chapter  10
14 Pages

Development NGOs in perspective

We saw in Chapter 1 how development NGOs have become a significant and high-profile set of actors in development, with both supporters and detractors. We discussed the importance of understanding the range of development activities that NGOs undertake, and the diversity of NGOs as organizations. While some people are in favour of NGOs because they provide cost-effective, flexible services, others stress the importance of NGOs as campaigners for policy change and social transformation. After the euphoria of the 1990s, when development NGOs were over-praised, there is today a more realistic view among policy makers about what NGOs can and cannot achieve, and a more nuanced awareness of development NGO roles which goes beyond the idea of NGOs as welfare ‘gap fillers’ to view them also as potential sources of alternative ideas and practices. If building ‘active citizens and effective states’ is the key to effective development in the twenty-first century, as Green (2008: 13) argues,

processes at a variety of levels.