As World Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) Day held yesterday, Executive Director of EGO Foundation, Toluwase Olaniyan and Director, NerdzFactory Foundation, Ade Olowojoba, canvassed better living standard for Nigerians.

In their goodwill messages, they noted that NGOs exist to combat poverty, assist refugees, provide free medicare, promote gender equality, raise awareness of climate change, support alternative energy research and sources, safeguard the environment, promote sustainable trade and consumption, as well as encourage more equal and sustainable ways of life.

Speaking on this year’s theme, ‘The role and influence of NGOs in advancing human rights and achieving sustainable development goals’, Olaniyan observed that NGOs live to protect citizens’ individual dignity when threatened.

He added that NGOs are active in preventing and preserving individual human rights, providing immediate aid to those whose rights have been violated, advocating for changes to national, regional or international law, contributing to the development of substantive guidelines, as well as fostering public awareness and respect for human rights.

As a social entrepreneur, Olaniyan hinted that he had led initiatives and collaborated with many NGOs in raising awareness on important government initiatives relating to trainings and capacity building.

“NGO like EGO Foundation continuously invests in the human capital growth of Nigeria’s women, girls and other young people to create shared prosperity as a way to ensure economic stability for many in underserved communities,” he clarified.
Also, Olowojoba submitted that the role of NGOs in advancing human right and sustainable development could not be overemphasised, as they are pivotal to the crusade of ending child abuse, female genital mutilation and providing access to education and economic activities in Nigeria.

Some of the crucial roles NGOs play in advancing human development includes: providing information dissemination and advocacy for key issues in the society, including environmental, social, economic and human rights,” he added.

Every February 27 is a date set aside to recognise, celebrate and honour contributions and profound impact that these independent organisations have had on the world.

Social entrepreneur, Marcis Liors Skadmanis, who founded World NGO Day in 2009, said the holiday was officially declared back in 2010 by the 12 member nations of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum, recognised as a partner of the Council of the Baltic States but the Day was observed for the first time on February 27, 2014

According to United Nations (UN) Department of Global Communications, an NGO is a not-for-profit voluntary citizen’s group set up at a local, national or international level to address issues in support of the public good

To the World Bank, there are two types of NGOs – the operational which focuses on designing and implementing development-related projects and advocacy NGO – which promotes specific causes that impact public policy. In the United States, there are approximately 1.5 million NGOs in existence.