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Organizations which are independent of government involvement are known as non-governmental organizations or NGOs or non-government organizations. NGOs are a subgroup of organizations founded by citizens, which include clubs and associations which provide services to its members and others. They are usually nonprofit organizations. Many NGOs are active in humanitarianism or the social sciences. Surveys indicate that NGOs have a high degree of public trust, which can make them a useful proxy for the concerns of society and stakeholders. However, NGOs can also be lobby groups for corporations, such as the World Economic Forum. According to NGo_Org (the non-governmental organizations associated with the United Nations), "[an NGO is] any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level ... Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information."Russia had about 277,000 NGOs in 2008. India is estimated to have had about two million NGOs in 2009 (approximately one per 600 Indians), many more than the number of the country's primary schools and health centers. The term "NGO" is used inconsistently; it is sometimes a synonym for a civil society organization, any association founded by citizens. NGOs are known in some countries as nonprofit organizations, and political parties and trade unions are sometimes considered NGOs. NGOs are classified by orientation and level of operation; orientation refers to the type of activities an NGO undertakes. Activities may include human rights, consumer protection, environmentalism, health, or development. An NGO's level of operation indicates the scale at which an organization works: local, regional, national, or international.

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