Observer Roundtable Conference "NGOs in Oman: Challenges and solutions"

28 October 2014, 9:58 am Written by 
Published in MCBS Events
Read 71200 times Last modified on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 10:01

MUSCAT — The 9th Observer Roundtable Conference titled “NGOs in Oman: Challenges and solutions” will be organised tomorrow at the Modern College of Business and Science in Bausher. Organised in cooperation with the MCBS and AMIDEAST, the roundtable will focus on challenges facing Non-governmental organisations in Oman and their solutions. The event seeks to provide an opportunity for the participants and attendees to explore ways of enhancing the role of civil society and other stakeholders in expanding the scope of NGO works.

Bringing together representatives from the Government, national and international NGOs, MCBS students and faculty, and Observer journalists and readers, the event aims at, among other issues, exploring and advocating “untapped links” between the civil society and NGOs.

The event, which is open to all, begins at 11 am and will feature several prominent speakers from a variety of fields, including Shamsa al Harthy, Director, Associations and Community Clubs, Ministry of Social Development; Sarah Jackson, Country Director, AMIDEAST; Atifa al Lawatia, Deputy Chairperson, Omani Women Association; Sabah al Bahlani, CEO, Association for Early Intervention for Children with Special Needs; Javed Nawaz, MD, Agro-Development; and Observer’s editor-in-Chief Abdullah bin Salim al Shueili.
A roundtable conference on NGOs has been long overdue. NGOs are increasingly assuming much importance in several parts of the world because many of them are efficient and effective, and at the same time independent, innovative and responsive to the problems of civil society in general and its weaker sections in particular.

The growth of such NGOs in recent times has earned them a distinctive place within civil society. They have done good work in areas such as relief, rehabilitation, health, education, development, peace, human rights, and environmental protection, using finance raised from voluntary, private sources, and donor agencies, and managing themselves autonomously at local, national and international levels.
There are also concerns. For example, some NGOs, who are linked in dependent roles with their principle donors elsewhere in the world, seek to influence local public opinion in favour of their own agenda. They use their clout as political and social actors to serve the interests of their donors rather than being real partners in progress and nation building of the host country.

Also, while they expect everything free from the government and civil society, they sell their services and products at hefty prices.
In the past the NGOs’ role was clearly confined to “care and welfare”, but nowadays some of them seem to be organisations which are working for structural change in society by influencing local public opinion.
The Observer roundtable seeks to explore how NGOs can help advance Oman’s social welfare, charity programmes and economic diversification. The roundtable participants will present several informed perspectives on the subject of NGOs and their significance in promoting social cohesion and equity.


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