82nd International Atlantic Economic Conference

October 13 - 16, 2016 | Washington, USA

A critical view on the role of NGOs in systemic capacity building

Friday, October 14, 2016: 9:20 AM
Roland Bardy Sr., Ph.D., M.B.A. , Lutgert College of Business, Florida Gulf Coast University, Naples, FL
Philip Awekeya, Ph. D. , Regentropfen College of Applied Sciences, Namoo, Ghana
Development practitioners, scholars and critical observers from both developing and developed countries have noted with concern that aid which aims at providing ad hoc measures can be likened to a pain killer. It only temporarily relieves the situation of the beneficiaries without equipping them sufficiently with the right tools that will enable them to let themselves off the hooks of dependency. The concern also relates to the proliferation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which is growing, above all, in Africa and, especially in Ghana. The paper studies the three reasons for the fast growing number of NGOs: Firstly, many donor communities have lost faith in the poor performance of governments in the utilization of donor funds and thus are transferring the bulk of their resources through NGOs. A second argument is that NGOs are meant to have the expertise and the appropriate know-how to deliver quality services. Thirdly, NGOs are also noted as good agents for promoting democracy, resolution of inter-ethnic conflicts and promotion of peace.  

The paper takes the example of Northern Ghana with its inadequate provision of basic social infrastructure for exploring the ability of NGOs to provide effective capacity building. It analyzes if NGOs have sufficient understanding and knowledge for operations and if their philosophy and objectives are enough to enable judgment and lasting successes. Weaknesses and strengths of NGOs are investigated as they still are indispensable organizations for developing backward areas, especially for fostering sustainable rural community development. But they need to forge a closer link between and among themselves on the one hand, and government ministries and development agencies on the other hand in order to ensure that their assistance projects build capacities and enhance capabilities for achieving lasting impacts.