Nov 12, 2009
If you are an NGO, time to laugh at yourself
A picture they say is more than a thousand words. A good cartoon I think can be more than a Ph.D thesis. At times, I find a cartoonist says much more than what a post-doctoral thesis can conclude and that too after a study/research period has spanned three to five years. Rajkumar Patel's cartoon above (originally published at http://www.d-sector.org/) is not only a treatise on the working of the NGO community in India and for that matter worldwide, but also provides enough food for thought.
I find this cartoon is quite a reflection on the real purpose of innumerable NGO activities in the name of poverty, hunger and social discrimination. Although NGOs don't like to be told, but the fact remains that most of the civil society activities are driven by agenda of the funding agencies. It might be HIV AIDs today, tomorrow it can shift to global warming, and then you can always return to agriculture if nothing else works in the sense that project funding becomes a constraint.
It however does not mean that everyone is like that. There are good NGOs, there are bad NGOs and of course there are worst NGOs. I do agree that the number of good NGOs is fast receding, much faster than the Himalayan glaciers.
This cartoon also provides you an opportunity to laugh at yourself, and then to think whether it mirrors your role. If yes, it is time for a correction.