Putin: SONGOs more effective than official bodies
Socially-orientated NGOs can spend State resources more effectively than Government agencies, says Vladimir Putin
Speaking at a meeting of the “Community” forum for socially active citizens held in the Federation’s Public Chamber in Moscow on 3-4 November, Vladimir Putin admitted that current State support for socially-orientated NGOs hasn’t been sufficient, and proposed giving them access to State financial resources that are allocated for social work. He pointed out that these NGOs “are often better than Government or even municipal agencies in understanding and empathising with people’s needs, can respond more effectively to their problems and, in my view, could spend State resources set aside for social projects more efficiently”. Putin added that it was vital to identify those socially-orientated NGOs that are best able to meet the challenges faced by State and municipal agencies. “I think it could be possible to create or select a special group of such NGOs with the requisite skills to undertake special projects and give them access to Government funds earmarked for social purposes”, he added.
There are a number of NGOs which have long been providing a range of services and support to their target audience that Government does not, says Elena Topoleva, a member of the Public Chamber. “For example, no-one is better than NGOs when it comes to committed and compassionate care for autistic children, nor in the rehabilitation of children suffering from rare diseases. We also have no State institutions or structures that could work with the homeless, let alone feed, treat or offer support them in the same way as a shelter, say, can do. There is a special organisation “Volunteers helping child orphans” which organises mass public support to help abandoned children. Wherever there are people in a difficult situation, you will always find an NGO there that is looking out for them”, she added.
These organisations have already proved their professionalism and effectiveness, with most authorities fully aware of what they do, says Topoleva. Such bodies appear where the State struggles to make an impact, or in areas which it simply has been unable to reach. Topoleva believes it is vital to create a way of identifying such NGOs and provide no-strings support to them.
It is important to help these organisations to operate in a sustainable way given they are forced to move from one grant opportunity to another, says Topoleva. “In many ways, it’s a lottery and more down to luck and chance. I know that some bodies get into a panic if they fail to obtain a grant, leaving them very little to live on. So what happens if such an organisation goes under? In such an event, it’s not just the organisation that is lost, but also its staff and volunteers, and above all the people under its care, clients and its very authority. Who else is there in a region that can provide such a service?”
Author: Georgy Ivanushkin