"BRING BACK SMILE"

NGOs can and should play the “game changer” to pro-poor development through leadership on participatory research, community empowerment and search for development alternative.

Myanmar society, it is the state that has the ultimate responsibility for ushering development to its citizens. Myanmar, through the progressive interpretation of the Constitution and its laws and policies, the scope of development has been significantly broadened to include not just economic progress for the citizens, but also promotion of social justice, gender equity, inclusion, citizen’s awareness, empowerment and improved quality of life. To achieve this holistic vision of development, the state requires the constructive and collaborative engagement of the civil society in its various developmental activities and programs.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as the operational arm of the civil society therefore have an important role in the development processes.

Elaborating on Non-Government Organizations

In its most general usage, civil society refers to all voluntarily constituted social relations, institutions, and organizations that are not reducible to the administrative grasp of the state. NGOs are organizations within the civil society that work on the “not-for-profit” approach in the space which exists between the family (household), market and state. It is made up of several types of formal voluntary organizations, where people based on community, neighborhoods, workplace and other connections form their association to participate in actions for their own collective interests or for larger social good. Those NGOs which are working at the global arena, across several countries are termed as international NGOs.

Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in its concept papers on civil society and good governance has defined civil society as “an intermediate realm situated between state and household, populated by organized groups or associations, which are separate from the state, enjoy some autonomy in relations with the state, and are formed voluntarily by members of society to protect or extend their interests, values or identities”. For the purpose of this paper we understand NGOs as “formally registered not-for profit association of groups of individuals founded on the principles of equality, altruism and voluntary work spirit to promote human development (including environment and biodiversity) and nation building”.

NGOs have significantly influenced the development of laws and policies on several important social and developmental issues such as the right to information, juvenile justice, ending corporal punishment in schools, anti-trafficking, forests and environment, wildlife conservation, women, elderly people, people with disability, rehabilitation and resettlement of development induced displaced people to name a few. Further, NGOs made their modest attempts to ensure the effective implementation of these laws and policies by conducting and disseminating findings from participatory research, budget analysis, public hearings, social audits, workshops, seminars etc.

Summing up, it is now well established that NGOs like "BRING BACK SMILE" have an important role to play in the development processes and that both the state and market need the collaboration of credible, active, and accountable NGOs. Given their connect with the grassroots realities, NGOs can and should play the "game changer" to pro-poor development through leadership on participatory research, community empowerment and search for development alternatives. “BRING BACK SMILE” is a non profitable organisation working very actively in Myanmar. This NGO was started by a group Headed by our joint director of 4Rconsultancy MYANMAR; Ms.Rolly Jain. Her contribution towards the NGO is just incredible. Her motto is "Bring Back Smile". We appeal to all across the globe to help the NGO achieve the mission across Myanmar. All contributions from all sources are highly appreciating.

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