Civil society organizations [Archives:2005/890/Viewpoint]

October 31 2005

Since the early nineties, the civil society movement or so is termed has seen a significant rise in both number and activities. Today, there are more than 4700 civil society organizations of different specialties registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs. This is a huge number considering the short history of such a movement and low capacity of this country, apparently, almost half of these organizations are active while less than 10% of them have an actual impact on the society.

Unfortunately, many of these organizations have been used as means for attracting donor support for personal gain and not for the community interest. During my work as an activist I have come across numerous local organizations and have realized that their actual connection with and hence representation of the communities is non-existent. Many civil societies speak on behalf of the people and play the guardian role only as an attempt to attract donor support, without excreting the least of an effort to take part in the development of the society of live up to their themes and their claims.

The right to represent the people is not gained on the bases of how many times the community or word charity is mentioned in the organization's title or mission statement. It is rather an award given by the people to the civil society organization after over years of hard work in community service.

A True civil society movement is a prime contributor in development process; in Theory, civil society organizations have the authority to question the government and its accountability to the people. Any organization has the right to even take the government to the court of law and question its policies in order to protect the people's interest and the common good. Without the credibility granted by the people the civil society organization is nothing more than a private business founded on unethical grounds.