What is a nongovernment organization?

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A nongovernment organization is an association which

  • is based on the common interests of its members, individuals, or institutions
  • has no governmental status or function, and
  • is not created by a government, nor is its agenda set or implemented by a government.
Also known as:



Here are some functions of nongovernment organizations:

  • Most larger nongovernment agencies are involved in aid and relief.
  • Other nongovernment organizations have a major role in developing human resources among minorities by

    • delivering services at the local level
    • helping community organization
    • promoting education, and
    • working for intangible benefits such as cultural self-esteem.
  • Many are especially strong in addressing issues at the community level such as

    • adult education
    • income generation
    • organization of savings and credit societies
    • primary health care, or
    • small-scale agricultural production.
  • They may work cooperatively with governments.

Nongovernment organizations exist at all levels of society. Some may contribute importantly to local-language literacy.


Here are some kinds of nongovernment organizations:


Level of Society

Kinds of organizations


  • Churches
  • Cultural associations
  • Farmers' clubs
  • Language committees
  • Savings groups
  • Women's groups


  • Adult education associations
  • Churches
  • Housing associations
  • Linguistic organizations
  • Professional groupings
  • Rural development organizations
  • Translation organizations


  • Development and aid organizations (CAFOD, OXFAM, Red Cross, Save the Children, and World Vision)
  • Federations of associations
  • Linguistic organizations
  • Translation organizations

SIL and the various NBTO s associated with SIL are all classified as NGOs.

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