Types of NGOs: By orientation and level of Operation

NGO types can be understood by their orientation and level of ooperation.
NGO types by orientation:

  • Charitable Orientation often involves a top-down paternalistic effort with little participation by the "beneficiaries". It includes NGOs with activities directed toward meeting the needs of the poor -distribution of food, clothing or medicine; provision of housing, transport, schools etc. Such NGOs may also undertake relief activities during a natural or man-made disaster.

  • Service Orientation includes NGOs with activities such as the provision of health, family pplanning or education services in which the programme is designed by the NGO and people are expected to participate in its impementation and in receiving the service.

  • Participatory Orientation is characterized by self-help projects where local people are involved particularly in the implementation of a project by contributing cash, tools, land, materials, labour etc. In the classical community development project, participation begins with the need definition and continues into the planning and implementation stages. Cooperatives often have a participatory orientation.

  • Empowering Orientation is where the aim is to help poor people develop a clearer understanding of the social, political and economic factors affecting their lives, and to strengthen their awareness of their own potential power to control their lives. Sometimes, these groups develop spontaneously aroud a problem or an issue, at other times outside workers from NGOs play a facilitating role in their development. In any case, there is maximum involvement of the people with NGOs acting as facilitators.

NGO Types by level of operation:

  • Community-based Organizations (CBOs) arise out of people's own initiatives. These can include sports clubs, women's organizations, neighbourhood organizations, religious or educational organizations. There are a large variety of these, some supported by NGOs, national or international NGOs, or bilateral or international agencies, and others independent of outside help. Some are devoted to rising the consciousness of the urban poor or helping them to understand their rights in gaining access to needed services while others are involved in providing such services.

  • Citywide Organizations include organizations such as the Rotary or lion's Club, chambers of commerce andindustry, coalitions of business, ethnic or educational groups and associations of community organizations. Some exist for other purposes, and become involved in helping the poor as one of many activities, while others are created for the specific purpose of helping the poor.

  • National NGOs include organizations such as the Red Cross, YMCAs/YWCAs, professional organizations etc. Some of these have state and cuty branches and assist local NGOs.

  • International NGOs range from secular gencies such as Redda BArna and Save the Children organizations, OXFAM, CARE, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations to religiously motivated groups. Their activities vary from mainly funding local NGOs, institutions and projects, to implementing the projects themselves.
Abstracted from - Cousins William, "Non-Governmental Initiatives" in ADB, The Urban Poor and Basic Infrastructure Services in Asia and the Pacific". Asian Development Bank, Manila, 1991

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Comments and suggestions:
Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org