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Socially excluded groups and development: creating opportunities for local NGOs to progress

Tackling the issues of social exclusion is important in order to include those social groups facing inequality in different social, economical and political domain of public life. Marginalized or excluded social groups often struggle to find their way to be recognized and acquire skills and knowledge to participate effectively in the society. The social and political structures and systems in place which execute power become the main constraint for the advancement of the excluded groups. In many cases the opportunity to support and guide the excluded groups exists and it is just a matter of taking the responsibility to be the stepping stone for such groups.

In some exceptional cases, it is not only the poor individuals or disabled people that are excluded from the society. Local civil society actors like NGOs are often socially excluded and do not get necessary government support to execute important development projects benefiting the disadvantaged individuals of the society. Civil society organisations can be excluded on the basis of absence of  their track record or lack of fully developed structures. International civil society organisations often provide the supporting mechanism for such excluded local non government institutions by funding those who have the access to other socially excluded groups and the ability to share experience, skills and knowledge. By enabling the local NGOs, the international civil society can not only address the issue of social exclusion and enhancement of social relationships but also empower local institutions for sustainable growth and establishing resilient societies which have the knowledge and expertise to deal with the challenges they face in the ever changing global environment.

Muslim Aid is an NGO which has been working in the area of helping local organisations not only in the UK but also overseas. In Bosina, one of the organisations called Nahla was isolated from the mainstream civil society sector. It was formed by young Bosnian women to help local Muslim women for their growth into stable and responsible community. With the support of Muslim Aid, Nahla has so far conducted a series of professional trainings for 6 organisations in 6 different cities which will help implement projects benefiting women in their communities. The projects entail health, learning English language, social engagement, media campaigning and entrepreneurship.

*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. By: Amal Imad Information & Public Affairs Department Muslim Aid

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