Govt vs NGOs: Recognising good work

Published: November 18, 2010

They may not be ideal players in the field, but at least NGOs make an effort to reach out to the poor in some way or the other.

As most of us move on with our lives, the struggle for our country’s IDPs is far from over.

With pressing issues such as which of the Muslim leagues (N or Q) are more loyal towards the incumbent government, our media has conveniently deemed the floods non-newsworthy. And the government’s attitude is no better.

However, it is the non-governmental organisations (NGO) of our country that need to be lauded for their consistent efforts to reach out to the IDPs and provide them the support and counselling they require.

Recently, the head of Indus Resource Centre shared how a simple statement by an elderly woman in one of the camps in Shikarpur made all their effort seem worthwhile.

The woman acknowledged the NGO’s support over the past two months, saying that she “will not forget the love and respect they gave her family.”

Before any of you accuse me of ‘promoting’ the NGO, I’d like to clarify that the only point I’m trying to make here is that we, as journalists, need to acknowledge the work of NGOs instead of avoiding them like the plague. Most reporters refrain from mentioning the name of an NGO doing a commendable job because they fear the story would immediately be termed ‘promotional’. Or worse still, he/she would be tagged as an “NGO-type reporter”. What does that mean, anyway?

So there are several theories that non-profit organisations usually all have a ‘hidden’ agenda (don’t our politicians have one too?); they are corrupt and a major portion of their funds is wasted on administration (really? what about the major chunk of our budget that goes into the salaries of bureaucrats who are paid to create hurdles – rather than help – citizens?)

They may not be ideal players in the field, but at least NGOs make an effort to reach out to the poor in some way or the other.

If we are bent upon highlighting how they misuse their donors’ funds, why don’t we react similarly when our public officials fail to adhere to austerity measures? Yet their statements carry more weight in our press, while the success of a development project by an NGO receives the ‘inside-page’ treatment. It’s a sad state of affairs, indeed.


Aroosa Khan

A Karachi based reporter at The Express Tribune who focuses on human rights and social issues.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.