Monday, March 07, 2005

Charities and charitable giving in Oman (Part II)

I wonder if charitable organizations and NGO's in Oman are obliged by law to make their audited accounts available to the public. For example, say I want to become a member of a charity and I want to help them by giving a monthly amount, am I allowed to ask for their accounts so that I can get an idea how much money they got in donations last year and what they spent it on?

The reason I ask this because I have nagging suspicion that some charities are spending too much on unimportant items, or are hoarding money that should be spent on immediate projects. I am also incensed with some charities whose management are paid salaries even though they can afford to be full time volunteers.

Another issue that bugs me is when certain charities become hip and become the focus of all attention when it comes to fund raising. For example in the past few years the Early Intervention Center for Children with Special Needs has been the beneficiary of quite a few events. In fact there's even a fashion show next week which will benefit the center. I have nothing against this center, in fact I think it's a great cause and I'm buying OD tickets for the show too. But is the center getting a disproportionate amount just because it's the charity of the moment or is it all happening just because the people behind it are more active and more creative than the people behind the other charities?

Finally, there's the issue of charities and NGO's which aren't doing enough to further their cause. For example, in Oman we have a  very large number of disabled people. This is due to different factors both genetic and also the extremely high number of car accidents. How come in all the years of the Oman Association for the Disabled (OAD), they haven't managed to lobby the government into making accessibility laws for wheel chairs? I was saddened a few years ago when I was told that one of the board members of the OAD showed up at the opening of Shatti cinema and found out that it wasn't wheel chair accessible. They found a way to get him in through the back door, but there were as no place for wheel chairs inside the cinema so they had to put him in the front row. Much as I was pissed off at the news, my first question was "what is OAD going to do about it?" Sadly, whatever it is that they did, wasn't enough. Nothing has changed.

5 comments:

Najah said...

Ok this is my passion!
I have been away for so long from Oman but eeeh i have so much in mind for this particular OCD thingie! They need a transformation of Disable laws in Oman. Car seat should be a law and a fine should be placed to those who dont obey the rule...etc
That intervention center is getting alot of charities from everywhere and yet u can't even check out their website. I know someone who is working on it now but it is been years lefted like that. The director Mrs.Masooma is trying and doing her best especially now but they need locals more to function better.

Najah said...

sorry that OCD was a typo, i meant OAD.

OceanDream said...

The OAD is a good society with a noble cause. I know they mean well, but the problem there is that the number of people who actually do something useful, you can count on the fingers of one hand and still have some to spare. They have some board members who are very close to my heart and whom I have great admiration for.

I volunteered there for a few years and spent so much time with them. After a while, I felt that alot of the burden and the hard work was dumped on the shoulders of just a few people. Myself included. Which I didn't really mind at first. But after a while, you start to get frustrated that the only time you saw most of the members was when there was a party or an official event. Most of them aren't there when you are taping boxes together, filling them with food, and making trips with your own car to places you never knew existed, trying to get food to disabled families in need.

After I got married, I had less time on my hand to spare. Then we went away for a year, and now we started ESO, so I hardly have anything to do with OAD. But, I do miss the good people there. Mohammed Kalbani, Saeed Bada3i, Saeed Malki, Ahmed Al Badi, Marhoun, Amal (who left to work elsewhere).. Those are just a few of the names you can find there and whose dedication to this cause is definately noteworthy. They really need people who can help them.

nomadica said...

One reason why I think the Early Intervention Centre has managed to get so much attention is because of their great PR. I work in the media and I remember when they had their first few events, the group did some great press outreach in a very professional manner, compared to what I've seen from other non-profits. They also launched with a detailed website (although from the posts here it seems like they havent updated it for ages) but I'm talking about their early days and I think their PR was done especially well around then.

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