by Ricky Ozukum
It is a known fact that for every problem to be solved, the need to start from the grass root level is the ideal way. Our society face major problems of unemployment and poverty and one of the best ways to tackle it is through development of rural areas. In the last issue on rural entrepreneurship, I mentioned about how entrepreneurship at rural areas can helped in closing the huge gap of disparity between rural and urban areas. And it is quite understandable that rural entrepreneurship is the best bet. Despite few shortcomings which can be easily embark upon, there are so many prospects for any entrepreneurs to set up businesses units and industries in the rural areas. We also need to remember the benefits one can get like reasonable labours, raw materials etc. Additionally, in this issue, I wish to share how Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) can play a major role in the development of entrepreneurship especially rural entrepreneurship and thus towards rural development.
It is commendable that the government has tried by providing self-employment and anti-poverty programmes like PMEGP, TRYSEM etc which involves some entrepreneurial qualities. These were known as tools of bottom up approach of development. Ironically, these programmes introduced by the Government agencies did not work out. The reasons behind why these programmes were ineffective were several. One of the reasons would be their weaknesses of one type or other. It was also because of lack of awareness among the needed population and most importantly, its implementation hazards. It can also be mentioned that the government failed to corroborate support for its programmes.
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are any non-profit, voluntary citizen’s group which is organised on a local, national and international level. It is task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest. NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information. India has seen a boom in the rise of NGO’s since the last decades. According to the Times of India survey, there are around 20 lakh NGOs already operating in states and union territories. It is overwhelming to know that in India there is just one policeman for every 943 people whereas there is one NGO for every 600 people. In Nagaland itself, we have witness a boom in the NGO sector. Though there are no exact data as to the number of registered one, it is a known fact of its existence and work which we hear and witness around us. It is to be noted that NGO’s has been on existence in our society for some time. But, they were mostly into sanitation, health, family planning, environmental protection, primary education etc. Against the backdrop of government trying to introduce entrepreneurial system into our society, the NGOs decided to join the mission as the need for colossal entrepreneurship potential in rural areas was imminent. They also realise that it could support the thriving economy. Positively, the government collaborative attitude towards the NGOs led to redesigning some of the projects and adoption of new strategies. This was the correct way to reach the rural poor for grass root development. Why is it important to stress on the role of NGO’s for entrepreneurship development especially for rural entrepreneurship and development can be seen from the following points which ultimately prove its edge over others:
– The lean overhead and operating costs to reach the poor and needy.
– Flexibility and responsiveness in operation to invent appropriate solution.
– Nearness to client groups made them to be sensitive to community need.
– Capacity for innovation and experimentation with new groups and untried development approach.
– Stimulating and mobilizing interest in the community.
– Dependence on customer satisfaction.
– Act as a test bed and sound board for government policies and programmes.
– That one cannot imbue in others what one cannot possess oneself applies to the NGOs also.
In India, there are several NGO’s that are contributing to entrepreneurship development. The major ones are National Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (NAYE), World Assembly of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (WASME), Xavier institute for Social Studies (XISS), SEWA of Ahmedabad, ‘Y’ Self-Employment of Calcutta, AWAKE (Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka), and Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institute (RUDSETIs) based in Karnataka. In Nagaland, there are very few NGO’s who play a role when it comes to Entrepreneurship development. Nonetheless, this is gaining momentum and I believe in years to come, it can play a tremendous role to bring positive changes to entrepreneurship development. From among the existing NGO’s, it is witnessed that they primarily contributes towards entrepreneurship development as mention below:
– The NGOs who mobilize their own resources, operate at international level and execute developmental activities themselves or through intermediate fall within this category..
– There are those NGOs that procure funds from various agencies, impart training, and conduct workshops for target work force.
– Those who conduct field activities by establishing direct contact with the grass-root needy people.
Evidences are galore to mention that a few NGOs in India have succeeded largely in imparting entrepreneurial skills among the weaker sections of the society. These are some of the initiatives NGOs have taken to help especially the needy ones for entrepreneurship development:
– Stimulation: Conducting EDPs and other training programmes for the target people with a view to stimulate enterprising attitude among them.
– Counseling: Providing counseling and consultancy services to the needy ones how to prepare a project, feasibility report, purchase of plant and machinery, and performing other procedural activities.
– Assistance: Assisting the target group in marketing their products and securing finance from financial institutions.
It is a fact that 70 % of different sponsored skill trainings are conducted within the two districts of Dimapur and Kohima only by the NGOs and other institutions. Equal importance and priority should be given to other nine districts in order to encourage and development rural entrepreneurship. More focus can be given by NGOs to conduct Entrepreneurship Awareness Programmes(EAP) in rural areas that’s where the entrepreneurship needs to be developed at present in our state.