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Accreditation makes NGOs trustworthy: experts

Sep 24, 2013

Experts representing different organizations from the civil society stressed on the need for rewarding accountability and transparency in the NGO sector.

New Delhi: Credibility is increasingly becoming a big challenge for the voluntary organisations in India and the day might not be far when most of them would be found struggling for survival, cautioned experts at the national consultation on ‘Evolving Dimensions of Social Accountability in Voluntary Sector’, organised by the Credibility Alliance in New Delhi.

According to B N Makhija, former chairman of Credibility Alliance, an organisation accrediting voluntary organizations in India, the voluntary sector is faced with conceptual and operational problems.  “The conceptual problems are like, to whom should the civil society organizations be responsible to. While the operational issues are regarding the mechanism of measuring the accountability in the voluntary sector,” he said.

Rajan Khosla, Director, Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS), said the last decade had seen a lot of activities in terms of accountability framework. “Accountability is easier in a system driven organisation rather than an organisation driven by an individual. We need to adopt an inclusive approach when we talk about accountability. NGOs are willing to be accountable,” he said.

Dhaval Udani from Give India, said that accountability should not be sought for the sake of it.  Quoting a study he said that the NGO sector is the least trusted institution in India. “There is no doubt that a lot of Indians want to contribute to the good work in the society and make a difference. Unfortunately, there is a lack of trust on different ends of spectrum,” he said.

Udani opined that NGOs could gain trust in the society by getting accreditation through institutions like the Credibility Alliance and GuideStar India. “One of the biggest challenge for an NGO today is to cater to multiple accreditations and due diligence processes,” he said.

Pushpa Aman Singh from GuideStar India, said that NGOs need to be accountable to the society since they were making an impact on the lives of people. “Transparency and Accountability is doable if there is willingness to do so. There should also be some incentives for those organisations that are being accountable. There should be some mechanism to reward accountability,” he said.

Raghavan Suresh, Director, Public Affairs Centre, said that NGOs should use social audit tools for displaying accountability. “Suo Moto disclosures of citizens charters by NGOs will certainly help them in gaining credibility. The communities being served by the NGOs could also help these organizations in transparency related activities like budget tracking,” Suresh said.

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