NGOs serve the gap in the market between what the public sector can provide for its citizens and what they can afford in the private sector. They therefore serve a vital role in providing affordable or free services to the most vulnerable in our society in sectors that are spread too thin for government to successfully support on their own. They should therefore rather be looked at as partners of social development than charities with their hands out – they work hard to do the things others can’t and we need them as much as they need us.
This need is evident in the growing number of NGOs over the past few years (from 140 000 in 2015 to 250 000 in 2020). Unfortunately, this has also placed strain on limited resources they all compete for, which means many have to either cut back on their services or close their doors for good.