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Exploiting NGOs for profit



The going gets tougher by the day for those struggling to alleviate, via legitimate NGOs, the myriad ills faced by those fighting to survive in our increasingly blighted nation: a nation under siege on so many sides at once that not a day passes without a disaster — manmade or environment-related — hitting someone, somewhere, below the belt with yet another vicious blow.

As funding gets harder and harder to obtain, quite a number of NGOs are either being kept afloat by those in charge using their own, personal income or stagnating until scarce donors can be tracked down and projects, be these educational, environmental or otherwise, get — through the dint of extremely hard work and dedication — up and running in their intended direction. A direction in which profit is not the name of the game.

Under the sneaky guise of 'social entrepreneurs' though, a new venture, one directly aimed at exploiting these very NGOs is being put together right now: the fact that if this blatantly exploitative initiative destroys, for financial gain of course, the credibility of the already languishing NGO sector, does not appear to be of the slightest concern to the ' foreign' investors whose 'brainchild' this despicable idea is.

Their idea — the male consortium includes a couple of British born and based Pakistanis, a British Kashmiri and a rather dubious American 'character' dripping gold chains and a Middle Eastern background — intends putting fund-seeking NGOs through a 'reality' television contest, with those able to 'sing for funding' the loudest, winning the donation stakes and making a disgusting mockery of all that remains of charitable and good works in a country — make that 'world' — fuelled by downright greed.

It may sound like a harmless, entertaining idea but the mass-market appeal result promises to be an extremely debilitating affair which, despite the scores of viewers voting by phone or computer, will be marked with inevitable claims of rigging at each and every stage.

Well established internationally known NGOs would, one anticipates, have far more sense than to allow any remaining shreds of priceless dignity and valuable integrity to be exploited to death this way. But the well baited trap, for this is exactly what it is, could prove to be the nail in the coffin for less experienced NGOs struggling to alleviate, for example, poverty and malnutrition in rural or urban areas as, having been made fools of on live television, they are then highly unlikely to be taken seriously when going about their invaluable work: the resultant loss of credibility and perhaps years of precious experience, may be just a part of the 'gamble' by the projected programmes' organisers but could mark the end for the NGO concerned itself, potentially denying assistance to a segment so desperately in need and a segment set to increase by leaps and bounds if prevailing, nationwide circumstances, continue to degenerate with alarming speed.

Profiting from the vulnerable charity section, making 'more' out of the few to the long-term cost of the many, is not — or most certainly should not — be classified as 'entertainment' and 'tasteless' as current societal trends are, it is sincerely hoped that someone in the relevant position takes serious note and, no matter the financial 'enticements', draws a very firm line at this utterly disgraceful, disrespectful and destructive greed.

The Express Tribune



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