Increasing NGOs to 50,000 not ‘Far-Fetched’

Increasing NGOs  to 50,000 not  ‘Far-Fetched’Increasing NGOs  to 50,000 not  ‘Far-Fetched’

The number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Iran should increase from the current 5000 to 50,000, which “is not far-fetched,” says assistant director of NGO affairs and social and cultural advisor to the minister of interior.

In a meeting with NGOs of Yazd Province held at Yazd Farhangian Conference hall, Bahman Meshkini emphasized the role of community based activities in social development, ISNA reported.

Noting that social progress is an important factor in advancement of communities, he underlined the need for NGOs to be set up in every province to facilitate better coordination in activities at the grassroots levels.

Meshkini cited lack of funds “as the main hurdle in the way of establishing NGOs.”

Also present at the meeting was Mohammad Ali Talebi, provincial deputy governor for political, security and social affairs, who also called for assistance in funding of NGOs from the interior ministry.

 Best Province

He pointed to the high level of community based activities in Yazd Province since 1997 especially in the youth arena, and said Yazd is one of the best provinces in this regard with more than 700 NGOs and “many more awaiting government authorization.” He expressed hope that “NGOs would improve constantly in terms of number and quality of work.”

The provincial director of social and cultural affairs also addressed the meeting and underlined the role of NGOs in assisting the government in healthcare, hygiene, preservation of historical buildings, helping the poor, environment protection and disaster management.

Majid Javadianzadeh called the large number of applications for NGO permit “as evidence of the attention devoted to this issue in recent years.”

 Role of NGOs

NGOs play a major role in tackling social problems and raising awareness on various social issues. Campaigning groups have also been key drivers of inter-governmental negotiations, ranging from the regulation of hazardous wastes to a global ban on land mines. Today the role of NGOs in addressing social issues has become all the more apparent.

Numerous issues like road fatalities, air pollution, drug abuse and other social ills are causes for concern. The rising number of AIDS is also cause for alarm among officials and citizens alike.

Khosro Mansourian, a social activist, believes NGOs are instrumental in addressing social ills. “NGOs are a relatively new phenomenon in Iran,” he says.

Mansourian says NGOs should not be dependent on government for their survival or “else they are not NGOs anymore.’’ He expressed satisfaction over the new government initiative to give NGOs more autonomy “to do their work unhampered.”