Capacity Development and Leadership Challenges in the NGO Sector of Pakistan
Afaq, Amer (author)
Brower, Ralph S. (professor directing dissertation)
McDowell, Stephen (university representative)
deHaven-Smith, Lance (committee member)
Klay, William Earle (committee member)
School of Public Administration and Policy (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have gained prominence and attention at the local, national and international scene during the last two decades. NGOs are considered as important actors on the landscape of development. The NGO sector in Pakistan is gradually expanding, yet it is less mature as compared to other countries in South Asia. Most of the research available on NGOs studied the importance and role of NGOs, the impact of NGOs on social services and government - NGO relationships. Nevertheless, capacity development, institutional strengthening and leadership development in NGOs have been largely ignored or given less attention. One goal of this study is to fill this gap and study the capacity development and leadership challenges in the NGO sector of Pakistan. Capacity development is one of the central ideas within contemporary international development. This emerges from the belief and experience that addressing social, economic and environmental issues requires greater competencies everywhere in society. This dissertation has three principal purposes: (a) to understand the dynamics and factors shaping the capacity development of NGOs in Pakistan; (b) to elaborate the pressures and challenges faced by NGOs for capacity and leadership development and (c) to generate theoretical propositions for successful capacity building interventions. In the process of achieving these goals a more general understanding of the interactions among the various stake holders in the NGO arena and the internal and external environment of NGOs were studied. This study observes that capacity development is an ongoing and long term activity that involves a wide range of actors whose participation and contributions are important. It is not a onetime activity by an outside agent. Similarly, successful capacity development interventions need to have ownership from those for whom they are designed. It is a multifaceted concept and there is no single accurate way to define and implement it. It is conceptualized and implemented by stakeholders according to their contextual situations and preferences. NGOs are successful in attaining a unique position in the development sector of Pakistan. However, this new and increasing role of NGOs has implications for organizational capacity development and skills of the NGO staff. This study supports the idea that too much emphasis on the top leadership ignores the role and importance of rank and file managers where much of the organizational knowledge exists. Also, the over emphasis on top leadership hinders the capacity development of middle level managers. The government lacks a well-established policy framework with regard to the roles and responsibilities of the NGOs in service delivery and development sector. The findings here suggest that government needs to play a more proactive role by undertaking proper institutional arrangements for NGOs where they can perform and deliver and at the same time they can be held accountable. For survival and sustainability of NGOs it is important to explore alternate sources of funding especially from private philanthropy. People in Pakistan donate large amounts of charity to religious organizations but they do not consider funding NGOs with their charities. Scholars and researchers may explore this issue further. People can be encouraged to consider donating for addressing issues like development and improvements in social services through NGOs. This study proposes that for successful and sustainable capacity development of local NGOs donors have to focus more on local NGOs and establish close ties with them in addition to the larger national level support organizations. Trust is an overarching factor that plays an important role in shaping the partnership between government and NGOs on one hand, and promoting collaboration between donors and the government on the other hand. In order to improve trust relations a genuine understanding of mutual expectations and agreements on different roles and responsibilities is expected of each stakeholder. The findings of this study demonstrate that the capacity development efforts of the three stakeholders are not properly triangulated and there exists a trust deficit among the NGOs, the government and the donors and which needs attention.
Capacity Development, Development, Foreign Aid, Leadership Development in NGOs, NGOs
August 12, 2013.
A Dissertation submitted to the Reubin O'D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Ralph S. Brower, Professor Directing Dissertation; Stephen McDowell, University Representative; Lance deHaven-Smith, Committee Member; William Earle Klay, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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