The phrase “non-governmental organization” came into use with
the establishment of the United Nations Organization in 1945 with
provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter.
The term describes a consultative role for organizations that are
neither government nor member states of the UN.
have a long history dating back to at least 1839 but the importance
of NGOs rise only at the 20th century. Since then NGOs are trying to
solve many problems that governments either will not, or cannot
solve. They have been working with the developing countries to
improve their socio-economic condition including alleviating mass poverty, child education, child protection, health awareness,
sanitation, family planning and many other issues.
principle, an NGO does not have to register itself to perform
charitable, welfare or developmental activities. However, there are
some specific types of activities that can only be carried out if the
NGO is registered under the country's specific acts or laws governing
Today, according to
the UN, any kind of private organization that is independent from
government control can be termed an "NGO", provided it is
not-for-profit, non-criminal and not simply an opposition political
A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a non-profit,
citizen-based group that functions independently of government. NGOs,
sometimes called civil societies, are organized on community,
national and international levels to serve specific social or
political purposes, and are cooperative, rather than commercial, in
An NGO is recognized international if it has at least two foreign
members (individuals or organizations). It should be open to all who
conform with the regulations of its activities. The NGO itself is an
organization not aspiring to make a profit, although it is free to carry
on any economic, business or commercial activity, on the condition that
any profits are used to finance the pursuit of the common- or
public-interest objectives for which the NGO was set up.
While the term "NGO" has various interpretations, it is
generally accepted to include private organizations that operate
without government control and that are non-profit and non-criminal.
Other definitions further clarify NGOs as associations that are
non-religious and non-military.
Some NGOs rely primarily on volunteers, while others support a
paid staff. As non-profits, NGOs rely on a variety of sources for
funding, including membership dues, private donations, the sale of
goods and services, and grants.
NGOs are not legal
entities under international
law, like states are.