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Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)

  • By: Kathleen O'Reilly
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are nonprofit associations that function independently of institutionalized government structures. NGOs are major players on the global stage because of their numbers and the extensive reach of their activities, often in remote areas with populations overlooked by the state and other organizations. For these reasons, it is important to understand the breadth of NGO activities, explore their history, and be familiar with the praise and criticism directed at these powerful organizations. Although they are grouped under a single, broad description, individual NGOs vary greatly with respect to their objectives, approach, culture, and scale at which they work. NGOs are influenced by the context where they work; their approach and capability vary greatly from place to place.

NGOs have a wide variety of objectives. ...

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