Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society
This chapter traces the evolution of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) sector in Bangladesh, consider what has been achieved and offers some grounded speculation on where the sector may be going. Like many so-called developing countries, Bangladesh has attracted a wide range of international NGO, mainly from Western countries, that have worked on disaster relief, welfare and development issues. The War of Liberation and the subsequent humanitarian disaster caused by a devastating cyclone were formative events in the evolution of the modern NGO sector. The discourse of civil society provided a new rationale for NGOs. In the development industry, agencies also began pushing the idea of civil society as part of ‘good governance’ agendas. For NGOs to achieve sustainability, the most viable options have arguably become microfinance provision with its built-in management fees or the hybridization of NGOs into social businesses able to generate revenue from market-based activity and corporate philanthropy.