This paper traces the evolution of the MONGO sector In Bangladesh and evaluates Its role In social development. I Introduction The image of Bangladesh has undergone a major transformation from a famine- stricken ‘basket case’ during the early asses, to a flooded plain land in persistent need of food relief till the late asses, to an Innovator in the delivery of services to the poor thereafter. The decade of asses experienced significant changes In the political structure, as well as noticeable improvements in human development and empowerment of women among the rural population.
While nature continues to play havoc and governments often falter, the annual meeting of donors under the umbrella of the Bangladesh Development Forum during May 2004 was unanimous in toting that the economy and society of Bangladesh have attained a high degree of resilience to shocks. Much of the successes are commonly attributed to the actively undertaken by the non-governmental organizations (Noose) In the country. However, the government’s relations with the nongovernmental organizations (often referred to as GO-MONGO relations) are yet to stabilize.
The term ‘MONGO’ encompasses a broad array of organizations, varying in their specific purpose, philosophy, sector expertise and scope of activities. In two important ways the Noose in Bangladesh stand out from the traditional private voluntary organizations (Poss.). First, Noose engage In activities, which had traditionally been In the domain of the government agencies, and It Is the failure of the latter, which prompted donors to route funds through these organizations. Second, Noose are largely participatory in their approach – at least, during the early phase of their development, which enables them to deliver the services to targeted groups of population better than the hierarchically structured government agencies. Normally, Noose are required to register with the department of social welfare, for the purpose of claiming to be a non-profit organization. Beside some, Noose have sought registration with the directorate of women’s affairs, and yet others have registered as a cooperative society.
In some exceptional cases, an MONGO may register itself with the registrar of Joint stock companies as a mentor-profit organization. Since the formation of the MONGO Affairs Bureau (NAB) in 1990, the Noose have to register with the bureau in order to avail of foreign funds. For the purpose of our exercise, we consider as Noose all such organizations, which are outside the direct control of government or semi- government agencies (or, autonomous bodies); and are engaged in providing services (financial or non- uncial) to the community [Patriarchy et al 2000].
In Bangladesh, such organizations first emerged soon after the war of liberation in 1971. For example, Gone Shasta has its root in a mobile medical unit that provided support to the freedom fighters in 1971; ORDERS started its activities by providing postwar rehabilitation services and supporting infrastructure development in the north-west region; and BRACE. Commenced its activities by providing relief and rehabilitation assistance to the community of fishermen in the north-east, who were displaced due to the atrocities during 1971.
In. Entrant with Noose that sprang up to respond to the challenge of devastation after the war of independence, Sanitary Bangladesh (SUB) surfaced in 1975 as an outcome of a national workshop with representatives of numerous local initiatives to increase agricultural production and attain self- sufficiency. Led by a senior government official, SUB played an effective role in embroiling youth in rural areas and small towns to reduce pilferage in the delivery of relief and development services through government channels.
Most of the Noose during the early asses had their origins from outside Bangladesh. Activities of these Noose had a narrow focus, e g, rehabilitating infants and the ‘unwanted’ children of the war in Grammar (There des Homes), providing shelter and protection (Action Aid) to segments of the non-Bengali com immunity, organism relief and rehabilitation activities in the north west immediately after the 1974 famine, etc. An exception was the CUSS – Canadian University Students’ Organization – which had a wider ideological perspective, allegedly rooted in Paulo Firer’s subaltern philosophy.
CUSS closed its activities in 1976 with the conviction that local leadership had developed sufficiently. Thus, PROSAIC was formed as a local MONGO, and several training centers of CUSS were reportedly handed over to BARB. There is wide variation in the functions of different Noose. The identification of ‘MONGO sector’ as a separate entity primarily refers to an institutional space. During early inception years, functional space, where government agencies were substituted, was important. However, with time, functional domains have expanded into areas where there are other actors as well.
Thus, Noose do not anymore refer to a single work (function) space. Instead, it is the participatory nature of their work with Source: Adapted from Coheir and Malign (2004). Communities and ownership structure of the organization, which distinguish them from the government and the traditional private sector. Historical Evolution Due to the absence of registration practices with any one authority, and because more than one kind of organizations may register with the same authority, there is no exact estimate of the number of Noose.
If non-registered societies (such as, clubs and Internal savings Ana Creole collations, many AT wanly may operate Walton ten periphery of a single village), are included, then some guesstimates put the figure in he range of 22,000 to 24,000. However, it is only a small subset of these, whose work style and activities appear to be similar, that are commonly considered as Noose. They are mostly registered, even though there may always be some who are aspiring to get registered. A formal management structure is generally in place. Even if it is on paper and one or a few individuals may exercise exclusive authority in practice.