Fundamentally, there’s a very thin line between Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and Non-Profit Organization (NPO).
According to ‘’ the difference is: “An NGO is an association of person; that works for promoting humanitarian or cooperative objective instead of a commercial one.” On the other hand, the NPO is “an organization which is set up to promote art, science, education or any other social or cultural purpose; that intends to use its profit in the promotion of its objectives instead of dividing it among the members”.
My earliest memories of my maternal grandmother are that of a tall lady with a 2-pocket waist apron that seemed to have a bottomless pit of sweeties.  Her salt and pepper hair always parted from the top of forehead to the nape of her neck, two long plaits hanging almost to her waist, wrapped and tied at both ends in colourful fabric. She had a burnt tan complexion.  She was soft-spoken and everything she shared was notably, plain and ‘stingingly’ wise.  I share this because she was my 1st teacher and introduction into developing my sense of compassion as being raised around her stanch Catholic home, it was not about the riches one accumulated but how much was shared with the less fortunate.
Most of us can attest, no matter what station one is, there’s always someone less fortunate that needs a helping hand.  Most of us can attest, no matter what station of life one finds itself, there’s always someone less fortunate that could use a helping hand.  Some are born with a passion to lend a hand and I do feel an obligation to do my fraction to leave this world a better place than I found it.
In my over four decades of being a part of various community non-profit organizations, I have never held a paid position.  I did once receive, remuneration for an extensive study I contributed to and donated most of it to keep a charity I chaired rolling.
Not to underestimate the male gender in NPOs, but IMHO, the females are tasked with the administrative planning, fundraising etc or what I like to call ‘de donkey’ work.  Most NGO/NPO must fundraise to maintain their survival. The fortunate few that don’t, usually boast a substantial donor, the benefactor of deceased inheritance or a wealthy family offspring needing to find impressive philanthropic career for Chelsea or JR.
In Bermuda we are fortunate than most of the non-profits are directed by women at the executive level.  The issues IMHO are that we need to prepare the next generation towards careers in the third sector.  Non-profits should not be viewed as a “white privileged” opportunity nor an “inherited position.”  By inherited, I’m referring to the “higher shelf charities” boards of directorship not “nepotis-ing” the ‘highly paid’ executive positions.
Internationally women are successfully heading NGOs but unfortunately not gaining recognition for their “Statistical” works.  On the global scene, thankfully many women are actually heading NGOs, addressing women issues, such a female sex trafficking and female genital mutilations.  From the painstaking hard-work of these women, many countries have enacted laws to stop the horrifying female genital mutilations, child brides and enabling young girls to be equally educated as boys.
It would be remiss of me not to give honourary mention in my recognition of International Women’s Day 2019 of the courageous and youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. At age 15 she was shot and left for dead for her struggles in addressing human rights injustices and helping young girls and women get an education in her homeland, Pakistan.
There are numerous studies of various health, populations and global issues and as valuable they are, the advancing of the bare rights of women and girl children worldwide is inept. We have come a long way, but there’s still a long of work to be done for the duly rightful equal position for women.
To our private sector donors and investors, we thank you, especially when you support the “grassroots charities”; without your generous donations many would wouldn’t be able to offer their needed services for the community.
On a final note my maternal grandmother at the tallest height in life was 5ft 3ins tall.
Submitted by Ercinda Marina Swan, JP – Chairperson and Co-Founder of Project Action