World NGO Day 2023: Theme, Significance, History and celebrations
People all throughout the world recognize World NGO Day on February 27 each year. It is an international day intended to honour, acknowledge, and celebrate nonprofit and non-governmental organisations. The day also celebrates the individuals who founded these groups and made significant contributions to society worldwide.
The United Nations declared February 27, 2014, as NGO Day, which has since been enthusiastically observed. The significance, history, celebration, and other significant information about World NGO Day 2023 are all covered in this article.
10M+ NGOs & Nonprofits Worldwide
50M+ NGO & Nonprofit Workers Worldwide
96+ Countries: World NGO Day Is Marked & Celebrated
What exactly is an NGO?
A non-governmental organisation is any nonprofit group that operates without the influence of the government. The phrase was first used in 1945 in Article 71 of the newly created United Nations’ Charter.
NGOs, also referred to as non-profit organisations (NPOs), civil society organisations (CSOs), charitable organisations, membership organisations, charities, or third sector, are significant players in the fields of development, human rights, humanitarian aid, gender equality, the environment, and numerous other areas of public action.
Importance of World NGO Day
The goal of World NGO Day is to raise awareness of all such organisations worldwide, to recognise those who work in this field, and to inspire others to support this worthwhile cause.
On this day each year, supporters and volunteers show their appreciation to those who work for non-governmental organisations. On this day, numerous firms receive honours and significant prizes to push them on to greater productivity.
The history of World NGO Day
On April 27, 2010, the Baltic Sea NGO Forum of the Council of the Baltic Sea States first established World NGO Day. Countries including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Norway, and Sweden are members of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum. Two years later, the forum’s Final Statement Resolution adopted the NGO day.
Yet, it wasn’t until 2014 that the UN, EU leaders, and other international organisations began to formally observe World NGO Day. On February 27, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs sponsored the World NGO Day Global Inaugural event. International NGO Day was originally recognised on February 27 and is now observed in 89 nations worldwide.
Celebrating World NGO Day
On February 27th of each year, supporters and volunteers from all around the world get together to celebrate World NGO Day and honour the goals and contributions of non-governmental organisations.
On this day, the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe hosts a high-level conference across Europe that brings together a range of stakeholders, including members of the Council of Europe Secretariat and representatives of the Civil Society.
You can volunteer for many NGOs as an individual and aid them in their charitable endeavours. You can support these organisations by giving your time, money, or both.
2023 World NGO Day Theme
The theme of the 2023 World NGO Day will be on the role and influence of NGOs in advancing human rights, addressing social and environmental challenges, and achieving sustainable development goals.
The theme might also emphasise the value of helping NGOs build their capacity, acknowledging their function as change agents, and encouraging partnerships and cooperation in order to advance common objectives.
What Functions Do NGOs Play In Indian Democracy?
Bridge The Gap: NGOs work to fill in the gaps in the government’s programmes and connect with populations that are frequently excluded from state-funded initiatives. For instance, helping migrant labourers during the Covid-19 crisis. These NGOs also look into accelerating activities like Issues dealing with poverty alleviation, water, environment, women’s rights and literacy. They have been dynamic in almost all sectors: Health, education, livelihood in rural and urban areas etc.
Role Of An Enabler: Community-level outfits and self-help groups are critical for bringing any change in the ground. In the past, such grass roots organisations have been enabled by collaborations with bigger NGOs and research agencies that have access to foreign funding.
Acting As A Pressure Group: There are political NGOs that mobilise public opinion against government’s policies and actions. To the extent such NGOs are able to educate the public and put pressure on public policy, they act as important pressure groups in a democracy.
Role In Participative Governance: Many civil society initiatives have contributed to some of the path-breaking laws in the country, including the Environmental Protection Act-1986, Right to Education Act-2009, Forests Rights Act-2006 and Right to Information Act-2005, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) Juvenile Justice , Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).
NGOs also partnered with the government to successfully implement major campaigns like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Acting As A Social Mediator: Social inter-mediation is an intervention of different levels of society by various agents to change social and behavioural attitudes within the prevailing social environment for achieving desired results of change in society. In Indian context wherein people are still steeped in superstition, faith, belief and custom, NGOs act as catalysts and create awareness among people.
What problems are caused by NGOs?
Lack Of Credibility: During The Last Few Years, Numerous Organisations Have Mushroomed Which Claim To Work For The Cause Of Helping The Poor. Under The Garb Of Being An Ngo, These Ngos Often Mint Money >From Donors And Are Also Involved In Money Laundering Activities.
Lack Of Transparency: India’s Disproportionate Number Of Ngos And The Sector’s Lack Of Transparency And Accountability Is Clearly An Issue That Needs Reforms. Further The Allegations Of Corruption Against Ngos Are Ignored. In The Past Many Ngos Were Blacklisted After Being Found To Have Indulged In Misappropriation Of Funds.
What Are The Major Obstacles For NGOs?
Lack Of Funds: Many Ngos Find It Difficult To Garner Sufficient And Continuous Funding For Their Work. Gaining Access To Appropriate Donors Is A Major Component Of This Challenge. Earlier, The Union Ministry Of Home Affairs (Mha) Cancelled The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (Fcra), 2010 Registration Of Various Non-Governmental Organisations (Ngos).
Suspension Of Fcra Licence Means That The Ngo Can No Longer Receive Fresh Foreign Funds From Donors Pending A Probe By The Home Ministry. The Fcra Is Mandatory For Associations And Ngos To Receive Foreign Funds.
Absence Of Strategic Planning: Many Ngos Suffer From The Lack Of A Cohesive, Strategic Plan That Would Facilitate Success In Their Activities And Mission, Rendering Them Unable To Effectively Raise And Capitalise On Financial Support.
Poor Governance And Networking: Many Ngos Have A Deficit Of Understanding As To Why They Must Have A Board And How To Set One Up. Poor Or Disorganized Networking Is Another Major Challenge, As It Can Cause Duplicated Efforts, Time Inefficiencies, Conflicting Strategies And An Inability To Learn From Experience.
Many Ngos Do Not Maximise The Use Of Current Technologies That Could Facilitate Better Communication And Networking.
Limited Capacity: Ngos Often Lack The Technical And Organisational Capacity To Implement And Fulfil Their Mission, And Few Are Willing Or Able To Invest In Training For Capacity Building. Weak Capacity Affects Fundraising Ability, Governance, Leadership And Technical Areas.
Development Approaches: Many Ngos Favour A “Hardware” Approach To Development Through Building Infrastructure And Providing Services Instead Of Empowering People And Institutions Locally.
Way Forward: India Is Committed To Sdgs Till 2030 And A Long-Term Strategy Is Important To Keep The Focus While Also Pursuing Sustainable Growth And Development. It Is, However, Important To Note That Success Of A Long-Term Strategy Depends Not Only On The Lessons Learnt From Implementing The Short- Or Medium-Term Development Strategies, But Also Cooperation And Coordination From Various Sectors – The Government, India Inc And Ngos. Capacity Building And Training Can Help To Provide Crucial New Skills.
Ngos Can Then More Readily Train Staff And Cultivate The Necessary Skills Within The Organization To Address Challenges Going Forward. It Is Necessary To Regulate Corrupt Ngos, However Excessive Regulation On Foreign Contribution May Affect Working Of The Ngos Which Are Helpful In Implementing Government Schemes At The Grassroots.