Integrating NGOs and Governmental Action

Integrating NGO activities and government action essentially involves the "sclaing up" of innovative approaches. Some of the key problems include:
The input of financial and hman resources in pilot projects is often too high to be widely replicable within existing resources. Any single standard package may not have enough flexibility to be adapted to a wide variety of specific local institutions and cultural contexts. Often voluntary organizations have initiated projects with no involvement or low involvement of government; thus they have not had to deal with the real-life constraints of government bureaucracy, and therefore, have less credibility. Sometimes there is not enough community involvement in all the stages to assure appropriateness, cost-effectiveness, coverage,a nd continuity. Sometimes the innovative are in too much of a hurry to establish a large program and to go to scale nationally. Government officials are often skeptical or suspicious of voluntary agencies.

Key issues in Scaling Up:

  1. Getting the attention of policymakers and convincing then of the isefulness, practicality, affordability and replicability of the approach.

  2. Scaling up calls for a different kind of managerial capacity which will be less personal and informal at the top.

  3. Selection and maintenance of staff with requisite attitudes, skills and motivation.

  4. Training a sufficiently large cadre of field workers and project officers for participatory projects.

  5. Maintenance of an emphasis on participatory process, rather than the result alone.

  6. Maintenance of accountability to the people at the grass roots by alllevels of planners and administrators.

Modalities of scaling up:

Three ways of scaling up can be identified:

  1. An NGO project is absorbed by the government and becomes an integral part of and helps transform government programmes/projects.
  2. A cellular multiplication process, where, based on a service model, the government agrees with selected NGOs on the functional roles they will play.
  3. . . .

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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