In 2015 there was more than an estimated 100 000 registered non-profit organisations in South Africa. This shows the need of non-profit, non-governmental and other similar community based and oriented organisations. The aim of such aforementioned organisations is to promote justice against social challenges and ills that face communities such as poverty, health care, education, family and substance abuse issues which affect many parts of South Africa.
With the growing numbers of non-profit or governmental organisations and the increasing inequalities, ever growing populations and changing societies this has placed not only community based organisations under pressure but also local or international funders and governments who are the main sources of funding for community based organisations.
Since the 1980s the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other major international financial institutions have made developing countries that are in debt to reduce their public spending.
Not only do all community based organisations provide services that help address the needs and address social injustices such as the lack of education and health services in communities but are also help community members with employment. This has given community based organisations the mandate to address unemployment in the country.
However in many situations it is seen as though that community based organisations tend to provide more employment or working opportunities and a sense of purpose to well-educated individuals and graduates.
This has led community based organisations to be involved in participatory and emancipatory democracy. Participation democracy is all about creating opportunities for all members in society create more spaces for citizen participation and help individuals and communities to make meaningful contributions to decision making.
However if it is seen that community based organisations such as non-government and profit organisations are seemed to be only providing work related opportunities especially for educated individuals in our societies where does this leave the majority of uneducated and poor communities which are a common occurrence in South Africa?
And with less funding from government, the private sector and from international organisations such as the IMF and World Bank can community based organisations open their doors to the public for people to work and help contribute to their lives, professional development, to the community and the economy at large?
How can community based organisations help disempowered and under resourced communities? With little and inconsistent funding it is hard for community based organisations such as SANCA to fully help and go beyond their mandates and help individuals from communities to assist and participate. Community based organisations and their employees are placed in a delicate and tremendously challenging position of trying to achieve their mandates of helping and developing communities while fighting social injustices, issues and while at the same time are placed in cracks of the current local and international systems.
Emancipatory democracy is all about efforts to achieve economic, social, political rights and equality for all. Thus it is up to NGO/NPO and other community based organisations to help provide opportunities for individuals especially those in disadvantaged communities. However with limited funding, managing finances, operational costs and other expenses it is difficult for community based organisations to help people achieve economic, social and political rights and freedoms.
It is up to leaders and management in community based organisations to use the principles of participatory and emancipatory democracy to allow employees, community members and all stakeholders in order to help build people and the community and contribute to the well-being of all. For the effective and impactful contribution to society it is up to community based employees, volunteers and leadership to change and improve structures that can allow individuals to make decisions that will bring meaningful changes that will help develop themselves and communities. Now is the time as organisations, communities and governments to start raising and helping future democratic leaders.
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