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NGO failure and the need to bring back the state

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  • S. Akbar Zaidi

    (Karachi, Pakistan)

Abstract

One of the many reasons why non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were considered to be part of the alternative development paradigm, was because the state, its institutions, and public policy, were unable to address a host of issues of underdevelopment. NGOs mushroomed in every corner of the globe, with substantial amounts of multilateral and bilateral funds being diverted through them for developmental purposes. NGOs were perceived to be a panacea for much of the ills that affect underdeveloped countries, and were supposed to do development in a way very different from the way the state pursued these objectives. They were thought to be participatory, community-oriented, democratic, cost effective, and better at targeting the poorest of the poor. However, in recent years, the halo of saintliness around NGOs has almost disappeared, and there is wide acknowledgement of the inability of NGOs to deliver what was expected from them. This paper after analysing the shortcomings of NGOs and the reasons and causes for their failure, suggests that there is need to bring the state back into development once again, with emphasis on reform of the nature of the state. Acknowledging that the state has failed, it argues that the only alternate to state failure is the state itself. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Akbar Zaidi, 1999. "NGO failure and the need to bring back the state," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(2), pages 259-271.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:11:y:1999:i:2:p:259-271 DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1328(199903/04)11:2<259::AID-JID573>3.0.CO;2-N
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kaimowitz, David, 1993. "The role of nongovernmental organizations in agricultural research and technology transfer in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 1139-1150, July.
    2. Wiggins, Steve & Cromwell, Elizabeth, 1995. "NGOs and seed provision to smallholders in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 413-422, March.
    3. Meyer, Carrie A., 1995. "Opportunism and NGOs: Entrepreneurship and green north-south transfers," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(8), pages 1277-1289, August.
    4. Meyer, Carrie A., 1992. "A step back as donors shift institution building from the public to the "private" sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1115-1126, August.
    5. Bratton, Michael, 1989. "The politics of government-NGO relations in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 569-587, April.
    6. Uphoff, Norman, 1993. "Grassroots organizations and NGOs in rural development: Opportunities with diminishing states and expanding markets," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 607-622, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Will, Matthias Georg & Pies, Ingo, 2014. "Discourse and regulation failures: The ambivalent influence of NGOs on political organizations," Discussion Papers 2014-2, Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Chair of Economic Ethics.
    2. Kilby, Patrick, 2006. "Accountability for Empowerment: Dilemmas Facing Non-Governmental Organizations," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 951-963, June.
    3. Baral, Nabin & Stern, Marc J. & Bhattarai, Ranju, 2008. "Contingent valuation of ecotourism in Annapurna conservation area, Nepal: Implications for sustainable park finance and local development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 218-227, June.
    4. Evan Thomas & Bernard Amadei, 2010. "Accounting for human behavior, local conditions and organizational constraints in humanitarian development models," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, pages 313-327.
    5. Jabeen, Sumera, 2016. "Do we really care about unintended outcomes? An analysis of evaluation theory and practice," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, pages 144-154.
    6. repec:ibn:ibrjnl:v:10:y:2017:i:11:p:129-138 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Ramanath, Ramya, 2014. "Ethical implications of resource-limited evaluations: Lessons from an INGO in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, pages 25-37.

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