miércoles, 31 de enero de 2007

Chapter three: A Global Associative Revolution

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

Margaret Mead, anthropologist

“Be irritating. If you ever think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito.”

Anita Roddick, creator, The Body Shop

A Global Associative Revolution

“This is the most radical structural change I’ve ever seen. Once millions of people enjoy the freedom to generate a change every time they see a problem, who is going to stop them? If a person is frustrated, there will be hundreds of others looking at that problem in that community and looking for a solution. One of them is going to find it,” affirms Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka, an organization identifying and supporting men and women who develop new ideas aimed at social change. And he knows what he’s talking about.

With a growth rate that’s between 2 and 3 times faster than that of the corporate sector and the rise of thousands of citizen organizations, a real boom has taken place within the last twenty-five years: that of the social sector. And, in every case without exception, the phenomenon is linked to a new reality: the sustained growth of the organized private initiative of citizens working to find answers for the most urgent social issues.

Signs: The boom of the “dot-orgs”

You may remember that, some time ago, talk of the dot-com boom was everywhere; but the interesting question is, did anyone notice the boom of the dot-orgs?

  1. In Brazil, the number of citizen organizations jumped from 5,000 in the early 80s to more than a million in 2005.
  2. In Bangladesh, the greatest part of the country’s development is a direct consequence of the work carried out by 20,000 NGOs, most of them created within the last 25 years.
  3. In Canada, the number of registered citizen groupings has increased over 50% since 1987, reaching a figure of around 200,000.
  4. India boasts more than a million civil organizations.
  5. In the United States, the number of citizen groups went from 64,000 in 1990 to 1,1 million twelve years later. It is no less striking, given the long history of citizen and civil movements in that country, to find that 70% of registered groups were created in the last 30 years.
  6. Between 1988 and 1995, in the former communist countries of Central Europe there appeared 100,000 civil society organizations.

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