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close this bookNGO Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Foundation)
close this folderPart I: NGOs: what they are and what they do
close this folder2. The historical context
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.1 Care and welfare
View the document2.2 Change and development
View the document2.3 The historical evolution of NGO/government relationships
View the document2.4 Welfare pluralism
View the document2.5 The emergence of alternatives
View the document2.6 New concerns

2.3 The historical evolution of NGO/government relationships

When NGOs were largely concerned with care and welfare activities they carried out their work in fields where government did not, or was unable, to operate. Many of the universal and specialised public services which are taken for granted today were originally pioneered by concerned individuals acting voluntarily to take action.

The necessary financial and human resources were provided by members, the public or other agencies to enable the identified job to be done.

But NGOs would often seek to get the government to take over programmes they had initiated, and to widen their scope and impact in ways that only governments can. This was one aspect of how care and welfare was linked to change and development. When governments adopted policies, provided financial support or contracted NGOs to deliver services they had initiated, NGOs regarded such responses as achievements.