Decision making in an NGO : a case study of the Thardeep Rural Development Program (TRDP)

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Policy & Management (MSc Health Policy & Mgmt)


Community Health Sciences


An NGO may be defined as an independent voluntary association of people acting together on a continuous basis, for some common purpose, other than achieving government office, making money or illegal activities. Since the early 1980s, a host of factors has led to the emergence of a strong NGO movement across Pakistan. Due to the tremendous growth of NGOs in Pakistan, and their increasing role and importance in social development, it is required that studies be conducted to understand those factors and processes that can enhance the capacities of NGOs to serve the purpose they are supposed to do. One important area is NGO management and decision-making. We conducted a case study on Thardeep Rural Development Program (TRDP) to explore how decisions are made in this NGO and to relate them to its success. A qualitative case study design was used to explore the decision making in TRDp. TRDP is an NGO that works in district Tharparkar, in the province of Sind. We interviewed communities, staff and members of TRDP Board of Directors and General Body. Data was obtained by reviewing documents, focus goup discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews through a semi-structured session/interview guide. A total of 21 FGDs and 9 semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted during the data collection. Community is involved in decisions of management of PDCs and VDos, needs assessment and priority setting with the field staff. The process of decision-making is participatory. The field teams headed by a Team Leader are involved in needs identification and priority setting with the community and with the program managers in decisions related to the implementation of the Yearly Operational plan (YOP). All these decisions are taken with mutual agreement and consultation. The managers are involved in decisions for the implementation of YOP with the field staff and with the Executive Director in decisions which are not programmed, for which there are no set policies or for which there are no budgeted resources. The Board of Directors reviews and approves the YOP, annual budget and TRDP policies. The General Body is involved in the approval of Annual Audit report, election of Thardeep Board, amendments in TRDP constitution and may give suggestions about the problems of their community. A Team Leader can approve any activity up to Rs. 2000, a program Manger up to Rs. 10,000 and the Executive Director up to Rs. 100,000. Also, decision making has a relation with the success of TRDP. Decision-making in TRDP is decentralized except financial decisions, with participation both from the community and its own staff. Also, decision-making has a relation with the success of an organization. Non-governmental organizations that work for the betterment of its people and wish to be successful should try to be participatory, democratic and maximize peoples involvement in its decisions at all levels.

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