As part of the HelpYourNGO.com "Pay it Forward" Scholarship, we asked students planning to study for a master's degree at any university outside India to write an essay on the following topic "Do NGOs Play a useful role in India? Why? Would you work in an NGO in India? Why?)". This is what Amit Ganeti had to say...
I understand that NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) are non-profit independent organizations that are run by a group of people focusing to improve the lives of people.
Importance of NGOs:
Yes, NGOs play a very useful role in India. Statistically, it is very much clear as we have more than 3.3 million NGOs in a country of 1.2 billion people that is having one NGO among 400 lives of our country. Currently, India is into that state where most of people are trying to move upward from lower section of society to upper section with their best efforts but to achieve that there is a high need of environmental and social support. On one side we have people who are not having an access to primary education, necessary health facilities, sufficient water and electricity and on other side we have large number of people who are having much more than required for any person to live lavishly. NGOs act as a platform that helps to move unprivileged section towards fulfillment of basic necessities with the help of funds from privileged section of the society. It is not like that fortunate people do not want to help others or uplift lower section of society but they do not have enough time and resources. That is where NGOs come into picture and play their important role. These organizations serve best way to connect and reduce the gap between different sections of the society. Government and its organizations may try their hard efforts to make our country from developing to developed nation but without the existence of these NGOs government is also handicapped as government organizations cannot run at deep root level with so much social connection as NGOs do it presently. Having one NGO for 400 lives proves how close and deep are NGOs into our Indian society.
Effect of NGOs:
The fundamental of NGO started from UN to help and do better for society but it spread very fast across globe and became one of the basic pillars for growth in emerging nations like India.Considering an example of an NGO such as Teach for India, It has taught and provided basic educations to more than 12,000 unprivileged children across 122 schools with having its presence just in three cities.We need to appreciate that if one NGO can have such a huge impact then what could be the effect of thousands of other NGOs on our society. There is no doubt that NGOs have much more impact on the lives in our country than profit organizations. Many people have started realizing that influence and importance of our country’s NGOs and that can be verified with the fact that today many of the fresh graduates from IIIMs and other good colleges are not going for high lucrative salary jobs but associating themselves with NGOs.
Presently, I am an MBA student at Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona, USA. (ranked #1 for International Business). Apart from so famous branches like Marketing, Finance and Consulting, I have International Development branch also in my college and have one guest lecture every month from different NGOs to bring awareness about the roles of NGOs in countries like India, China, Kenya, and Nigeria etc. It is not surprising to note that 25%-30% of MBA students are graduating with this specialization to be a part of NGOs and build better lives across globe. This shows that even people in developed countries like USA also are concerned and they want to associate themselves with NGOs.
My experience in NGOs:
Talking about my informal experience in NGOs, I have always tried my best to do something by which I can influence lives on this planet in a better way. It started from my school days when I used to act as a substitute writer in exams for blind students and this whole arrangement was organized by a local group of people to help blind students. Then during my engineering days in NIT Kurukshetra, I started teaching children of mess workers by taking free tuition for the primary class students. After taking my job in BPCL, I associated myself with company’s CSR programs in which I used to visit schools located in outskirts of Mumbai to teach students basic primary education. Nowadays, I am doing a volunteer work remotely with Drishtee Foundation located in Noida to empower women in rural areas by creating job opportunities and making them self-dependent.
Considering my background and future goals, I would like to come back to India after my studies in USA. I have born and brought up in a very small town called as Malerkotla located in Punjab, India. This place has still 20%-25% of the population who is struggling for basic needs like access to primary education, health facilities, electricity supply etc. Having an experience of living in Mumbai and Delhi recently, I have seen that if we use our knowledge and resources in an efficient manner then it is not difficult to raise the standard of living of lower spectrum people and make them accessible to basic needs. NGOs have realized these things and this is what they are trying to do. My career goal is to go back to my hometown and improve the lives of people there by associating myself with NGO. I am planning to work in NGO for 3-5 years and then start my own NGO with the group of people from various parts of the country to share the efficient methods to resolve issues in different parts of the country.
It is not that in India, more and more numbers of people are moving towards NGOs but even in rich countries like USA and Canada also many of the people are taking that career path for development of nation. The difference for NGOs in developed and developing nations lies in the level of sophistication of the issues and way to solve them. With my enrich learning from USA and China and living experience of India, I am sure that I will be able to contribute well to any NGO and understand the issues at a bigger level. If I have to choose a particular field in my beginning of career, I would like to focus on two primary purposes:
I have few ideas in my mind to generate local entrepreneurs in rural areas that I would like to use and implement with the help of NGOs.
I would prefer to work in a small NGO rather than working in a large NGO as I feel that in smaller organization one can have more responsibilities to work towards goal with more commitment and can impact lives in a better manner however in a small section of society. It is better to have a huge impact quickly on a small section of people rather than having on large number of people with a long span of time. Once, I have enough experience in one particular domain then I would like to spread the idea to other parts of the country. It is not that only profit making firms require good strategy, planning, marketing and financial skills etc. to run an organization but NGOs also. However NGO needs better management skills as most of the times there is a resource crunch whether it is financial or non-financial. No doubt I will be able to leverage my MBA learning at very large extent to make any NGO success.
In conclusion, I would say that NGOs play a very vital role in development of our country – India. This is the time when more and more number of people should be aware of how these organizations are adding values to our lives. I would like to be a part of these organizations and help our country to grow with my MBA learning and international diverse experience.
By Amit Ganeti.