaction cost which seems very high. Most of them do not practice proper bookkeeping and accounting policies, lack professionalism in financial transaction, therefore, training and capacity building in accounting and financial management plus greater transparency in their operation is essential not only to make them attractive to the donors but also to enable them to tap commercial markets and banks.

Formal commercial banks lack experience and expertise to operate in this market; they can overcome this problem by linking them with NGO-MFIs who already have a ready set up of operation and experience. This linkage program on one side can reduce operational cost of commercial banks and on the other side can reduce the financial problem of NGO-MFIs. Especially, smaller NGO-MFIs could be encouraged strongly to play the role of brokers between the banks and the borrowers. Here the banks bear the credit risk by lending directly to the borrowers and share a part of its spread with the NGO-MFIs. The NGOs will receive a commission for identifying borrowers and ensuring repayments. Large NGO-MFIs can also be integrated into this program of poverty alleviation by encouraging them to establish themselves as banks.
Present legal framework of formal financial institution can be changed in favor of the rural poor. Under this framework moveable property, accounts receivables, credit history or good previous repayment performance etc. are not useable as security to access credit. But most of the rural poor people have only these things to offer as security. These realistic changes in the legal framework can help poor people to enter into the formal financial market easily.
Therefore micro finance sector will have to develop a concrete long run vision of a flexible, self-sustainable, well-regulated and pro-people micro finance industry capable of facing all these challenges. That means the industry will:
• • Design its product according to the market need - what kind of loan poor people really need and which terms and conditions are applicable to them. They should not just follow Grameen Bank model, rather they should be innovative in product designing,
• Diversify its loan portfolio, not just depending only on the agricultural sector for investment,
• Identify the exact cost involved and find out reasonable service charge for each product offered,
• Apply internationally accepted accounting policy,
• Formulate transparent policy for the stakeholders,
• Acquire a corporate legal identity owned by the clients themselves or focus on a single activity with corresponding single legal identity.
On the other side the government and the donors should try to help the industry to be sustainable by developing infrastructure needed, providing training and technical assistance, providing correct guidelines and regulation, offering proper incentive for positive contribution and punishment for the opposite.
CHAPTER FIVE

Role of NGOs for Woman Development


In Bangladesh, women constitute about half of the total population. Recognizing this fact, Government has changed its development policy. Government has recognized the fact that equal participation of women in the development activities is inevitable to ensure a balanced socio-economic growth and development in the country. Apart from this Government encouraged NGOs and private sectors to undertake steps for the development of women by liberalizing its policy. Therefore, the study has tried to unearth the present condition and activities of NGOs for the development of women in Bangladesh.

A thriving global economy is linked to reduction of poverty. Micro credit loan programs have affected the economies of many developing countries. Many of these loans are funded by non-governmental organizations (NGO) and are made to marginalized groups, such as women. Bangladeshi women face severe challenges due to their economic, social, and cultural positions and the country's physiographic conditions. Bangladesh's physiography renders its economy and people vulnerable, exacerbating the impact of poverty.
Women- A majority of the world's population, receive an insignificant share of development opportunities.They are excluded from education, better jobs, political system and even from adequate health care (Human Development Report 1993).This paper explores issues arising in relations between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and women development . These relations have a long history and are complex. When NGOs co-operate, their joint impact on social and women development events can be quite powerful. Consequently, success or failure in NGOs co-operation will affect the direction and the pace of women development. No discussion of poverty, equality or development today is complete without considering the role of NGOs. Whether in the North or the South, NGOs are a visible, respected and entrenched part of many societies. (Sarah Michael, 2002) Bangladeshi women contribute substantially to their households and to the country's economy. The majority of women workers are primarily involved in the informal sector of the economy. Within the formal sector, a large number of women work in export-oriented industries (e.g., garments), the source of 70 percent of Bangladesh's foreign exchange. A significant number of women also work as teachers, lawyers, journalists, government employees, and for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Their activities, in turn, contribute to the transformation of traditional values and gender roles of Bangladeshi women. There are over 1,000 local and national organizations in Bangladesh that generate self-employ ment opportunities for over 8 million poor, mostly women, through micro credit and training in literacy, technical skills, and legal rights. Civil society, particularly women's organizations, has been a strong force in bringing forward women's issues and interests onto the country's development agenda. Moreover, Bangladesh has more than 18,000 registered NGOs of a diverse nature working on a broad range of development issues (ADB Report 2009).







Women as beneficiaries:

The micro-credit revolution pioneered in Bangladesh has in fact a double innovationbecause women have been consciously targeted as the principal beneficiaries group. Currently over 80% of the Grameen Bank and other credit giving NGOs are women.
A number of NGOs have organized land less group also whom collectively leased Khaslands and dry riverbeds. Some NGOs organize and mobilize fishing communities to protect thefish released into open water. Others promote production of seedling in village-based nurseries toprotect-sal (a local, self regenerating tree) forest.













CHAPTER SIX

Role of NGOs for Education, Health Development



The main NGO services are by and large successfully targeted to poor households.
For instance as the following chart shows almost half the students in NGO primary schools are from the poorest 20% of the population far higher than in other schools.







The impact of these services is also clearly positive, and highly valued by the communities that they serve. For instance micro-credit programs that now reach around 70 percent of poor households, have led to significant improvements in female empowerment and led to greater stability of incomes for the poor. Educational and health outcomes have improved for NGO beneficiaries due to social sector programs. NGO advocacy campaigns have also led to greater awareness, and some progress, on pro-poor issues. Hence the rapid growth of NGO activity over the past decade is a positive development. Moving forward, NGO services will need to be scaled up even further as NGOs can have a critical impact on Bangladesh's PRSP targets.
Education

The Directory has identified the following major trends:

• NGOs in Bangladesh operate various types of education programmes mostly as part of a package addressing poverty and human development issues; however, it has been found that 79.5% has non-formal primary education programme, 35.9% has adult education programme, 28.5% are involved in education for the adolescents, 31.6% in the Post Literacy Continuing Education (PLCE), 16.8% has pre-primary education and only 5.7% had Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programme.

• NGOs are operating a total of 86,029 learning centers, and serving 3,172,573 learners of which nearly 65% are females/girls.

• Nearly 81% of the total staff are full time regular staff while others are part-time. Over 62% of the regular staff and less than 40 percent of the part-time staff are males. In total, almost 58% of the total staff are female and 42% are male.

• Division wise analysis shows that in Dhaka division 52.1% of the NGOs has education programme, 22.1% are based in Chittagong division, 54.1% in Rajshahi, 36.7% in Khulna, 23.1% in Barisal and 3.3% in Sylhet division.

• Annual budget for the education programmes run by the NGOs stands at about Tk. 3297.04 million equivalent of about 55 million US dollar (1 US dollar = 60 Taka). Education budget of 10.6% of the NGOs is below Tk. 0.1 million, it is Tk. 0.1–0.5 million for 48.2% of the NGOs. On the other hand, annual budget of 3.2 percent of the NGOs is more than Tk. 10 million. Analysis has also showed that top 10% of the NGOs has yearly education budget of at least Tk. 3 million each and it is Tk. 5 million for each of the top 5% of the NGOs. Nearly 88% of the total NGO education budget are provided by only 10% of the NGOs. Its interesting to note that the top 5% of the NGOs cover nearly 84% of the total NGO investment in education. About half of the total NGO education budget is spent by BRAC, the largest NGO in Bangladesh alone.




Health

Expenditures by NGOs on health grew significantly since the mid-nineties and they constitute about one-third (33%) of public sector expenditures and less than 10% total health expenditures ( that includes household spending on private care)

The impact of NGO interventions on a range of health and nutritional indicators is striking. Cure rates averaged 85% in the tuberculosis programs malnutrition rates dropped by around 20% among the poor due to the presence of NGOs in the community and neo-natal mortality among NGO clients has been found to be significantly lower.

Education

About 1.5 million children-around 8% of primary enrolment-are in NGO schools (mostly Non-formal Primary Schools).
BRAC receives around three fourths of donor resources of NFPE Program.

















CHAPTER SEVEN
Leading Domestic, International NGOs & Activities in Bangladesh

Domestic NGOs

Following is a sampling of some of the largest homegrown NGO s in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee: It is known as BRAC, is the largest NGO in Bangladesh and one of the largest in the world. BRAC was founded by Mr. Fazel Hasan Abed in 1972 to resettle refugees returning from India after the Pakistan–Bangladesh war. A year later, the organization turned to long-term poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor, especially women. Today, BRAC works in health, education, and microfinance. It is active in 68,408 villages in all 64 districts of Bangladesh. It has 4.8 million group members, 4.2 million borrowers, and 31,000 single room, one-teacher schools. Eighty per cent of BRAC's annual budget of $235 million comes from its own enterprises and 20% from external sources.

Key activities: Economic development; health; education; social development; human rights and legal services.


Proshika was founded in 1976 and has grown to be one of the largest NGO s in the world. The NGO 's name is an acronym of three Bangla words, which stand for training, education, and action. Proshika works in structural poverty alleviation, environmental protection and regeneration, improvement in women's status, increasing people's participation in public institutions,and increasing people's capacity to gain and exercise democratic and human rights. Spread across 23,475 villages and 2,101 urban slums in 57 districts, Proshika now works with about 2.75 million men and women members drawn from rural and urban poor households, and has organized them into 146,798 primary groups.

Key activities: Peoples' organization building; micro credit and savings services; employment and income-generating program; practical skill development training; small enterprise development program; social and natural resource development; human development training; universal
education; good governance and advocacy; social forestry; health program; legal aid; women's development; disaster management


The Grameen Bank is one of the most well-known development success stories in Bangladesh. The organization was founded in 1976 by Professor Muhammed Yunus, head of the rural economics program at the University of Chittagong. There are now more than two dozen organizations within the Grameen family of enterprises, including the replication and research activities of Grameen Trust, handloom enterprises of Grameen Uddog, and fisheries pond management by Grameen Motsho (the Fisheries Foundation).

Key activities: Income-generating loans; housing loans; education loans; struggling member (beggar) loans; micro-enterprise loans; flexible loans; seasonal loans; student scholarships; life insurance; savings programme; deposit pension scheme.



Bangladesh Women's Health Coalition (BWHC), is a national NGO, was established in 1980 with the vision of "Equal

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