Children of South Africa (CHOSA) is a Non-Governmental Organisation whose mission is to identify and support communities and community based organizations (CBOs) that reach out and take care of orphans and other vulnerable children in South Africa
CHOSA takes a holistic approach to community development by providing unrestricted funding along with capacity building to local organizations that support orphaned and vulnerable children. These community based organizations range from creches to children’s homes, after school programs, and bursary opportunities. By supporting grassroots community based organizations, CHOSA aims to help empower other marginalized individuals within these communities. Moreover, through community participation, CHOSA promotes local action, self-empowerment, and peer-to-peer networking as essential strategies for community-owned development.
The story of CHOSA started years ago with the CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) volunteer program at Baphumelele Children’s Home where a group of young Americans studying at UCT in 2004 began started volunteering.
Particularly disturbed by the really difficult conditions under which the children were unfortunately forced to live because of the lack of government support, they decided to do something about the situation after returning from the US. That is when lots of volunteers began to fundraise informally for Baphumelele Children’s Home.
The co-founders Jared Sacks and Ellen Rosenberg at the head of the project, a group of supporters as well as directors have been assembled over a certain period of time and they later formed the CHOSA together.
– The word NGO is an abbreviation for Non-Government organization. Any organization working for a social, cultural, economic, educational or religious cause is termed as an NGO. (Formation and Management of NGOs: Non-Governmental Organizations by Anita Abraham)
– A non-governmental organization (NGO) is an organization that is not part of a government and was not founded by states. NGOs are therefore typically independent of governments. Although the definition can technically include for-profit corporations, the term is generally restricted to social, cultural, legal, and environmental advocacy groups having goals that are noncommercial, primarily. NGOs are usually non-profit organizations that gain at least a portion of their funding from private sources
– NGOs are defined by the World Bank as “private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development”.
HISTORY OF NGOs
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as we know them today are generally thought to have come into existence around the mid-nineteenth century. It was only about a century later that the importance of NGOs was officially recognized by the United Nations. At the UN Congress in San Francisco in 1968, a provision was made in Article 71 of the Charter of the United Nations framework that qualified NGOs in the field of economic and social development to receive consultative status with the Economic and Social Council.
The development of modern NGOs has largely mirrored that of general world history, particularly after the Industrial Revolution. NGOs have existed in some form or another as far back as 25,000 years ago. Since 1850, more than 100,000 private, not-for-profit organizations with an international focus have been founded. The growth of NGOs really took off after the Second World War, with about 90 international NGOs founded each year, compared with about 10 each year in the 1890s. Only about 30 percent of early international NGOs have survived, although those organizations founded after the wars have had a better survival rate. Many more NGOs with a local, national or regional focus have been created, though like their international counterparts, not all have survived or have been successful.
International non-governmental organizations have a history dating back to at least 1839. It has been estimated that by 1914 there were 1083 NGOs. International NGOs were important in the anti-slavery movement and the movement for women’s suffrage, and reached a peak at the time of the World Disarmament Conference. However, the phrase “non-governmental organization” only came into popular use with the establishment of the United Nations Organization in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter for a consultative role for organizations which are neither governments nor member states-see Consultative Status. The definition of “international NGO” (INGO) is first given in resolution 288 (X) of ECOSOC on February 27, 1950: it is defined as “any international organization that is not founded by an international treaty”. The vital role of NGOs and other “major groups” in sustainable development was recognized in Chapter 27 of Agenda 21, leading to intense arrangements for a consultative relationship between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.
Rapid development of the non-governmental sector occurred in western countries as a result of the processes of restructuring of the welfare state. Further globalization of that process occurred after the fall of the communist system and was an important part of the Washington consensus.
Globalization during the 20th century gave rise to the importance of NGOs. Many problems could not be solved within a nation. International treaties and international organizations such as the World Trade Organization were perceived as being too centred on the interests of capitalist enterprises. Some argued that in an attempt to counterbalance this trend, NGOs have developed to emphasize humanitarian issues, developmental aid and sustainable development. A prominent example of this is the World Social Forum, which is a rival convention to the World Economic Forum held annually in January in Davos, Switzerland. The fifth World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in January 2005 was attended by representatives from more than 1,000 NGOs. Some have argued that in forums like these, NGOs take the place of what should belong to popular movements of the poor. Others argue that NGOs are often imperialist in nature, that they sometimes operate in a racialized manner in third world countries, and that they fulfill a similar function to that of the clergy during the high colonial era. The philosopher Peter Hallward argues that they are an aristocratic form of politics. Whatever the case, NGO transnational networking is now extensive.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have played a major role in pushing for sustainable development at the international level. Campaigning groups have been key drivers of inter-governmental negotiations, ranging from the regulation of hazardous wastes to a global ban on land mines and the elimination of slavery.
But NGOs are not only focusing their energies on governments and inter-governmental processes. With the retreat of the state from a number of public functions and regulatory activities, NGOs have begun to fix their sights on powerful corporations – many of which can rival entire nations in terms of their resources and influence.
Aided by advances in information and communications technology, NGOs have helped to focus attention on the social and environmental externalities of business activity. Multinational brands have been acutely susceptible to pressure from activists and from NGOs eager to challenge a company’s labour, environmental or human rights record. Even those businesses that do not specialize in highly visible branded goods are feeling the pressure, as campaigners develop techniques to target downstream customers and shareholders.
In response to such pressures, many businesses are abandoning their narrow Milton Friedmanite shareholder theory of value in favour of a broader, stakeholder approach which not only seeks increased share value, but cares about how this increased value is to be attained.
Such a stakeholder approach takes into account the effects of business activity – not just on shareholders, but on customers, employees, communities and other interested groups.
There are many visible manifestations of this shift. One has been the devotion of energy and resources by companies to environmental and social affairs. Companies are taking responsibility for their externalities and reporting on the impact of their activities on a range of stakeholders.
Nor are companies merely reporting; many are striving to design new management structures which integrate sustainable development concerns into the decision-making process.
Much of the credit for creating these trends can be taken by NGOs. But how should the business world react to NGOs in the future? Should companies batten down the hatches and gird themselves against attacks from hostile critics? Or should they hold out hope that NGOs can sometimes be helpful partners?
For those businesses willing to engage with the NGO community, how can they do so? The term NGO may be a ubiquitous term, but it is used to describe a bewildering array of groups and organizations – from activist groups ‘reclaiming the streets’ to development organizations delivering aid and providing essential public services. Other NGOs are research-driven policy organizations, looking to engage with decision-makers. Still others see themselves as watchdogs, casting a critical eye over current events.
They hail from north and south and from all points in between – with the contrasting levels of resources which such differences often imply. Some are highly sophisticated, media-savvy organizations like Friends of the Earth and WWF; others are tiny, grassroots collectives, never destined to be household names.
Although it is often assumed that NGOs are charities or enjoy non-profit status, some NGOs are profit-making organizations such as cooperatives or groups which lobby on behalf of profit-driven interests. For example, the World Trade Organization’s definition of NGOs is broad enough to include industry lobby groups such as the Association of Swiss Bankers and the International Chamber of Commerce.
Such a broad definition has its critics. It is more common to define NGOs as those organizations which pursue some sort of public interest or public good, rather than individual or commercial interests.
Even then, the NGO community remains a diverse constellation. Some groups may pursue a single policy objective – for example access to AIDS drugs