NGOs

by Jinryu

So, I’ve been working for an NGO for about a month now, pro bono. A few thoughts.

These organisations are insanely underfunded. I think that’s the main thing. Now that I’m part of the process, I understand how lobbying the government for legislative reform works– but the incredible thing is that it’s usually a handful of individuals who are doing crazy hours micromanaging. To put it in perspective, the organization I work for represents one of the few national children’s legal voices in the country– so when the federal government is thinking of proposing a consolidated anti-discrimination legislation, they made a call for submissions regarding the topic. There are over 50 questions that the government poses, and wants answers from the submissions. Our NGO is basically going to tackle 4, 5 tops.

Despite that the NGO I work for is a pretty active and well known one, the fact is that a submission of incredible inportance for human rights in australia is being worked on by only 4 people– the overseeing solicitor, who is directing the initiative, the NGO’s director, who is offering general, high level guidance, and two unpaid interns (one of which is me).

So…. we’re talking about possibly one of the biggest reforms in anti-discrimination law in the past 20 years– and the task falls on essentially one lawyer and two student volunteers?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the state of activism.

Everyone goes out on the streets and bitches and moans about how this or that needs to be done– so then, why are we only 3 people working on this huge project?

Because people are doing the fashionable, hipster, bitching and moaning. I was kind of reluctant to point fingers too hard at first, but now that I’m knee deep in the politics of it, I’m ready to point away.

For those of you who want to make changes– “spreading the word” isn’t enough. You people need to put your educations and skills to good use– be efficient with your efforts, and attack surgicially. Show some discipline for your causes. Learn to play this game, because there aren’t nearly enough people on this team who are walking all that talk.