Author:
Cynthia CTT2025
Subject:
Applied Science, Environmental Science, World Cultures, Environmental Studies, Maritime Science, Higher Education, World History, Ecology, Physical Science, Oceanography
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Interactive, Lesson, Module
Level:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division, Graduate / Professional, Adult Education
Tags:
  • Grass Roots Organizations
  • Introduction to Non-Government Organizations ( NGOs)
  • NGOs
  • Non Government Organizations
  • Social Good
  • Solving Global Problems
  • Volunteering
  • grass-roots-organizations
  • ngos
  • non-government-organizations
  • social-good
  • solving-global-problems
  • volunteering
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Graphics/Photos, Interactive, Text/HTML, Video

    Introduction to Non-Government Organizations

    Introduction to Non-Government Organizations

    Overview

    Introduction to Non-Government Organizations ( NGOs) 

    Non-Government Organizations

    Description

    Introduction to Non-Government Organizations

    Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) advocate for human rights and environmental protection, build youth leadership, work to end violence against women and children, assist the poor, empower education and much more. Starting an NGO can be a powerful way to bring about change. 

    Overview: This module will provide learners with an introduction to NGOs.

    This introduction module includes a variety of texts, activities, and videos. It should take the learner a minimum of one hour to complete and will include the following sections:

    1. Introduction 
    2. Starting and Sustaining an NGO
    3. Values, Vision and Mission-the Compass
    4. Final Thoughts

    Subsequent modules will guide you through the steps of starting and operating an NGO such as: 

    • Planning Evaluation and Managing
    • The Board of Directors                                                                             
    • Community Participation and Empowerment
    • Partnerships with Other NGOs and Government
    • The Funders-Foundations, Corporations, and Individuals

     

    About this Module:

    Remix of: OER materials in the public domain including The NGO Handbook

    *an attributions list will be located at the end of each section 

    Level: High School, Higher Education, Adult Learners

    Material Type: Stand Alone Module or part of a larger program

    Media Format: Text, Asynchronous, Video, Downloadable Links, Music

    Language: English

    Author: CTT2025

    Date Added: October 24, 2021

    Licence: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 

    Attribution list for the above content:


     Image: "NASA GOES-13 Full Disk view of Earth May 28, 2010" by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    Text: "NGO Handbook" by Hilary Binder-Aviles is in the Public Domain. Text was added too and paraphrased.

    1. Introduction: A Powerful Way To Bring About Change

     

    Working Together for a Better Future

     

     

    Individual pictures cropped together of multinationals

    What Are NGOs?

    NGOs — nongovernmental organizations — are independent of both the government and the business sector. Their mandate is to promote the public interest and serve the public good rather than to make a profit or advance the interests of a narrow group of individuals. Their independence enables them to monitor government performance and advocate for improvements. NGOs that are respected by both the government and the business sector can help mediate conflicts or find solutions to common concerns. Finally, their independence from government, political parties and religious institutions allows them to create a shared vision for their community.

    NGOs mobilize volunteers and other resources to achieve their vision. Whether you are thinking about starting an NGO, have already established one, or have been leading one for years, you are part of a global movement of people channelling their power to effect change. Over the past few decades, NGOs have been at the forefront of major social movements to better people’s lives. The number of NGOs in emerging democracies has grown rapidly over the past decades.

    The term “NGO” first came into use after World War II when the United Nations applied it to private organizations that helped heal the ravages of the war — millions of displaced people, orphans and high unemployment. But the concept of citizens organizing around issues goes back much further. 

    Today, the U.N. recognizes an estimated 40,000 international NGOs, with millions more operating within countries. There are many different kinds of NGOs. Some are large, multinational organizations while others are small, village-based groups. Some target particular issues or sectors, such as women, youth, the environment, human rights, education, health and existential threats to humanity. Others address multiple issues and sectors.

    Whatever their area or scope, all NGOs exist to make people’s lives better or solve a social or environmental problem. Most NGOs are founded by people who are passionate about their communities or causes. Yet starting and running an NGO takes more than passion. It takes knowledge, skills, resources and relationships. It also takes time, planning, patience and flexibility.

    Did you Know? 

    NO ONE OWNS AN NGO -  An NGO is not someone’s property. It serves the public good and must have a group of people who serve as the stewards of that public trust. This is typically the board of directors. NGOs that are controlled by one individual who is not accountable to a board or other stakeholders will not be seen as legitimate and will not earn the diverse support needed to sustain the organization.

     

    Other Terms for NGOs

     You may hear other terms used to describe organizations that work to advance the public good such as: 

    • Civil society organizations (CSOs)
    • Non-profit organizations 
    • Charities or charitable organizations
    • Grassroots 
    • Community-based organizations
    • Voluntary organizations

    The above terms suggest a particular type of NGO. For example, grassroots organizations are NGOs that members of a community form to help themselves and others.

    Attribution List for 1. Introduction

    Image: "Australia's Multicultural Policy" by Kate Lundy is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    Text: "NGO Handbook" by Hilary Binder-Aviles is in the Public Domain. Text was added too and paraphrased.

    Text: " Chemistry and the Environment: A Chemistry Perspective for discussion of Environmental Issues" by Devin R. Latimer is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    2. Starting and Sustaining an NGO

    Tiny spruce sapling

    Have you ever seen a problem and wanted to do something about it? Of course, you have. The schools, police, government welfare offices, and families aren’t able to handle it all. Others share your concerns and want to do something. That’s why you would start a nongovernmental organization or NGO. 

     

    It's Time to Reflect!

    Please re-read the above paragraph. Now take a moment and reflect upon a problem that you wanted to do something about but did not know how to go about it. 

    In 50 words or less, describe:

    •  A problem, challenge or issue that you wish you could do something about
    • The solution: how the problem could be fixed, solved or addressed

    Please set this aside until later.

    Examples of NGOs

    1. NGOs can be small village grassroots organizations: 

    Such as "Trash Heros"  An NGO that gathers volunteer groups of people to dedicate 30-60 minutes of their time to clean up the beaches of Bali, this organization started small and is growing worldwide, see the informal video link here of a traveller who volunteers:

    Community NGO: Trash Hero-Cleaning the Beaches of Bali

     

     

    2. NGOs that partner together can form a powerful team for good such as:

    HPU | CMDR Team Members and The 4ocean  have teamed up, both fundraising in different ways, both bring unique knowledge to the partnership and are working together toward the same goal.

    Explore the links above and watch this short video:  

     

    Protecting Hawaii's coastlines and coral reefs with CMDR

    3 Another NGO that is well established is the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

    The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is at the forefront, protecting Canada's wildlife. Creating protected nature preserves all across Canada working hand in hand with other NGOs.

    Home | CPAWS Northern Alberta (cpawsnab.org)

    Exploring NGOs

    Please choose one of the NGOs listed above and visit their website, (or choose another NGO that is of personal interest to you) to determine in detail the problem they are attempting to address or solve?

    Please record your findings.
     

    Attributions List for 2. Starting and Sustaining an NGO:

    Image: "Young Tree" by Mike is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    Text: "NGO Handbook" by Hilary Binder-Aviles is in the Public Domain. Text was added too and paraphrased.

    Text: " Chemistry and the Environment: A Chemistry Perspective for discussion of Environmental Issues" by Devin R. Latimer is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    Video 1:Small NGO: "I am a Trash Hero: Volunteering Bali Beach Cleanup" by Brandon Bruce is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    Video 2: NGOs partner together: "Protecting Hawaii's coastlines and coral reefs with CMDR" by 4ocean is licensed under CC BY 4.0

     

     

    3. NGOs: Values, Vision and Mission-the Compass

    Values, Vision and Mission- is the Compass of an NGO

    Board meeting people siting at a long conference table

    Values, Vision and Mission-the Compass

    The next section provides an introduction to core components of an NGO including:

    • The values
    • The vision
    • The mission

    This section will help you build a basic mission, vision and values statement for a hypothetical NGO (that you will invent) that is legitimate, transparent and accountable, qualities necessary for your NGO to be effective.

    Please go back to the NGO that you researched. Try to locate one or all of the following on their website:

    • The Mission Statement
    • Values Statement
    • Vision Statement
    • Commitment

    Share

    Share your findings with another student, please support one another and work together. Please post your findings in the forum (for an online format) and respond to at least 2 other students' posts.

    Reflect

    Next, please reflect on the problem that you wrote about in the previous section, the one that you wish you could solve.

    Apply

    Based on what you saw in the videos what you read on the websites for the NGOs you researched, write a mission statement, a values statement a vision statement and a commitment statement for a hypothetical NGO that you would start that would solve the problem you would like to be addressed. This will form the foundation of your new hypothetical NGO, one that will solve the problem you first wrote about. * Note this can be point form for this exercise as we are just creating a foundation for your Hypothetical NGO.

    Record your thoughts. Share your mission, vision and values statements with another student. What would you call your hypothetical NGO? Please give it a name (it may be temporary you can change this at any time).

    Expand the Possibilities

    Does this problem or issue that your hypothetical NGO is addressing exist in other communities, cities or countries? What if you shared your solution with other communities that have the same concerns? Imagine if there were 100 volunteers working to make this issue better?

    Write down your thoughts.

     

     Group of Children standing in front of bulldozers on construction site 

    Attribution list for 3. NGOs: Values, Vision and Mission-the Compass

    First Image: "#UN technical workshop, Around the table people from everywhere to work together on greening the economy" by Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuno, is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    Text: Text: "NGO Handbook" by Hilary Binder-Aviles is in the Public Domain. Text was added too and paraphrased.

    Second Image: "'Future engineers' tour Europe District construction sites in Wiesbaden" by USACE Europe District is licensed under CC BY 4.0

     

     

    4. Final Thoughts

    When We Work Together the Future is Bright

     

    When We Work Together the Future is Bright

    This brings us to the end of the Introduction to Non-Government Organizations module. Future modules will guide you through the steps of starting and operating an NGO such as: 

    • Planning Evaluation and Managing
    • The Board of Directors                                                                             
    • Community Participation and Empowerment
    • Partnerships with Other NGOs and Government
    • The Funders-Foundations, Corporations, and Individuals

    Please feel free to reach out to the author of this module with questions or feedback.

    Thank you

     

    Attribution list for 4. Final Thoughts

    Text: "NGO Handbook" by Hilary Binder-Aviles is in the Public Domain. Text was added too and paraphrased.

    Image: "Collaboration" by Chris Lott is licensed under CC BY 4.0