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NGOs, States, and Donors Revisited: Still Too Close for Comfort?


  • Banks, Nicola
  • Hulme, David
  • Edwards, Michael


Serious questions remain about the ability of NGOs to meet long-term transformative goals in their work for development and social justice. We investigate how, given their weak roots in civil society and the rising tide of technocracy that has swept through the world of foreign aid, most NGOs remain poorly placed to influence the real drivers of social change. However we also argue that NGOs can take advantage of their traditional strengths to build bridges between grassroots organizations and local and national-level structures and processes, applying their knowledge of local contexts to strengthen their roles in empowerment and social transformation.

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  • Banks, Nicola & Hulme, David & Edwards, Michael, 2015. "NGOs, States, and Donors Revisited: Still Too Close for Comfort?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 707-718.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:66:y:2015:i:c:p:707-718
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.09.028

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    Cited by:

    1. Harrison, Tom, 2017. "NGOs and Personal Politics: The Relationship between NGOs and political leaders in West Bengal, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 485-496.
    2. Pablo Yanguas, 2016. "The role and responsibility of foreign aid in recipient political settlements," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series esid-056-16, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    3. Boomsma, Roel & O'Dwyer, Brendan, 2019. "Constituting the governable NGO: The correlation between conduct and counter-conduct in the evolution of funder-NGO accountability relations," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-20.
    4. Dipendra, K.C., 2020. "Which aid targets poor at the sub-national level?," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 17(C).
    5. Vallejo, Bertha & Wehn, Uta, 2016. "Capacity Development Evaluation: The Challenge of the Results Agenda and Measuring Return on Investment in the Global South," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 1-13.
    6. Ellinor Isgren & Barry Ness, 2017. "Agroecology to Promote Just Sustainability Transitions: Analysis of a Civil Society Network in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(8), pages 1-20, August.
    7. Koch, Dirk-Jan & Schulpen, Lau, 2018. "An exploration of individual-level wage effects of foreign aid in developing countries," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 233-242.
    8. Nelson, Paul J. & Dorsey, Ellen, 2018. "Who practices rights-based development? A progress report on work at the nexus of human rights and development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 97-107.
    9. Nicola Banks & Tony Brockington, 2019. "Mapping the UK’s development NGOs: income, geography and contributions to international development," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 352019, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    10. Martinez, Daniel E. & Cooper, David J., 2019. "Assembling performance measurement through engagement," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    11. Gupta, Divya & Lele, Sharachchandra & Sahu, Geetanjoy, 2020. "Promoting a responsive state: The role of NGOs in decentralized forest governance in India," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    12. Dhanani, Alpa, 2019. "Identity constructions in the annual reports of international development NGOs: Preserving institutional interests?," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-31.
    13. Vallejo, B. & Wehn, U., 2016. "Capacity development evaluation : The challenge of the results agenda and measuring return on investment in the global south," Other publications TiSEM d22bbdd5-5e29-404a-9ca8-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    14. Calvo, Thomas & Razafindrakoto, Mireille & Roubaud, François, 2019. "Fear of the state in governance surveys? Empirical evidence from African countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-1.
    15. Helen Wadham & Cathy Urquhart & Richard Warren, 2019. "Living with Paradox in International Development: An Extended Case Study of an International NGO," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 31(5), pages 1263-1286, December.
    16. Bridget O'Laughlin & Jasmine Gideon & Fenella Porter, 2016. "Forum 2016," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 47(4), pages 782-797, July.
    17. Rudnick, Jessica & Niles, Meredith & Lubell, Mark & Cramer, Laura, 2019. "A comparative analysis of governance and leadership in agricultural development policy networks," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 112-126.
    18. Brass, Jennifer N. & Longhofer, Wesley & Robinson, Rachel S. & Schnable, Allison, 2018. "NGOs and international development: A review of thirty-five years of scholarship," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 136-149.
    19. Hasan, Muhammad Badrul & Driessen, Peter & Zoomers, Annelies & Van Laerhoven, Frank, 2020. "How can NGOs support collective action among the users of rural drinking water systems? A case study of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) systems in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    20. Cook, Nathan J. & Wright, Glenn D. & Andersson, Krister P., 2017. "Local Politics of Forest Governance: Why NGO Support Can Reduce Local Government Responsiveness," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 203-214.
    21. Gallemore, Caleb & Jespersen, Kristjan, 2016. "Transnational Markets for Sustainable Development Governance: The Case of REDD+," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 79-94.
    22. Murshid, Nadine Shaanta, 2017. "Bullying victimization and mental health outcomes of adolescents in Myanmar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 163-169.

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    NGOs; civil society; poverty; development; foreign aid;


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