Definitions of an NGO

"The diversity of NGOs strains any simple definition. They include many groups and institutions that are entirely or largely independent of government and that have primarily humanitarian or cooperative rather than commercial objectives. They are private agencies in industrial countries that support international development; indeginous groups organized regionally or nationally; and member-groups in villages. NGOs include charitable and religious associations that mobilize private funds for development, distribute food and family planning services and promote community organization. They also include independent cooperatives, community associations, water-user societies, women's groups and pastoral associations. Citizen Groups that raise awareness and influence policy are also NGOs"

- World Bank

An NGO is . . .

(notes from the NGO Worshop)
  • A non-profit making, voluntary, service-oriented/development oriented organization, either for the benefit of members (a grassroots organization) or of other members of the population (an agency).

  • It is an organization of private individuals who belive in certain basic social principles and who structure their activities to bring about development to communities that they are servicing.

  • Social development organization assisting in empowerment of people.

  • An organization or group of people working independent of any external control with specific objectives and aims to fulfil tasks that are oriented to bring about desirable change in a given community or area or situation.

  • An independent, democratic, non-setarian peopes organization working for the empowerment of economic and/or socially marginalized groups.

  • An organization not affiliated to political parties, generally engaged in working for aid, development and welfare of the community.

  • Organization committed to the root causes of the problems trying to better the quality of life epecially for the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized in urban and rural areas.

  • Organizations established by and for the community without or with little intervention from the government; they are not only a charity organization, but work on socio-economic-cultural activities.

  • An organization that is flexible and democratic in its organization and attempts to serve the people without profit for itself.

How the World Bank works with Non-Governmental Organizations. The World Bank, 1990


Workshop notes: "NGO Workshop" organized at the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, October 17-21, 1988.

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