20th century transferred the number of issues to its successor with regard to social sector. Perhaps among those most discussion able and dispersing one is “The Role of NGO, s in the Development” particularly with regard to third world having mushroom growth largely depending upon the contribution made by the socially developed countries, which on its turn also exalted a number of issues lying under the generous contribution made, by the developed world.

But as far as our concern, the presentation contains in itself the evolutionary development of the concept both theoretically and practically emerging the various types of NGOs i.e. charitable organizations, national organizations, community organization boards and international NGOs etc. The objectives of these NGOs as relief welfare, community development, sustainable system and people’s participation are also considered in this work. The role of NGOs which are common for almost all the Ngo, s with regard to development in different fields as in education, health, women welfare etc are mostly sponsored by international NGOs. NGOs also contribute their due share in the development sector of Pakistan and the facts about their activities funds and utilization of funds is also considered in this presentation. The NGOs are also working in rural areas of Pakistan and their programs in these areas are also under the consideration of our paper. so, all the presentation will provide the knowledge and basic facts about the role of NGOs in development both at national and international level, their types, work ability and objectives and some fact about their weaknesses.

The term NGO seems to be deceptively simple. It may overlook the enormous variety and differential capabilities of different NGOs.In fact, NGOs offer a kaleidoscopic collection of organizations varying in origin, size, programmes, ideology, role strategy, funding, linkages evaluation, problem etc. NGOs embrace a bewildering group of organizations varying in terms of innumerable parameters. No standard definition can include all organizations working at present under the title of NGO, originally voluntarism was a doctrine which held that the will is dominant factor or it is a principle relying on one’s own free will for an action. The definition of NGOs vary as:

  1. According to Asian Development Bank the term non-governmental organization refers to organization
  • Not based in government.
  • Not created to earn profit.
  1. United Nations defines it “NGOs are private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interest of poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services or undertake community development”

Although NGOs have recently emerged into the development limelight but they are not a recent phenomenon. They were the earliest form of human organizations. Long before the governments, people organized themselves into group for mutual protection and self help.

First, there were farmer’s organizations as in Japan in 1868; such organizations played a vital role in agricultural movement. Traditional self-help associations have also a long history in Africa and Asia.

During the 18th and 17th centuries in particular there has been an explosion in the number of NGOs and an upsurge for the realistic answers to problem over a king of neglected issues related to ecological degradation, rights of people and other common property resources appropriate technologies, health, safety, gender and equity.

The institutional forms to such organizations can be traced back in late 19th and early 20th centuries particularly in west world where the history of social organizations seems to have been largely influenced by “laissez fair” movement based on a more planned way.

NEW TRENDS IN NGOS ACTIVITY (people participation)
New trends emerge in NGOs activities from 1950 to 1960 when it start to work in field of development. Similarly, the concept of people’s participation does not have a long history. It reflects partly the failure of the” trickle down” model of economic development advocated after World War II .In 1980,s NGOs become a major phenomenon in the field of development. Tvedt analyzed NGOs “as an outcome of complicated processes where factors like international ideological trends, donor policies and agenda interacts with national historical and cultural conditions in a complex way. On the whole these organizations are commanding growing attention as possible alternative to government in addressing the needs of vast of population.So,we can summarize NGOs development in three stages.

  • Social and cultural in early stage.
  • Community services and development in intermediate stage.
  • More recently target oriented activist groups.

There is none the less a single answer to question why NGOs are formed? How they are given meaning and how they operate? One cannot perceive NGOs as entities but we have taken into account the notion of multiple relation. The entry of NGOs in the field of development process thus represents important response to the need resulted due to the overburdened government, the hesitant private sector and underutilized people power. These are appeared to compose of overlapping social networks.

The development experience of 1970s and 1980s have raised more and more critical concerning as growing awareness about the widening gap between very few rich and the vast majority of poor in developing countries. This has also given a momentum to search for a more adequate and appropriate strategy for improving conditions. So, strategies constitute basic elements of the development of a number of NGOs throughout the world, which get people’s participation. recent, global transformations and the search to a variable new option for supporting grass-root development presently provide quite significant opportunities for a rapid development of NGOs in the decade of 1980s in following consideration:

  1. Growing interest among donors and national governments in strengthening the development roles of institution outside the public sector.
  2. The demonstrated capacity of some non-governmental organizations to reach the poor more effectively than public agencies.
  3. A sharp decline in public development resources, necessating a search by government for more cost affective alternatives to conventional public services and development programs.
  4. Ability to carry out programme on national scale and influence national policies and agencies.

Today, the NGOs address every conceivable issue and they operate virtually in every part of the globe. Though international NGOs activity has grown steadily, most NGOs operate within a country and frequently they function properly. According to one estimate some 25000 NGOs now qualify as international NGOs up from less than 400 a century ago.

NGOs play a critical role in all areas of development. People and policy makers are agree on one thing that NGOs play a very important role in development. Role of NGOs vary over the years as the policy of government changes. NGOs are almost dependent on polices of government.
Socio economic development is a shared responsibility of both i.e. government and NGOs. Role of NGOs are complementary but vary according to polices of government.

If we closely pursue the voluminous literature on NGOs many roles can be found according to the expectations of people.
The major development roles ascribed to NGOs are to act as:

  • Planner and implementer of development programmers,
  • Mobiliser of local resources and initiative,
  • Catalyst, enabler and innovator,
  • Builder of self reliant sustainable society,
  • Mediator of people and government,
  • Supporter and partner of government programme in activating delivery system implementing rural development programmes, etc.,
  • Agents of information,
  • Factor of improvement of the poor, and
  • Facilitator of development education, training, professionalisation, etc.

Basically NGOs role is to prepare people for change. They empower the people to overcome psychological problem and opposition of oppress. Its role cannot be denied.

NGO is one of the alternatives available among various development organizations and one of the inputs among technical, financial and other resources, major merits of NGOs are emerging from their limited scale of operation; the sporadic efforts of NGOs can be consolidated and made more effective. Still the primary role of NGO is at the local level as mobilizes of people and their resources for an indigenous self-sustainable development. And at this level it can be a pioneer, mediator power broker, catalyst and has many other roles. NGOs and their long lomerations also are very in playing their role as advocates in policy issues beyond local level-national or even international level. Proper assessment of expected an actual roles of NGOs enable us to make them an effective alternative in the development process. However, small and sporadic NGOs are, they are valued in a pluralist society as an alternative approach to conventional system of attaining human well being and as such NGOs have a pivotal role to play in any society especially where institutions are alienated and development is dehumanized.

An Ngo is nowadays not expected to deliver directly some benefits to people, but to motivate people, mobilize resources, initiate leadership, and participate in development programmes for self reliance. An NGO is only an enabler and as and when a society is made self reliant, role of NGO is shifted to another place where NGO service is required. But NGO works in relief and delivery of public goods as direct suppliers and majority of the development NGOs are also involved directly in productive activities. The roles of NGOs an enabler or catalyst for self reliant society and as supplier or implementer is relevant where bureaucracy is indifferent or inefficient, programs lack flexibility and cost effectiveness poor are ignorant, elite are ambitious, successes and services are pre conditions for motivation etc.


  1. Relief and welfare
  2. Community development
  3. Sustainable system
  4. Peoples movement.

Types of NGOs can be understand by their level of orientation and level of cooperation .

  1. Types of NGOs by the level of orientation.
    It has further types as under,
  1. Charitable orientation.
    It often involves a paternalistic effort with little participation by ’’beneficiaries’’. It includes the ngo,s which directed the people towards meeting the needs of poor and help them by gaining them food, clothing,medicine,provision of housing etc.such ngo,s may also undertake relief activities during natural or man made herds.
  2. Service orientation.
    It includes with ngo,s with activities such as the provision of health, family planning or education services. in which the program is designed by the ngo,s and people are expected to participate in its implementation and in receiving the services.
  3. Participatory orientation.
    It is characterized by self-help projects where local people are involved particularly for example in the implementation of a project in any village by contributing,cash,tools,land,materials and labor etc. this type is basically cooperation based and on limited scale.
  4. Empowering orientation.
    The aim of these NGOs are to help poor people an d develop a clear understanding of the social, political and economic factors which are effecting their lives, and aware them how can they solve their problem by using their resources and purpose to mobilize the people or self mobilization. In any case there is maximum involvement of the people with NGOs acting as a facilitators.
  1. Types of NGOs by the level of operation.
    It has further types which are as following.
  1. Community based organization(CBOs)
    When people start feelings that what are their needs and how can they fulfill them. These NGO,s arise out of people’s own initiatives. These can includes sports clubs women organizations neighborhood organizations, religious and educational organizations. Some supported by NGO,s ,national and international NGO,s and other independent outside help. Some are devoted to raising the consciousness of urban poor or helping them to understand their rights in gaining access to needed services while others are involved in providing such services.
  2. Citywide organizations.
    These NGO,s are organized for some major or personal purpose. For example cambers of commerce and industry,coaliation of business, educational group. 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.
  3. National NGOs.
    It includes organizations such as the Red cross,YMWCAs,YWCAs,professional organizations etc.Some of these have state branches and assist local NGOs.
  4. International NGOs.
    These range from secular agencies such as REDDA BARNA and save the children organisation,CARE,UNDP,UNICEF. Their activities vary from mainly funding local NGOs institutions and projects and implementing the projects themselves.

In Sub-continent NGOs culture took shape in the form of GhandiAshram Banaras in 1927.this venture created to provide jobs for natives in the days of British Raj.Diyal Sigh trust is an example of the time but these efforts could not become a social norm due to a highly centralized bureaucratic governance. As it is not a new phenomenon for Sub-continent. it emerged during the colonial period when religious, linguistic and ethic communities felt their cultural, religious and social identity threatened. Renouncing politics they concentrated on religious, cultural and social assertion.

To control these associations, the colonial authorities introduced the system of registration under the act of co-operative socities.each society was required to give constitution and by laws and maintain financial accounts. The major purpose of theses organizations was to open educational, institutions, help the poor and destitute and improve the condition of women. Such welfare, charitable and educational organizations produced a breed of social workers who devote their lives to social work. They were sincere and concerned with the welfare of their community. These community based organizations also created a since of competition among each other which resulted in positive development. The great contribution of old NGOs was that they preserved cultural, social and religious values and in resistance to colonial states started movements which lead to positive struggle in the field of development.

Unfortunately, in Pakistan these NGOs cannot work properly due to political weakness’ till 1958.so, under these circumstances in 70s new type of NGOs emerge which were quite different from old ones. The only thing common in old ones and new NGOs is that both came into being into response of state weaknesses. But in the absence of well-defined policy for NGOs, there is no moral considerations practiced by the people who have monopolized this vital sector. On one hand they serve as an employment exchange for kith and kin of the privileged and on other hand they are a symbol of prestige for the selected few that know the art of preparing proposals and report written in the bureaucratic lexicon.

NGOs claim that there only task is to create social awareness but when people fell that NGOs are not helping them concretely, they lose interest and merely social awareness is of no use to them. Some of the clever participants turn this opportunity to their own favors by manipulating different NGOs to get funds in the name of social work. They know that projects are foreign funded and there is no commitment and sincerity behind it.

Most NGOs have more or less become family business making big profit .if you are a good pretender you can generate huge funds. As it is discussed above that Ngos receive funds from broad but nobody knows where and how these funds are utilized. So, people don’t trust NGOs foe help as they consider them as fraud.

In Pakistan NGOs are functioning in different sectors like health, education, women welfare, child welfare. Drug abuse, women development etc. many international NGOs are working at national level in Pakistan.

HEALTH AND NUTRITION DEVELOPMENT SOEITY established in 1979 works on health, provision of proper nutrition, formal education.

Established in 1967 is concerned with health, education.

Established in 1989 is the health, education and literacy project.

Is the patient welfare association and was established in 1979.

PAKISTAN NORCATICS CONTROL BORD AND NORCOTICS CONTROL DIVISION is two main agencies working to control drug abuse. They aimed at policing
crop substitution and law enforcement.

Besides these there are so many NGOs working in different areas. Basically their aim is to work for the welfare of people.

The areas of service which may be entrusted to the NGOs to achieve sustainable development in rural areas are

  • Agriculture and related land development
  • Irrigation system
  • Agricultural extension education
  • Employment generation ¬_ skill development through training
  • Health and family welfare_ family planning propaganda, motivation, research and training, rural health centers, dispensaries etc.

Singh Kumar Ravi, Role of NGOs in Developing Countries, 2003,Deep and Deep publishers New Dehli, India.
Edward Michael and flower “Introduction: Changing challenges for NGDOs management” The earthscan readerson NGOs Management, 2002,edited by Michael Edward and Alan Flower, London.

Top Contributors

Mehran Ali

University Of Management And Technology Umt Lahore

249 Articles


171 Articles


79 Articles

M Abid Ayub

Punjab University PU Lahore

57 Articles

Jawairia Chaudary

Punjab University College Of Information Technology Lahore

56 Articles


Allama Iqbal Open University Aiou Islamabad

55 Articles


Share your comments questions here
Sort By:

Sign in

to continue to ilmkidunya.com


Free Admission Advice

Fill the form. Our admission consultants will call you with admission options.

Most Popular Articles

Role of media in Pakistan
  • Date: 12/May/2012
  • Category: Education
14 August , Independence Day of Pakistan
  • Date: 13/Aug/2014
  • Category: Education
Students' problems in Pakistan
  • Date: 15/May/2012
  • Category: Education
Best and Correct Key Book Math’s Class 9 (PTB)
  • Date: 17/Feb/2016
  • Category: Education
The Great Blessings of the Holy Month of Ramadan
  • Date: 10/Jul/2012
  • Category: Education
Allama Iqbal and Ideology of Pakistan
  • Date: 02/Nov/2015
  • Category: Education
Punjab Education Ministry Announces The Matric And Inter Final Result Schedules For All Boards Of Education
  • Date: 23/Sep/2021
  • Category: Education
Major Problems Facing Pakistan Today
  • Date: 28/Oct/2014
  • Category: Education