The effectiveness of civil society organizations in promoting social change.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE EXPERIMENT
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have an ever-increasing role in global governance and development. In a number of nations, CSOs have emerged as key players in the delivery of social services and the implementation of other national development projects, filling in the gaps left by States when they fail to meet the needs of their residents (Ulanga, 2009).
First, CSOs engage in local and national activities. They offer a variety of services to the general public, government agencies, and even corporations. In a number of nations, they play a crucial role in the delivery of social, cultural, and welfare services, whether as an independent, self-funded organization or in collaboration with national and local governments and public bodies. Thus, they are involved in public missions and services that face new problems and may undergo radical transformations in the future. The evolution of CSOs and their partnership with the state on governance concerns has been largely influenced by the socioeconomic and political climate (Kiondo, 2004).
According to Diamond (1999), a thriving civil society is essential to the growth of any nation. Studies have demonstrated that civil society organizations have a crucial role in the political, social, and economic development of African nations.
Prior to independence, approximately 51 religious, labor, linguistic, and ethnic organizations and dancing clubs dominated. Several studies demonstrate, however, that even those few organizations that were vociferous and independent during the war for independence were eventually banned when the country adopted a single-party system, while others were decentralized and came under state control. For instance, the Ruvuma Development Association was outlawed in 1969 because regional authorities viewed its emphasis on autonomy and democracy as a danger (LHRC, 2011).
According to Kiondo (2004), Nigeria saw significant social, economic, and political transition in the late 1980s and 1990s. In the economic realm, the country shifted from a centralized economic system to economic liberalization, and in the political realm, it shifted from a single-party system to a multiparty one. This new focus made room for civic associations as a form of voluntary action. In the 1980s and 1990s, Nigeria witnessed an extraordinary increase in the number of civil society organizations (CSOs).
While some CSOs conduct important work advocating for the rights of vulnerable people, including women and children, others deal with good governance and measures for reducing poverty (Civicus, 2008). In Nigeria, for instance, political parties and a variety of other CSOs have provided opposition to the ruling political party since the country’s independence in 1961. Close to the once-every-five-years general elections, a number of CSOs work to educate voters on election-related issues, and during elections, they assist in the monitoring of the electoral process. Some CSOs have been actively involved in ensuring that the benefits of economic reforms reach the populace at the grassroots level through projects such as public expenditure monitoring (PETS) (Civicus, 2011).
Since more than two decades ago, the globalization movement has influenced the socioeconomic environment of nations. While globalization provides new opportunities for economic development through trade liberalization, foreign direct investment, capital flows, information exchange, and technological transfer, it has resulted in increased deprivation for those nations unable to adapt to the new demands of global society. Thus, although some regions see fast economic growth and wealth, more than a billion people continue to live in poverty with purchasing power of less than one dollar per day. About one-fifth of children in the poorest nations die in their first year of life, almost half of those who survive are malnourished, and a large section of the population lacks access to clean water, sanitation, basic health services, and education.
1.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM
The government continues to mistrust them and misunderstand their duties, despite the fact that many civil society organizations in the country work to influence the government and policymakers on various matters of public interest. Many CSOs are concerned that while the government has changed its attitude towards the private sector as a development partner, it has not changed its attitude towards Civil Society Organizations (Ingelstam and Karlstedt, 2007).
Despite the fact that a number of research have contributed to our understanding of the key difficulties facing CSOs in Nigeria, the majority of these studies have not assessed the effectiveness of CSOs in promoting social change. This has encouraged the researcher to conduct an analytical evaluation of the effectiveness of civil society organizations (particularly the Nigeria Labor Congress) in promoting social change.
Governments all across the world have undertaken policies that are generally regarded as unpopular, insensitive, and antithetical to the public interest in an effort to accomplish these functions. Some governments have also taken steps that have unintentionally violated the rights and liberties of the people. Nonetheless, other government measures have also been deemed environmentally unfavorable. In actuality, it is undisputed that a few government initiatives may occasionally cause temporary troubles for the populace. In general, however, the long-term benefits that society may get from such programs are sometimes incalculable.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness of civil society organizations in promoting social change, using Nigeria Labor Congress as a case study. Among the specific aims of this study are the following:
Determine how the Nigerian Labor Congress feels about the need to promote social change.
Determine the areas in which the Nigeria Labor Congress has been successful in fighting for social change.
To evaluate the mechanisms employed by the Nigeria Labor Congress to advocate for social change.
Examine the issues preventing Nigeria Labor Congress from campaigning for social change.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following are the pertinent research questions linked to this study:
What does the Nigeria Labor Congress believe about the necessity of pushing for social change?
In what areas has the Nigeria Labor Congress been successful in promoting social change?
What mechanisms does the Nigeria Labor Congress utilize to advocate for social change?
What issues prevent the Nigeria Labor Congress from campaigning for social change?