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International faith based charities and Global Civil Society

Global civil society is one of the most complex and contested idea of the 21st century.  The term has been used in multiple ways in many public discourses, media and academia. It has currently taken centre stage due to increasing number and activities of international NGOs. With all the ambiguity in conceptualization of global civil society, the term can be described as ‘’vast, interconnected and multi-layered social space that comprises many hundred of thousands of self directing or non-governmental institutions or way of life….they deliberately organize themselves and conduct their cross-border social activities, business and politics outside the boundaries of governmental structures, with minimum violence and maximum respect for the principles of civilised power-sharing among different ways of life’’ (Keane,2003,20).

The concept of global civil society invites is also related to the current world order and the development challenges which require cooperation from various organisations at global scale. In the context of globalization, it can be referred to as a ‘’ process through which groups, movements and individuals can demand a global rule of law, global justice and global empowerment’’ (Kaldor 2005: 20).  International NGOS are important actors of the global development network as they delivery humanitarian services for the betterment of societies world-wide. With new technologies and advancement in communication industries, social activities can be organised across the world. The transnational nature of NGOs provides opportunities to create networks amongst international as well national NGOs, professional organisations and cooperation with state governments to address crucial humanitarian development issues. It also places great responsibilities on them to be more transparent in implementing their charitable tasks.

The increasing level of humanitarian crises and development challenges of poverty, food crisis, water storage and natural disasters require the system and network of global civil society to be stronger.The worldwide system through which International charities carry out development activities fortifies their capacity to collect, collate and publicise major development issues. Furthermore, the accessibility of international development agencies at grass root level and their knowledge, as well as expertise assists in providing sustainable solutions to essential development challenges. Building cross-border networks for charitable purposes means that International agencies have to work within a moral and ethical framework where the welfare of human beings is the main focus. The entry into global civil society network aims at collaborating with the state government in offering practical solutions to pertaining socio-economic issues without any political agendas and prejudice. International non government agencies serve as important global institutions where states are in need of assistance to offer basic public services like health, education and water and sanitation facilities. Such organisations which are an integral part of global civil society require state permission to operate, volunteers who are willing to serve in disaster areas and life threatening regions as well as donors for continuous flow of funds. Without the existence of such networks of International NGOs, millions of people globally would not have access to emergency relief and development resources.

Many faith based organizations are a part of Global Civil Society system and Muslim Aid is one of faith charities that are providing emergency relief and long-term development activities in over 70 developing countries.

*The copyright of this article is held by the Information and Public Affairs Department of Muslim Aid, UK. Use of its contents is allowed subject to acknowledgement. The opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent the point of view of Muslim Aid.


Amal Imad

Information & Public Affairs Department

Muslim Aid

We are a faith-based British international charity that provides help to people who are victims of natural disasters or conflict or suffering from poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, injustice, deprivation or lack of skills and economic opportunities.

020 7377 4200

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