Fake NGOs must be exposed

NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisations are critical partners in development because they supplement Government’s efforts in filling some gaps. But it is evident that there are some pretenders in this noble sector.
NGOs’ interests range from national to international issues depending on what they wish to advocate or intervene in.
Some NGOs are sector-based because they operate based on their expertise or passion to ensure that communities are well served.
Others have, for instance, played a major role in pushing for debt cancellation from multilateral and bilateral donors and financial institutions.
With the advent of HIV and AIDS, some NGOs have dedicated their time and energy ensuring that people who are HIV-positive have access to AIDS drugs. Yet others focus on governance issues.
This makes NGOs unique and relevant to communities because they are for public good rather than selfish or individual interests.
Depending on the nature of their activities, some NGOs agree to work together for the good of the people.
For example, a coalition of Zambian civil society organisations last year launched an alliance aimed at helping to reduce maternal, neonatal and child deaths.
This is because in Zambia, one out of 22 children dies before reaching the age of one, and one in every 13 children does not survive their fifth birthday. The maternal mortality rate among women aged 15-49 is 0.74 maternal deaths per 1,000 births, a rate that has fallen by 39 percent since 2007.
The alliance, which was launched in Lusaka on March 31, is a response to ‘A Promise Renewed – Committing to Child Survival’, a global campaign whereby 178 governments as well as thousands of civil society organisations and the private sector have united to give every child the best possible start in life.
In the midst of all these worthy NGOs, however, there are some that do not add any value to society. Some may have vocal leaders but with nothing to show for their claimed value to society. Some are one-person NGOs.
Such NGOs either merely exist on paper or are just rouble-rousers and nothing but conduits for personal gain.
They have no specific agenda but just have nose for money and will jump at anything that promises them a quick buck.
There are also many NGOs in urban areas competing for attention with corporates, yet their services are more desired in the outlying areas of the country.It must be such NGOs that the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Technology has rightly observed are mere money-making ventures.
The committee has observed that some NGOs cook up figures of their purported community service when in actual fact they do nothing.  Member of the committee Sarah Sayifwanda expressed concern that some NGOs do not represent the best interest of the people they claim to serve.
Ms Sayifwanda, who is Zambezi East member of Parliament, said this on Tuesday when Campaign for Female Education (Camfed), an NGO spearheading girls’ education, appeared before the committee. We are happy that Camfed is not there for money because its works are there for all to see.
Camfed is transparent and that is why it can freely interact with the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Technology and lay bare its work.
Such are the NGOs this country needs because they run their affairs transparently.

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