Role of non-state organizations in strengthening social capital: case study of Mansehra district of KP province, Pakistan
The building of functional linkages between non-profit/non-state organizations and other collaborators at various levels is a necessity to benefit the welfare of the rural poor. Pakistan is also embracing its inclusion in the list of economies that are considered to have weak social capital. Strengthening of social capital has a valuable contribution by the NGOs especially in the rangelands of Pakistan. The current study is designed to examine the role of non-governmental and non-state organizations in building up social capital. Data were taken from three different localities in the Mansehra district of Hazara region in Pakistan adopting qualitative and quantitative approaches. A weak organizational infrastructure in terms of horizontal and vertical principles (transparency, viability, integrity, accountability etc.) was found in all three study areas. The access to social capital at sites I & II obtained 1.98 and 1.78 respectively and residents of site III were found deprived. The study showed that rural people with low income (often referred to as poor) have lower social incomes compared to people with high- and medium-income levels (often referred as well off and better off). The limitations of time availability and social confidence results in no contact or social interaction among poor. A significant role of NGOs has been observed in bringing poor and oppressed people into mainstream social capital. The study delineates the increased involvement of registered and unregistered local groups/organizations in the development of rural community. Findings of the research also conclude that local community groups are more vital than that of the registered organizations due to their informal culture and true representation of practical needs of the community. The volunteers played an important role in creating social grants, and their inclusion in the form of a comprehensive social capital plan will result in refinement of services and overall betterment of society.
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