TOPICS : Development: Need for a new focus

Government endeavour alone is not sufficient to deal with the socio-economic problems entrenched in our society. The interdependence of government, NGOs and civil society is very important to put into action government developmental plans.

NGOs in Nepal are playing a pivotal role in empowering women, socially and economically disadvantaged groups and have constantly been advocating the welfare and rights of the downtrodden people. The traditional approach sketches a clear picture of NGOs as social organisations dedicated towards the delivery of services to the poor, disabled and socially and economically disadvantaged. In the present context, the main challenge for NGOs is to overcome the socio-economic problems like poverty, inequality and lack of social justice. Ideally, the focus should now shift from ‘welfare approach’ to ‘developmental approach’.

Government cannot carry out every development activity for the lack of resources. Poverty reduction and regionally balanced development are prime objectives of our current Five-Year Plan. In order to meet these, resources of both government and non-governmental sector must be utilised to the maximum and a result-oriented approach must be developed among the implementing partners.

Development initiatives will remain a far-fetched dream if pushed only by the government. That is why the importance of civil society and non-government sector cannot be undermined in the gargantuan task of nation building. Moreover, local level development entirely depends upon collective effort of governmental and non-governmental sector. A clear-cut mechanism is needed for optimal mobilisation of local resources which might be in terms of skills, materials and resources.

Also, if we are to implement people-centred development approach, the role of local government bodies cannot be underestimated. For this purpose, local line agencies and NGOs have to work together. The major problem we are facing is the duplication in working pattern, lack of dissemination of information regarding development activities as initiated by both of these sectors, and imbalanced distribution of means and resources. How can we balance development and mobilisation of resources for overall development and poverty reduction? A proper mechanism should be in place to streamline the efforts of local line agencies, non-governmental sector and other concerned stakeholders.

The only solution to the aforementioned challenges is to keep the public informed about how to coordinate among NGOs and local authorities; disseminate information on how an amicable environment can be created for mutual benefit; devise plans to mainstream local development initiatives of NGOs and government sector within a clear framework. Last but not the least, line agencies and local authorities need to coordinate their efforts and manage the local resources with the help of people-centred development activities.