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Durham e-Theses
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Bearers of change: the field workers of NGOs in Bangladesh

Ahmad, Mokbul Morshed (2001) Bearers of change: the field workers of NGOs in Bangladesh. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The importance of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) m development to most 'aid' agencies is said to have been generated by the failure of the state in reaching and providing certain basic services to the poor and the disadvantaged Although many NGOs in Bangladesh have shown some success in reaching the poor, organising them to raise awareness of education and providing microcredit, the vast majority of the poorest in Bangladesh have remamed beyond their reach The dependency of the NGOs on donors, lack of accountability and loss of quality in service provision during scaling up are the major problems for the NGOs in Bangladesh Except for missionary NGOs like MCC most NGOs m Bangladesh are preoccupied with microcredit which is mainly driven by NGOs search for self-reliance and for good performance indicators Field workers could be the movers and shakers of NGOs They implement the policies of NGOs but unfortunately they are rarely consulted during the making of these policies Above all their problems and opinions remain unheard and unaccounted for Very little research has been conducted on them in both North and South and even less m Bangladesh The research has a multiple methodology which includes questionnaire survey semi structured interviews, securing life histories in order to address the interfaces between the field worker with his/her clients and superiors Most field workers come from the rural middle or lower middle class Most wanted government jobs and fell back on NGO work when they failed to obtain them Most of those who by the time they reach the age of 40 have failed to get promoted either leave voluntarily or are made redundant Field workers of small NGOs try to switch over to large and international NGOs in search of higher job security and salary and benefits Due to high unemployment in the country instead of creating a stable and more skilled workforce NGOs often abandon then: long service field workers in order to recruit cheaper younger field workers The personal problems of field workers include job insecurity financial difficulties and risks associated with accommodation, child-care and children s education These problems are more severe for women field workers and are associated with issues related to their gender The professional problems of these field workers include poor or incorrect training heavy workloads, corrupt and limited promotion opportunities, irregular and undesirable transfers, low status at work, difficult external relationships, etc Again there are gender differences in these problems Yet with all these personal and professional problems, field workers are central to NGO performance It is the strengths of the field workers which make this possible This study calls for better utilisation of these strengths by the NGOs The poor relationship between field workers and their superiors can be tackled by better management in the NGOs A major challenge for the NGOs in Bangladesh is to become less bureaucratic, this supposed to be one of their comparative advantages over the state I also found that there is a big gap between what NGOs do and what then- field workers think ought to be done This underscores the necessity of more discussion with fieldworkers in policy making implementation and evaluation of the activities of NGOs

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2001
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:46

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