While people know about some established civil society organisations (CSO), many do not know the CSO as a fraternity, a preliminary research done on the perception of CSOs revealed.

Three individuals, a freelance researcher, Tshering Yangden (PhD), the president of Gaeddu College of Business Studies, Sonam Choiden (PhD) and a assistant planning officer at Royal Institute of Management, Dorji Peljor, conducted the research.

Tshering Yangden said that the research aims to understand the perceptions of stakeholders and the general public about the CSO fraternity, especially their presence and contribution to the society and the country.

She said that people know about well established CSO like Tarayana, Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW) and Kidney Foundation but most assume that the CSOs are part of the government.

The Tshering Yangden said that they found that due to lack of exposure, it has been difficult for CSOs to be known to the general public.

She said the research found that the CSOs lack cooperation leading to duplication of work. “Being donor dependent, CSOs also experiences lack of funds. There are constraints in reaching full capacity because of lack of expertise in human resources caused by unattractive remuneration.”

Tshering Yangden said that CSOs are a voluntary socially active group through which people can try to secure rights and interests of people through self-effort, and can compel a government to work as a responsible and accountable representative of the people. “CSOs are effective in fulfilling their own goals of supporting communities in need and complementing government development plans but it is difficult to measure particular CSO’s performances without a detailed study.”

However, she said that CSO as a development partner is viewed as better implementers of projects. “It is seen as a bridge between people and the government because the government cannot reach all corners.”

The study used qualitative method of data collection, interviewing three groups of people: general public, key informants (those involved with CSOs) and focus group.

Participants included 27 members from general public and government, seven key informants and 23 focus group members with 23 male and 21 female. “Semi structured open ended in depth interview questionnaire was used to enhance the discussion results, to obtain an expert assessment of the CSOs in Bhutan and to verify results,” Tshering Yangden said.

To share the findings of the research with CSOs, to get feedbacks and to involve them in the research, the study was presented to various CSOs in Thimphu yesterday.

Sonam Choiden said the study is just a beginning and that it would be improved with further studies in future.

Karma Cheki