chapter  3
24 Pages

NGOs and development theory

As we have seen, the 1990s witnessed a growth of writing about development NGOs. Much of this work tended to present a fairly positive picture of the work that NGOs were doing, and was often written by people directly involved with, or very sympathetic to, the world of NGOs. Often this material was of a high quality, and it served to highlight the new importance of NGO work in the field of development and emergency work. But in retrospect, it is possible to see that some of the writings about NGOs that emerged at this time, particularly the many case studies of NGO work that were written up by people involved in the actual work, contained important limitations (Najam 1999). This type of literature tended towards a descriptive rather than an analytical approach, it tended to focus on individual organizational cases rather than on the broader picture, and such write-

than a more objective, critical purpose (Lewis 2005).