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Producing Literacy and Civil Society: The Case of Senegal

Abstract
Donor and financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and others, often promote market-based solutions for the delivery of public services in developing countries. This article examines the use of such market approaches by the World Bank to hire for-profit and nonprofit nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to implement aWomen’s Literacy Project (WLP) in Senegal. This particular project has been touted as one of the “best” of the large literacy projects in Senegal, and it has been extended as a model by the World Bank in other West African countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Niger, and The Gambia. Several recent studies have argued favorably for strong international support to set up local educational policies and economic frameworks (e.g., Resnik 2006). By examining the WLP, I seek to inform the debate on the role of international organizations, as well as for-profit and nonprofit nongovernmental organizations, as producers of women’s literacy and builders of civil society. Prior to presenting the case study, I summarize the discourses related to the neoliberal economic rationale, the role of civil society organizations, and gender and literacy.
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2008-01-17
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