Enhancing NGO Activities

Gather information on the issue

  • What exactly is the problem?
  • What is causing the problem?
  • Who are the persons/organisations responsible (for e.g. it could be a particular department of the government/an industry)?
  • What are the consequences going to be? Assess magnitude, quality and prevalence.
  • What are the alternatives/possible solutions?
  • Talk to others in the community to hear different views that will enable you to form your own holistic opinion.
  • Talk to people who are in-charge and hear their side of the issue. Tell them about the problems that you see.
  • You may be able to work towards solving problems together if you do not see yourself as hostile parties.

Connect with people to increase awareness

  • Discuss the issue with friends.
  • Approach people from house-to-house.
  • Ask older, influential or respected people to address public gatherings.
  • Use the media (local newspapers, radio, television and the internet) to generate interest, communicate the facts and discuss options.
  • Write polite, succinct letters that drive a point home without rambling.
  • Organise signature campaigns or melas.
  • Visit politicians who are involved with the issue.
  • Interact with people from diverse backgrounds, so that your organisation is not linked with any particular political party or religious sect.

Where do I get the money for such activities?

  • Irrespective of the scale of activities, you're going to need the money. But that needn't stop you from taking the step ahead.
  • You may charge a standard membership fee so you can pool resources.
  • You may consider local fund-raising activities.
  • Let people know why you need the funds and how they will be used. Transparent and detailed accounts are imperative to build trust.

Follow-up and Moving On

  • Follow-up on any complaints you've made with the local administration.
  • Use the law. Often a court order may be best way to apply pressure, especially when there is urgency to stop an activity.
  • Link up with other NGOs/supportive groups.
  • Remember, "Yours is the earth and everything that's in itE Treat it as you would 'yours', with responsibility and commitment.

You CAN make a difference.

Source: The Santuary Asia Magazine

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