DE­VEL­OP­MENT & HU­MAN RIGHTS

While NGOS have played a fun­da­men­tal role in prompt­ing de­vel­op­ment ef­forts in South Asia, there is a need to use self-as­sess­ment mech­a­nisms to gauge the im­pact of their ac­tiv­i­ties.

Southasia - - CONTENTS - By Taha Ke­har

Have South Asian coun­tries found an al­ter­na­tive to po­lit­i­cal struc­tures?

South Asia is a volatile re­gion plagued by cor­rup­tion, so­cial in­equal­ity, ter­ror­ism and po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity. Against this back­drop of un­cer­tainty, the NGO sec­tor has played a fun­da­men­tal role in prompt­ing de­vel­op­ment ef­forts to in­fuse pos­i­tive so­cial change. De­spite the largely fa­vor­able na­ture of these ini­tia­tives, a great deal of crit­i­cism has been lev­elled against the trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity of these or­ga­ni­za­tions. This has sig­nif­i­cantly dented their cred­i­bil­ity and re­sulted in their work be­ing viewed with con­sid­er­able scep­ti­cism.

How­ever, the over­all im­pact of NGOS in South Asia can­not be de­nied. In 2001, UNDP re­ported that there were 35,000 NGOS op­er­at­ing in Pak­istan. The num­ber has in­creased ex­po­nen­tially ever since. Nepal has also wit­nessed a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion geared to­wards pro­mot­ing so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

It is in­trigu­ing to note that NGOS op­er­at­ing in South Asia have off­set the in­ef­fec­tive­ness of the gov­ern­ment in pro­vid­ing bare es­sen­tials, such as ed­u­ca­tion and health­care. Fur­ther­more, the role of NGOS in pre­serv­ing ba­sic hu­man rights can­not be over­looked. As a re­sult, be­fore NGOS can be deemed spe­cious and ir­re­spon­si­ble en­ti­ties, it is im­por­tant to an­a­lyse their role in im­prov­ing liv­ing stan­dards, pre­vent­ing hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions and en­cour­ag­ing the state to pri­ori­tise the so­cial and eco­nomic well-be­ing of

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