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Additional info for Reluctant Partners?: Non-Governmental Organizations, the State and Sustainable Agricultural Development (Non-Governmental Organizations)

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Further twists to this problem weaken the NGOs’ own contribution: distance from government programmes and policy making may protect NGOs’ independence—but it also means they remain dependent on a wider, often foreign, policy environment over which they have no influence. This is a policy environment that frequently determines the outcome of NGOs’ projects (Bebbington 1991b; Carroll 1992; Clark 1991). Secondly, retaining independence from any co-ordinating mechanism often leads to situations where within one region several organizations (NGOs and public) are each merrily working away duplicating efforts, replicating mistakes, using conflicting approaches, and generally confusing the rural poor.

In part this is because they recognize that the models of development they wish to foster will not be consolidated unless effective demand for them can be articulated by the relevant sections of the society. In part it is because the values of human rights and freedom have been recognized as part of development—as something that should not be sacrificed in the name of growth. And, in a cynical vein, donors now perceive democracy as something to be promoted now that the cold war has ended and there is less political need to keep certain Third World tyrants in power.

This is a policy environment that frequently determines the outcome of NGOs’ projects (Bebbington 1991b; Carroll 1992; Clark 1991). Secondly, retaining independence from any co-ordinating mechanism often leads to situations where within one region several organizations (NGOs and public) are each merrily working away duplicating efforts, replicating mistakes, using conflicting approaches, and generally confusing the rural poor. Such circumstances may sometimes arise because of deliberate neglect of each other—because NGOs end up competing for clients, and against each other (Ayers 1992; Kohl 1991).

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