The Strengths and Limitations of NGOs in Development

The advantages of NGO Aid over Official Development Aid

  1. Generally smaller and thus more responsive to the needs of local communities than the kinds of large scale development projects undertaken in the days of Modernisation Theory.
  1. There is no political agenda as is often the case with government aid, and thus aid is not ‘tied aid’ – it is freely given.
  1. NGOs can provide a more continuous supply of aid compared to governments, which can be effected by elections
  1. NGOs are more likely to help the poorest of the poor, unlike TNCs who will only invest in slightly more developed countries that are more stable because these provide a better prospect for profit.
  1. NGOs provide one of the most critical voices of government aid agendas and provide a broader range of knowledge about life in developing countries compared to Official Aid Agencies

Limitations and Criticisms of Non-Governmental Organisations

  1. NGOs provide a tiny amount of aid compared to Governments and the World Bank – ODA from Britain is around £10 billion a year, total donations to development charities measured in the hundreds of millions. This relative lack of funding means NGOs can only do a limited amount compared to bigger, official aid agencies. NGOs cannot help to bring about Industrialistion or serious economic growth, only help small local communities with social development.
  1. NGOs spend much of their money on glossy advertising campaigns and administration costs rather than helping people in the developing world – a good 25% of money raised is spent on such costs.
  1. A lot of aid campaigns portray images of Africans as starving and helpless in order to generate sympathy and thus donations. This perpetuates the idea of Africa as a helpless continent incapable of helping itself, whereas the opposite is actually true – Africa is full of incredibly creative entrepreneurs.
  1. NGO Aid can often be misguided, doing more harm than good such as with the ‘buy a goat campaign’ or the ‘sponsor a child campaign’.

Related Posts

What are Non Governmental Organisations?

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