The sector that doesn't need a lot of physical structure (i.e. bricks and mortar) but can be a catalyst to the reduction of our high rate of unemployment has been neglected by the citizens and leaders of this country.
NGOs form an integrals part of several developed countries including the USA where it brings in more income than the entertainment industry that we speak so highly of in our part of the world. However this is not the case in Ghana where NGOs are not only underrated but are not regarded as an integral part or a driving force for the Ghanaian economy. There are more than 1.5 million NGOs in America. They had an employment number of 12.3 million as at 2016. Also in the UK, NGOs employed over 1 million people as at 2019. This is quite different in Ghana where because the NGOs lack funds for their businesses, they tend to create less jobs since they can't afford paying them from the little they have and although the government is supposed to, they do not or barely provide grants to fund the operations of the NGOs.
According to the World Bank, one out of every ten people in the United States works for a non-governmental organization (NGO). Thus, the NGO workforce is the third largest among U.S. industries, behind only retail trade and manufacturing.
Aside from providing jobs for the unemployed in countries that patronize NGOs, these organizations also contribute revenue to the economies of their respective countries. In countries like the USA, NGOs contribute trillions of dollars to the economy of the country and have made significant contributions to other sectors of the government.
In a 2020 NCCS Project Team report, they found out that the nonprofit sector contributed an estimated $1.047.2 trillion to the US economy in 2016, composing 5.6 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
This goes to prove the extent to which Ghana as a country need to invest more in the nonprofit sector to yield more income for the betterment of the citizens of the country.
The United Nations define NGO to mean a Non-Governmental organization that are a not-for-profit group principally independent from government which is organized on a local, national and international level to address issues in support of public good.Mostly, they are referred to as Civil Society Organization or CSO.
Functions of NGOs
Some Scholars have grouped the functions of NGOs into three main parts which are, implement, Catalyst and Partner.
Their role as implementers ensure that they are able to galvanize resources to provide goods and services to the people in need of them. These can be done in the education or health sector or even any other sector that requires their service.
Their role as catalysts is defined as means of social transformation where they seek to play the role of advocates to ensure some policies are enacted for the greater good of society and can also be the driving force for other movements like women empowerment.
The partner role reflects the growing trend for NGOs to work with government, donors and the private sectors on joint activities such as providing specific inputs within a broader multiagency program or project or undertaking social responsible business activities to strengthen and develop capabilities.
These are major roles the nonprofit sector can be allowed to operate on a large scale in order to drive our economy to the next level as we want.
How NGOs Can Generate Funds in Ghana
Eighty-four percent of Canadians donate to non-governmental organizations with an average individual donation of $446 per year. In total, that is $10.6 billion donated to NGOs by Canadians every year (Imagine Canada).
NGOs in all over the world do so well to generate funds for their operations either through government grants or loans as well as donations from people in their communities.
Government is expected to support philanthropy, fundraising and grants by international development partners to sustain effective and efficient operation of NGOs in the long term. It is therefore expected that individuals, groups and corporate firms that contribute to this course shall be granted tax relief. According to Ansah, the National Consultative Group 2004 made it known that these privileges would be granted under conditions of strict accountability. NGOs shall be transparent and accountable in their utilization of public funds deriving under the privileges granted them as non-profit sharing organization.
We can argue that, nonprofit organizations in Ghana rarely receive government grants and loans to facilitate projects. It's not about they not seeking for these grants but rather the grants are not available which render these organizations powerless.
If the people in the country are suffering, how then are they going to support charity organizations through donations?
One man at the front of this advocacy to ensure that NGOs become a driving force in the Ghanaian economy is the founder of Ngorli Organization, Raymond Amezado.
He believes that for the youth to understand the basic idea of NGOs, we should inculcate that in the teaching syllabus for them to learn about the tenets of philanthropy and also have degree and diploma courses on philanthropy in our tertiary institutions.
Source: Atsriku Selase, GIJ level 300 Student