Just like we do not need to prove ourselves not to be paedophiles and register on naff 'mentoring schemes' to be effective brothers and sisters to our youth, we do not need to create development industry NGOs to affect transformation in our societies, at home and abroad.
We can construct alternative, superior arrangements for Islah. We are.
Some reasons to seek alternative means to development industry NGOs.
- They depoliticise people and problems, stifling the development of powerful, internally fueled socially valued positive change.
- Subverting the development of an effective state with their sticky plaster/intravenous drip approach they legitimise hegemonic homogenising secular liberal ideology through an NGOised class of people. Without foreign funds they wouldnt have the ability to do operate.
- They most often appeal to values drawn from imperial global frameworks and the unjust status quo, not necessarily local history, dignity and aspiration.
- Are essentially distractions from whats real and lend their adherents a dangerous sense of righteousness and practicality.
- Erode the basic human skill of social discernment, the ability to identify whats wrong and respond with heart, tongue and hand, without need for an intermediary.
- Create power complexes which are in turn unjust, unearned and uncontestable.
- Have played a critical role in the establishment of a multibillion dollar industry that perpetuates the problems it publically seeks to address.
- Work contained in corporatised, managed projects is often inflexible to local reality, "Plough your field with this lollipop brother".
Some reasons to not be so harsh on NGOs and their people
- It is difficult to imagine how to act collectively outside them.
- They provide facility girls with opportunities they might not otherwise have.
- 'They do a lot of good work'.
- They employ a lot of people, including graduates, who otherwise might be un(der) employed.
- Many do good work and its important to be able to tell.
- Getting involved with the state is LONG.
- We may not have the symbolic power, trust and connections to pursue alternative means.
- They are drenched in an intoxicating vocabulary of virtue.
- Large ambitions of decolonisation, autonomy and systemic supersession are not always shared by people who unpretentiously want to 'do good'.