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In the Kingdom of Bahrain, the history of NGOs began in the late 1950s with the formation of the Law of Clubs and Societies, a law for organized voluntary social activities. Late in the 1980s, another law was formed under the name “Law of Social and Cultural Societies and Clubs associations”. This law attracted the formation of NGOs in the Kingdom of Bahrain, especially the charity societies, which reached around 80 societies in the year 2006. Ministry of Social Development Bahrain believes in the importance of the civil societies and NGOs in developing and enhancing society as a whole entity. Therefore, in addition to its regulatory duties, the ministry continues supporting the NGOs to recognize their stated goal. Compared to governmental organizations, NGOs are less bureaucratic. They are very much concerned about the daily lives of people and communities, and this makes them highly prepared to “speak and act on behalf of the chosen causes”.
One of the NGO licensed under the Ministry of Social Development is the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS). MWPS is the only local, registered NGO in Bahrain that works exclusively in support of expatriate workers of all nationalities. Their mission statement is to seek to help expatriate workers in Bahrain achieve their basic human rights in accordance with internationally recognized standards. The main objectives of MWPS are to help educate and guide expatriate workers to understand their rights and responsibilities, to create public awareness about the abuse and exploitation of expatriate worker and to explain the community’s role in combating it, and lastly to advocate to government authorities and institution on behalf of the expatriate workers community. The executive committee of MWPS 2017-2019 starts with Marietta Dias as the Chairperson, who is a founding member of MWPS. Standing Vice-Chairperson since 2011, Noora Feleyfel who was also a member of the Bahrain Committee to combat trafficking in persons from 2010 to 2015 where she represented MWPS. Then, Katharine Ball the General Secretary, Susan Marie Martin the Assistant General Secretary, Kopal Shah the Treasurer, Nazar Hassan the Assistant Treasurer, Florine Mathias as the Head of the Shelter Committee, Zuhair Katib Ahmed the Head of Labor Safety and Welfare Committee, Helen the Head of Fundraising and Awareness Committee, Evone Baskaran the Head of Action Committee and Ali Zeinudin the Assistant Head of Action Committee. All the members work on a voluntary basis around the clock to support the plights of migrant workers. They currently have more than 50 members from Australia, Bahrain, Britain, Canada, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and the US.
Another NGO that is well known in Bahrain is Woman’s Crisis Care International (WCCI). WCCI is the first and only violence crisis response center in the Arabian Gulf. The mission is to provide violence crisis response service for victims of domestic and sexual abuse in the Kingdom of Bahrain via 24hours operated helpline. WCCI was founded in Bahrain in 2015 and began full-scale operations in January of 2016. It has a team of over 100 people, including more than 115 volunteer certified advocates. Among the group, there are 20 languages spoken and a wide range of skills and expertise. The objectives of WCCI are to provide ongoing medium and long term casework management for advocacy clients who need or want a higher level care, after their initial interactions with the advocate and to provide a wide variety of community awareness and educational programs which can include institutional support for hospitals, government institutions, schools or other relevant groups that are looking to initiate gender based violence response or other advocacy programming. The Founder and CEO of WCCI is Mary-Justine Todd who is an international humanitarian expert consultant, with more than ten years of experience. And then there is the Case Manager, Rawan Atiyani who is a licensed crisis care advocate, two Program Assistants, Noora Al Moosa and Tessa O’Neil, Volunteer Coordinator, Zoe Jarvis, and lastly Fatima Radhi the Social Media Coordinator. The WCCI crisis advocates consists of a diverse group of committed and dedicated women from all walks of life. There are lawyers, housewives, college students, social workers, PhDs, MDs, and many more.
Historically, many NGOs have been behind their corporate counterparts in adopting computers and have been relatively slow to take advantage of emerging technology. Most of the NGOs adopt the traditional methods by using computers for word processing, spreadsheet and accounting applications, and managing a patchwork which replaced file documents, manual calculation and a huge cupboard to safe keep the files and documents. Team members still meet up in physical location to discuss strategies. Personal computers in general and the Internet in particular remain difficult for novice to use. Typing is slow process for many, and efforts to simplify interfaces collide with rapidly expanding operating systems that automate increasingly more tasks. E-mail, which appears to be primary use of the Internet in many organizations, offers somewhat less robust support for non-Western languages than the web. This totally affected the purpose and delayed time work in realizing the organization’s objectives.
In recent years the Western philanthropic community has worked to expand computer technology in terms of Internet connectivity to non-governmental organizations in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Internet is the perfect medium for NGOs to get their message out. Human right organizations and charitable organizations increasingly have web pages and communicate through e-mail with their Western donors. Such efforts certainly facilitate contacts among regional organizations, and create access to resources that may be hard to come amongst many small organizations. The technological developments of the last two decades, combined with increased literacy, have completely changed the development of these non-profitable organizations. Computer technology and its information systems has improved productivity, increased the overall effectiveness through better collaboration, and extended services to new communities in need.
A NGO information system is much more than just a database. It is a set of processes, tools and standards that allow organizations to manage information strategically, work efficiently and safely, and communicate effectively about human right problems. The implementation of information system is different in different NGOs depending on the structure of the organization, reporting procedures, core activities, nature of projects, hierarchy of data urgency and importance and so on. For instance, WCCI provides locations of free food under the ‘Feed the Need Refrigerators’ program. WWCI are dedicated to helping over 17 charities offer food for people in need through an automated, online catalog and inventory system. This information system has been beneficial to the organization by being efficient while maintain a minimum number of works and volunteers.
Furthermore, the organization also uses a global technology platform to optimize the use of its resources, gain more efficiencies, and reduce cost. By proper management of information systems, the organization benefits in gaining better insight into how to deploy its volunteers more effectively and to redirect the resulting cost-savings into making a tangible difference in women’s lives. Moreover WCCI has key partners who sponsors their activities whom are the Bahrain Financial Harbour and American Mission Hospital Bahrain. WCCI have collected thousands of testimonies and violations and have been carefully organized in a database and can be easily retrieved by theme, by date, by type of violation or by any other useful way in the website. Their key partners can visit the organization’s website and sign up for email alerts, which send them updates straight to their inbox which is an excellent way to increase donor satisfaction in an effort to retain donor. Similarly, returning visitors of the website increase the visibility of the NGO resulting in more donations.
On the other hand, the information management required for MWPS is different in ways that the organization receives donation from the King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, through the Ministry of Social Development and online donation. The IS benefits the organization to retain donors by contributing in higher efficiency and more presentable cases which increases the reputation and credibility of the organization. Also, additional fund is raised through fund-raising activities such as Gala dinner and charity auction. In such situation, the information system is very beneficial in helping MWPS to gain competitive advantage in attracting more donor. Through this information systems, MWPS has been able to maximize their donations fund which allows the organization to focus more on projects and ultimately the organization’s vision and mission.
Moving on into daily operations, MWPS provide expatriate workers with translators and members whom actively engage in all follow-up work related to advocacy claims. This involves frequent, often daily visits to police stations, manpower agencies, the Ministry of Labor, embassies, hospitals, Public Prosecution and the courts. MWPS has a verification process to check all cases that are collected, before they are used. The database stores information on the reliability of a source, allowing it to build its reports using the best information it has. IS helps to improve decision making and constructing strategic planning for the respective cases.
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