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Development, NGOs, and Civil Society by Eade & Pearce Coursework

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Updated: May 28th, 2022

Introduction

Non-government organizations (NGOs) have expanded their roles over the years. The initial concept of NGOs was supported by arguments claiming governments’ inability to provide services to individuals. The existence of NGOs balances the equation and ensures equity in the distribution of wealth. Moreover, NGOs are instrumental in bridging the gap between governments and the public. One notable achievement that most NGOs can boast is their capacity to perform governmental functions and duties.

There are several pieces of literature focused on discussing the role of NGOs in the current society. These scholarly findings highlight the relevance of NGOs. In addition, the literature tackles the negative aspects of NGOs which are critical in promoting such organizations. Among the readings on NGOs, the works of Eade and Pearce (2000) appear to be compelling. The book is centered on the evolution of NGOs as contributors to modern society. A critique of the stated literature will be included in the proceeding discussions.

Summary

There have been misconceptions embedded in the existence of NGOs and another similar groups. Most observers maintain that NGOs are needed because of the imbalanced developments. The emergence of poverty as a global issue has placed NGOs at the center stage. But these groups are also hounded by controversies. Some individuals accuse NGOs of being partisan and corrupt. In addition, NGOs are more concerned with funding instead of devising methods to deliver services within their scope of operations.

Specific details on global poverty have been mostly shelved. The figures show that poverty has worsened. The bigger problem is that individuals classified as poor are unaware of their predicament. Although NGOs have defined roles to reduce poverty incidence, their performance has been often pushed to scrutiny. The author suggests a thorough assessment related to the existence of NGOs. It is proper to allocate attention to determine the future of NGOs in society. It is important to allow the performance of NGOs to justify their presence.

NGOs and Neo-Liberalism

The author started the discussion by highlighting conferences initiated to illustrate the role of NGOs in development. In the 1992 Conference, the issue of NGO credibility was raised. Most NGOs have struggled to establish their groups as respectable entities. Moreover, NGOs have strongly stated the necessity of donations coming from international and local patrons. One critical observation made was that NGOs have become more focused on fundraising. In addition, donations are attached with unreasonable favors.

Amidst the contributions provided by NGOs, there are several criticisms aimed at discrediting their relevance. Before moving to the negative aspects, it is important to note that there are some NGOs that have succeeded in making a difference in society. On the other hand, NGOs are viewed as insufficient when it comes to addressing technical issues. Moreover, NGOs have no role in accountability and promote excessive politicking. This shady character has led to problems mostly on acquiring funds from donors. As evidence, UNDP stated that poverty has worsened despite the presence of NGOs.

The initial perception of NGOs is that the members are mostly volunteers. But there are instances wherein NGO leaders are paid high salaries. Offices occupied by NGOs are mostly air-conditioned and well furnished. There have been studies suggesting for NGOs to stick to their history. Some NGOs have deviated from their role of alleviating poverty. Instead, the focus of NGOs was pegged at donations and financial stability. NGOs must enhance their technical characteristics to remain credible.

NGO Collaboration

NGOs are divided into the international segment and the local segment. The relationship between foreign and domestic NGOs is defined by scope and funding. In most situations, international NGOs serve as the financial backers of local NGOs. Most foreign NGOs provide direct funding which is important in making local NGOs more independent. But there are foreign NGOs that are against the idea of directly financing local NGOs. Several reasons can justify this action. But the most glaring observation is that international NGOs are worried about their future once local NGOs take the helm.

For international NGOs to continue their support, local NGOs have to address some vital issues. Most local NGOs are more concerned with their accountability to their donors instead of their accountability to the society being served. NGOs cannot implement internal changes using prescribed processes. It is also important for NGOs to be protected from intrusions made by donors. Moreover, NGOs within a segment need to refrain from competing and focus more on policy and program enhancement.

To further improve the future of NGOs, the author suggested empowering local NGOs. This is a challenge that requires collaboration and support. In South America, for instance, NGOs have continued to exist despite the decrease in budget. The current problems of NGOs extend beyond funding and competition. The most pressing concern is that NGOs are moving away from their basis of existence. Aside from international NGOs, there are other options for funding that can be explored. Local corporations can provide some aid through their corporate social responsibility programs.

NGOs and the State

The author also emphasized the importance of the government in promoting NGOs. There is evidence showing the strong influence of public figures in their organizations. Since NGOs need funding, the government serves as a primary source of financial support. There are instances when political leaders use NGOs for their intentions. In some countries, NGOs serve as campaign vehicles when political leaders seek to extend their office terms. When this happens, the goals of NGOs are compromised.

The role of NGOs in a government is critical. NGOs serve as the other entity that provided services to constituents. There are some social problems that governments fail to resolve. Funding is the primary reason for such predicament. Technical incapacity is also viewed as a barrier for government to deliver the services needed by individuals. NGOs occupy a niche in society. This scope has to be expanded to make NGOs more relevant. As a government extension, NGOs can make governments stronger.

There are debates whether NGOs are better off in stronger states than in weaker states. Strong states mean more funding and defined responsibilities for NGOs. In addition, NGOs become more credible being part of a strong society. In this situation, however, the role of NGOs is limited. Unlike in a weak state, NGOs are highly influential. Other groups can argue that weak states provide less financial support. But the existence of these NGOs in weak states is important. In addition, NGOs become less vulnerable to threat and intrusion. Critics still maintain that balance is the best option.

Critique

As a general observation, the book was emphasizing the role of NGOs in future society. Although most of the discussions appear to be negative, these are important realities that must be addressed. In its entirety, the book provides a masterful depiction of Ngo’s current state. Most observers are keener on the growth of their groups. But it is hard to argue that there is internal decay in these organizations. The author touched on some important subjects that are mostly ignored by readers. These aspects extend beyond the requirements of financing and contribution.

The authors were successful in making the debates comprehensible. Some books dwell on the technical aspects causing disorientation among the readers. The authors have to be commended for their attempt in making a complex story simple. This is hard because scholarly discussions have to be included. But there are some aspects of the book that still warrants changes and further enhancements.

The critique process is divided into three main segments. The first part deals with the evidence presented in the book. The book is indeed packed with facts and figures. The second part is concerned with the presentation of the subjects. There are areas where the book provided a clear picture and also aspects where the elements were unclear. The final phase of the critique focuses on the impact of the book. The strengths and weaknesses of these aspects will be provided. The critique will also include suggestions on improving the contents of the book.

Empirical Evidence

Perhaps this is the strength of the book. It is packed with facts and figures that make arguments more convincing. The use of statistics is impressive. Numbers are keys to making normal readers understand the bigger picture. The authors also added experiences in the discussion. Aside from figures, the actual events are credible evidence. The book also made extensive use of literature and past studies. Indeed there is balance in the proofs presented by the book. This is important in delivering the message to the readers.

Although the evidence presented is the strongest part of the book, some areas can push some inquiry. The books mostly discussed the finances of NGOs. But there are no clear numbers as to the amount of the funds being discussed. Moreover, the examples provided are mostly focused on regions where NGOs mostly exist. There are also parts of the world where NGOs are present but lack mainstream coverage. Despite the balance in evidence, there is still room for improvement.

Three important elements can be added to the book. The actual capital requirements of NGOs are important to some readers. As stated, the numbers on this matter will strengthen the discussion. In addition, the book needs to include some NGO events that are mostly ignored by the media. These are important occasions that test the relationship formed by NGOs with their peers and donor. Moreover, the book can augment the evidence with survey results from individuals benefiting from NGOs. The pulse of the public is a gauge in measuring the effectiveness of NGOs.

Presentation

The book is organized. The flow of discussion is divided into three segments. The authors highlighted the evolution of NGOs as individual entities. This was partnered with new ideas and socio-economic perspectives. The second part focused on the relationship of NGOs. This is critical because the future of NGOs is dependent on the relationships formed. The final part of the presentation dwelled on the role of the state in promoting NGO growth. In most situations, the state must develop the niche where NGOs operate.

But there are some loopholes that need to be checked. These flaws, however, are minor. The book obviously lacked focus on the role of the public in building NGOs. The presentation needs to tackle the important beneficiaries of NGOs. The other loophole in the presentation is seen in the manner in which subjects were discussed. There was no specific structure that describes the flow of discussion and explanation.

There are possible ways to further strengthen of discussion. The inductive method of discussion can be used. This scheme allows the authors to shift from general to specific ideas. Most important, it will add order and make the concepts more organized. The flow of discussion is vital in depicting the goal of the book. Without the order of discussion, readers will a hard time understanding the arguments being presented. Since the book is well made, the presentation is often ignored. Although the flows are minimal, the need for changes in the flow of presentation is imperative.

Impact

The book attempted to draw a picture showing the future of NGOs. This technique was effective because NGOs there are misconceptions on the role of these organizations. Most literatures measure the performance of NGOs. Others have tried to weight the impact of NGOs in the society. The book’s approach is different and monumental. Although NGOs are established entities, there are questions regarding the future of these organizations. The book provided a preview of events that can change public perception on NGOs.

There are some arguments stating that focus on NGOs in the future is preemptive. Given the uncertainties, it is difficult to gauge the value of this book as future reference. Most literatures were bold in highlighting the past of NGOs. This is valuable to the present state of these organizations. Instead of putting emphasis in the future, the book can become more appealing when balancing the three eras. The past has to be accorded with proper respect. The present needs to be documented to support the future.

The book has become a breakthrough because it was different. The authors were critical and supported their ideas with evidences. In addition, it is difficult to ignore the arguments presented in the book. These are sufficient to make the book a good read and relevant reference. But other individuals have different opinions. There are some observers who value the positive essence of subjects. Moreover, NGOs have to be presented through their developments including the ups and down. The book never failed to make a mark, but further improvements will make it more compelling.

Conclusion

The most important point that the book promotes is the future of NGOs. This issue is mostly ignored because NGOs have already established marks in the society. NGOs are part of the current flow where the entities of society operate. The book made use of evidences including figures and past events. These are vital in supporting the arguments plotted through the course of discussion. The authors focused on the elements that will detriment future growth of NGOs. Most of these issues, however, are overshadowed by the funding problems that most NGOs face.

The authors were good that organizing the ideas. The discussion was structured and catered to the goals of the book. NGOs were emphasized in every aspect imaginable. It is undeniable that the book has made it mark to the readers. There are some loopholes that can easily be adjusted. There are also changes that are important to make the book more compelling. Overall, the book was a fine read and deserves thumbs up.

Reference

Deborah Eade with Jenny Pearce, Development, NGOs, and Civil Society. London: Oxfam, 2000.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Development, NGOs, and Civil Society by Eade & Pearce'. 28 May.

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