Occasional Paper Series on Non-Governmental Organizations

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  • Publication
    NGOs in Latin America
    (1991) Anello, Eloy
    Since the 1950’s, NGOs have featured prominently in education, development and social change movements in Latin America since the 1950’s. This paper provides concrete examples of the roles NGOs have played in research and development. An analysis of NGO characteristics and a functional typology based on their delivery of services, research focus and grassroots action is provided. The NGO phenomenon is an emerging reality of great significance to Latin American development processes. Donor agencies, governments and NGOs themselves are expressing the need to better understand this social phenomenon, which bears promise in its potential capacity to respond to critical development issues at a time when the world is characterized by "the persistence of poverty and the declining availability of financial resources" (Brown & Korten, 1988). The huge number of NGOs, their overwhelming heterogeneity and the diverse contexts in which they operate within Latin America make it extremely difficult to draw generalizations about their reality that would be universally true. Nonetheless, this exploratory discussion paper will attempt to provide a general picture of specific characteristics that depict the nature of NGOs in Latin America and will offer some initial responses to key questions posed by the International Development Research Center of Canada (IDRC). This paper does not pretend to provide definitive answers to these questions, but rather it will share the author's observations and reflections based on personal experience working with various NGOs in Central and South America, a review of the sparse literature that exists on Latin American NGOs, and interviews with directors of NGOs in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru.
  • Publication
    NGOs in the Sahel
    (1991) Otto, Jonathan
    This paper explores NGOs working in natural resources management in the Sahel. By combining historical perspectives and cultural analysis, the paper provides an overview of the issues and actions taken over the past 40 years. Special attention is given to national and international NGOs, grassroots organizations, donors and the governments involved. The Objective of this paper is to situate the NGO movement of the West African Sahel within the context of the evolving regional situation, with particular reference to the paramount concerns for managing natural resources. What is the impetus for the emergence of NGOs and rural organizations, how do national and foreign NGOs relate to each other and to other institutional actors; What are their roles in reshaping local governance of resources; what are the opportunities, responsibilities and risks for NGOs at this juncture. These are the questions we will attempt to address. This survey of NGOs and other major actors involved in natural resource management presents an overview of the complex institutional relationships found in the Sahel. In taking this focus we will touch upon other related issues, such as public finance, economic policy, ethnic factors, the special problems of rural women, pre-colonial history, and technical aspects of agro/silvo/pastoral production systems, among many others. Although the focus on institutions emphasizes political factors, this emphasis in no way denies the environmental, economic, demographic and other factors, contributing to the current crisis in the Sahel. It is hoped that this overview of relationships among institutional actors will open the door to further, more integrated investigation of relationship dynamics and to better understanding of how improved relationships can improve the management of natural resources.
  • Publication
    NGOs in Indonesia
    (1991) Fakih, Mansour
    This paper traces the role of NGOs in development, modernization and capitalism in Indonesia. It offers a typology of alternative NGO structures and paradigms which allows NGOs to transform development, involve people and create a counter-hegemonic movement. The past two decades have witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of NGOs operating in the Third World. In 1981 Development Cooperation Review estimated that as many as 8,000 well-established NGOs were engaged in relief and development work worldwide. These organizations were providing US 3.6 billion in annual support to development programs, two thirds of which came from private sources. This constitutes nearly ten percent of global development assistance. In 1985 the lives of more than 100 million peasants in Latin America, Africa and Asia were directly affected by NGO activities. These peasants are increasingly aware that just as others have escaped the vicious cycle of poverty by their actions, so can they. NGOs are a relatively new type of organization. Motivated by service objectives and largely voluntary in nature, they arose in many cases out of societal conflict and tension. They emerged from the need to respond to crises caused by breakdown of traditional structures, from conflict with the powers-that-be in planning and implementation of development work, or from the realization that neither government nor private sector had the will, wherewithal or capacity to deal with immediate and lingering social problems (Ladim, 1987) Do NGOs in Third World countries really have the capacity to solve the problem of poverty or will they merely address symptoms of poverty? In other words, can NGOs become an effective force for social transformation? In order to assess and understand the role of NGOs in alleviating root causes of poverty, I will develop a typology by comparing and classifying Indonesian NGOs and analyze their potential as a social change movement. This paper seeks to contribute to a theoretical framework of the role that NGOs and grassroots organizers can play in Indonesia as a counter-hegemonic movement for social transformation.