CBO: what are they and why do we need them…?

By | 20th March 2017

One issue that communities do have is to organise themselves to conduct a project. And from there, to secure funds. The common way to get organised is to register a CBO: Community-Based Organisation.

Names sometimes vary from country to country, but the principle remains the same: the community comes together under a structured organisation and develops a constitution that details aims and objectives as well as how the organisation will operate.

As we have seen in an article of the previous newsletter, they are not-for-profit organisations and the same rules apply to them.

We believe that local communities can help themselves – but they sometimes need a little help to do so and this is where we aim to intervene. In some cases, it is a matter of encouragement and moral support, but sometimes  it is a little more and so we also aspire to help these communities to get organised so that they can conduct their projects.

Another term used for CBOs is Local NGOs or Grass-Roots NGOs – which does really illustrate their connections to the local communities.

CBOs are in essence an “official/legal” modern term to describe a community that works together to take action to tackle an issue they are facing.

They have always existed, albeit not as officially (registered) as they are today – and many community still have an informal support systems. These are the networks in the villages taking care of the orphans or elderly people. These are the farmers helping each other in difficult times.

They are at the heart of the action. They are the heart of the action. They are part of the community we want to serve. They know the problems. They know what has been tried and failed. They have/are the network for information and resources. And one critical point: they are the community – they have personal knowledge of the issues and individual contexts. They can adapt to each individual’s needs and have greater motivation to find a solution that works in the long term.

They are the key to successful sustainable projects.

We believe that an international NGO on its own cannot fully implement a successful sustainable project without the support/existence of local CBOs. For a project to succeed, the community has to understand and be keen on its realisation and success. And local CBOs are best placed to unite the community around the project, as it will come from the community, for the community. And when the community is involved in the set-up and running of the project, then the chances of success are far greater. The community has a better understanding of the why and how. The community is then running for success. The community owns the project/process.

There are a great multitude of CBOs. Find out in our next newsletters what issues they face, and how we could maybe help.

 (in collaboration with Megan Giljam)

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