By: Fletcher Tembo
The involvement of Non-Governmental Organizations, as actors within civil society, has profound value in development theory and practice. NGOs focus not only on the "eradication" of poverty, but also commit themselves to facilitation of the transformation of the structures and processes that constrain the poor. At the grassroots level, this agenda has largely been pursued through participatory practice and the channelling of extra resources using projects. The practicality of participation, however, has not adequately accommodated political realities that undermine the critical processes of "articulation", "decision-making" and "acting" that the poor go through (that is "agency"). Political realities of participation entail processes of negotiation that are influenced by images that people and NGOs form of each other, the resources involved, and the actual activities undertaken for development. These image-based negotiations underline the participatory relationships between communities and NGOs, and within communities, which if not properly managed put the poor at a disadvantage.
"Tembo moves the participation debate to a different level by providing original insights into the power relations that exist in the process of social transformation at the community level. Using field based empirical cases of two communities in rural Malawi, Fletcher Tembo brings out with fastidious scholarly analyses the complex facets involved in the forms of interventions by NGOs in community social transformations."
- Prof Mammo Muchie, Aalborg Univ, Denmark.
- The difficult question
- social transformation, NGOs and development
- NGO interventions and social transformation
- research design
- constructing livelihoods
- conflicting images on role of NGO assistance
- conflicting images on change
- negotiation: the politics of managing image conflicts
- towards an image sensitive approach
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