The Relationship Between the State|
and the Voluntary Sector
In some countries, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are major
contributors to development processes. This is not uniform, however. In
a number of countries, NGOs are weak or play more of an oppositional
rather than operational role and governments are highly suspicious of
them. A number of factors influence the development impact of NGOs; many
of which are determined by the relationship between the NGO sector and
This paper describes the characteristics of this relationship,
concentrating on issues which affect the efficacy of NGOs, the attainment
of governments' poverty reduction and other social objectives, and
collaboration between NGOs and the public sector. It explores the main
elements of government policy and practice which affect NGOs and which
could foster a more conducive environment for positive NGO contribution
to development. A study series is proposed to examine these issues in a
range of countries. The studies will feed into a synthesis report (to be
prepared in FY95) which will indicate areas of "best practice" of
relevance to poverty reduction, participatory development and "good
The principal avenues by which governments can influence the
operational environment for NGOs are:
The proposed studies will be designed and planned in conjunction
with the relevant Country Department to yield program-related information
for that country of value to the government, the Bank, donors and NGOs,
and also to reveal lessons of wider applicability. Country Departments
who wish to consider conducting a study in this series are invited to
request a copy of the Initiating Memorandum on NGOs and the State-Study
Series from OPRIE.
- Nature and quality of governance (pluralism, accountability,
- The legal framework (registration, reporting requirements,
- Taxation policies (on imported goods, local philanthropy,
- Collaboration with NGOs (when? sector? nature of partnership?).
- Public consultation and information (policy impact of NGOs).
- Coordination (role for governments in coordinating NGO
- Official support (government funding, official contracts).
Could the contribution of the voluntary sector to development be
more fully realized, given the current emphasis on poverty reduction and
Optimal development requires the harnessing of a country's assets
its capital, human and natural resources to meet demand from its
population as comprehensively as possible. The public and private
sectors, by themselves, are imperfect in that they cannot meet all
demands. Which interest groups are heeded or neglected will be
determined by a combination of economic and political considerations. In
particular, those whose voice and purchasing power are weak, and those
whose interests are on long term goals rather than immediate needs, are
more likely to be neglected.
When a government endeavors to give greater weight to reducing
poverty, to redressing gender or ethnic biases, to combatting
environmental degradation or to strengthening the more vulnerable
regions, it is likely to find the current development mechanisms
inadequate. Economic policy, the provision of services and
infrastructure, regulations and market mechanisms are rarely targeted
towards vulnerable groups.
Many argue (OECD 1988, Elliott 1987, Fernandez 1987, Garilao 1987)
that the voluntary sector may be better placed to articulate the needs of
the weak, to provide services and development in remote areas, to
encourage the changes in attitudes and practices necessary to curtail
discrimination, to identify and redress threats to the environment, and
to nurture the productive capacity of the most vulnerable groups such as
the disabled or the landless.
The strength of the voluntary sector differs among countries.
However, a strong voluntary sector does not guarantee a high degree of
interaction among the various organizations. There can be a rigid divide
between voluntary organizations and the public and private sectors.
It appears (Tandon 1991) that where the interaction is high the
climate is most favorable for poverty reduction and other social
priorities, though cause and effect may be difficult to separate.
Whether a strong nongovernmental organization (NGO) sector encourages
governments to pursue such priorities, or assists them attain their
objectives, this vehicle of civil society has potential importance which
has hitherto been largely neglected.
In many countries the voluntary sector concentrates on operating its
own projects (Fowler 1992, Bratton 1988 and 1990), improving the
situation in microregions but doing little to bring its experience to
bear on the government's service delivery or policy making. These
projects may be laudable, and their worth to the communities served
should not be ignored, but their contribution to the stock of development
know-how is meager. A sizeable voluntary sector which also interacts
with the public and private sector, is able to achieve a significant
multiplier effect on its own efforts (Bratton 1988 and 1990).
Such "scaling-up" has been the subject of considerable study in
recent years (see for example, Gordon Drabek 1987 for a report on the
London Conference and ANGOC 1989 for a report on the Manila conference
and Hulme and Edwards 1992). These studies have shown that in addition
to increasing its size (in other words, building up an alternative
provider of services or development) the voluntary sector can influence
main-stream development in the following ways (Clark 1991):
Traditional NGO activity has concentrated on the "supply side":
delivering services, providing development programs, or assisting
official bodies to increase the spread of their own programs. Much of
the literature and pioneering work of operational NGOs now concentrates
on what could be called the "demand side": helping communities
articulate their concerns and preferences, maneuvering into a negotiating
position with official bodies in order to amplify that "voice," and
mixing technical operational skills with "information age" communication,
advocacy and networking skills both to give power to and to enhance the
existing power of poor people. The literature which describes this
evolution (Tandon 1992, Clark 1991, Hulme and Edwards 1992) talks of NGOs
becoming important agents of the civil society. This attention to the
development demand side is a micro-level reflection of "governance." The
pillars of the latter greater participation in political decision making,
transparency, accountability, freedom of expression, etc. all have
their counterparts at the local level in the grassroots mobilization
efforts of NGOs.
Where the voluntary sector has a good record, the objectives listed
above can be clearly beneficial, though there may also be costs. This
paper aims to explore these benefits and costs, to analyze why it is that
the potential benefits are frequently not realized, and to consider ways
of enhancing this contribution.
In this paper, we focus on nongovernmental organizations which work
in (a) relief, (b) development, (c) environment, (d) welfare, and (e)
human or civil rights. We will also, for the present, assume definitions
offered by Salamon and Anheier (1991 and 1992) restricting our attention
to organizations which are (a) formally constituted, (b) nongovernmental,
(c) self- governing, (d) non-profit (i.e. not organized chiefly for
business purposes), (e) not overly partisan (in a party political sense),
and (f) characterized by some degree of voluntary involvement. This is a
broad base including international, national and grassroots
organizations; special interest organizations, networks, service
providers and public service contractors; funding, operational and
advocacy NGOs; professional associations, community associations,
cooperatives and membership organizations of the poor, and many other
It is important to distinguish between membership and non-membership
NGOs. The former (including organizations which are not formal
membership bodies but which defacto represent a sizeable constituency)
may play an important role in democratization processes. They usually
provide a service which is regarded as a priority by its members. The
differences between the two categories of organization as well as the
relationships between them merits study. Similarly, the difference
between characteristics of national level and community-based NGOs is
important. Some countries, such as Paraguay, where national level NGOs
have until recently not been welcomed have a healthy tradition with
respect to community-based NGOs.
The sectoral polarizations of the NGO community will vary
considerably from country to country. NGOs concentrate on issues which
are unique to each individual country, for example, income generation
activities, environmental concerns, or support for and mobilization
of the landless. The relationship between international organizations
and national NGOs is also defined by the characteristics of the specific
country; in some countries, intermediary or umbrella organizations
provide intellectual and operational leadership.
The following sections discuss the potential contribution of NGOs;
the elements of a healthy State-NGO interaction; the barriers to this
interaction from both the government and NGO sides; and the factors that
might help foster a more enabling environment.
- encouraging official aid agencies and government ministries to
adopt successful approaches developed within the voluntary sector;
- educating and sensitizing the public as to their rights and
entitlements under state programs;
- attuning official programs to public needs by acting as a
conduit for public opinion and local experience;
- operational collaboration with official bodies;
- influencing local development policies of national and
international institutions; and
- helping government and donors fashion a more effective
development strategy through strengthening institutions, staff training
and improving management capacity.
NGOs have become important actors in development assistance for at
least three reasons:
Potential Contribution of NGOs
Moreover, their resources are largely additional, they complement
the development effort of others, and they can help to make the
development process more accountable, transparent and participatory.
They not only "fill in the gaps" but they also act as a response to
failures in the public and private sectors (de Tray 1990, Salamon and
Anheier 1991 and 1992, Bratton 1990).
The NGO attributes cited above have become increasingly important in
recent years as:
- First, because of their scale. In 1989, they contributed
US$6.4 billion to developing countries (including $2.2 billion of
official funds), representing some 12 percent of total development
assistance (Bebbington and Farrington 1992a and 1992b).
- Second, because of their style of work. Many NGOs have
demonstrated an ability to reach poor people, work in inaccessible areas,
innovate, or in other ways achieve things which are difficult for
official agencies (Tendler 1982).
- Third, many of them represent poorer people. Many NGOs have
close links with poor communities. Some are membership organizations of
poor or vulnerable people. Others are skilled at participatory
approaches (Bratton 1988 and 1990).
Donors find NGOs attractive for widely differing reasons: they act
as a complement to the state; they respond to failures in both the public
and private sectors; or they may be from the donor's country (or
partnered with an NGO which is), which heightens trust and national
- Official aid agencies and many governments seek to give greater
attention to assisting women, the food insecure, indigenous peoples, AIDS
sufferers/orphans and other vulnerable groups, which NGOs are better able
to reach (Bebbington and Farrington 1992a and 1992b).
- Long experience of work with communities living in
environmentally sensitive areas (including forests, desert margins, urban
slums, etc.) provides NGOs with certain comparative advantages in dealing
with environmental issues.
- There is a more clearly recognized need for pluralism and
prominent citizens' voices in national development planning. NGOs can
contribute to this in many ways including, at the local level, by the
promotion of grassroots mobilization for social change (Clark 1991) or
participatory development (Bhatnagar and Williams 1992).
- There is increasing realization of the need to "roll back the
State" in many countries where it has become over-extended. This gives
greater prominence to the private and voluntary sectors.
- The rapid growth in numbers of NGOs many highly-specialized
or localized which gives donors a wide choice of partners and
considerable influence over those partners in many countries. This
proliferation is highly country-specific.
A healthy relationship is only conceivable when both parties share
common objectives. If the government's commitment to poverty reduction
is weak, NGOs will find dialogue and collaboration frustrating or even
counter-productive. Likewise, repressive governments will be wary of
NGOs which represent the poor or victimized. In such situations, NGOs
will probably prefer to chart their own course, giving all instruments of
the state as wide a berth as possible.
Where the government has a positive social agenda (or even where
individual ministries do) and where NGOs are effective there is the
potential for a strong, collaborative relationship. As Tandon (1991)
clarifies, this does not mean the sub-contracting of placid NGOs, but a
"genuine partnership between NGOs and the government to work on a problem
facing the country or a region... based on mutual respect, acceptance of
autonomy, independence, and pluralism of NGO opinions and positions."
However, as Tandon points out, such relations are rare, even when
the conditions are met. The mutual distrust and jealousy appears to be
deep-rooted. Government fear that NGOs erode their political power or
even threaten national security (Fowler 1992). And NGOs mistrust
the motivation of the government and its officials.
Though controversial and risky, many of the more strategic NGOs are
overcoming their inhibitions and are seeking closer collaboration with
governments (Fernandez 1987, Tandon 1991, ANGOC 1988, Garilao 1987, Aga
Khan Foundation 1988). In this way, NGOs believe they will be better
able to achieve the impact described above, and they will be able to
expose the government to a grass-roots perspective which might otherwise
be neglected. However, with closer collaboration comes increased risk of
corruption, reduced independence, and financial dependency.
The planning of projects and policies can be strongly influenced by
inviting NGO leaders to serve on government commissions or by holding
public consultations in which grassroots organization are able to voice
their concern and experience. As Bratton (1990) commented: "Once the
question was 'How can development agencies reach the poor majority?', now
it is 'How can the poor majority reach the makers of public policy?'"
World Bank experience (Cernea 1988), drawn from a survey of 25
Bank-financed projects, indicates a strong correlation between project
success and the participation of grassroots organizations. More recently
the Bank has been deriving important insights from the public
consultations included in Environmental Assessments in which NGOs often
play a major role. Such consultations are effective when all parties are
prepared to be objective and to learn from each other. Where NGOs use
selective reportage or distortion in order to heighten criticism of
the government, or where the government is not receptive to outside
advice, "consultations" are likely to be no more than confrontations.
However, even with a largely adversarial relationship, consultation
can be a surprisingly productive process and reduce tensions. The
Environmental Congress a network of NGOs in Sri Lanka initially adopted a
fairly confrontational style with respect to the government. On
one issue the government proved receptive to their concerns, and dropped
plans for a major project. After this, the NGOs developed a more
constructive dialogue with the authorities. The government, in turn,
invited five NGO representatives to participate in the National
Environmental Council which reports to the Prime Minister on the
environmental ramifications of all major development projects.
Conversely, dialogue with NGOs may not be very productive when the
State-NGO relationship is too cozy. In such situations NGOs tend to
accept uncritically both the government's information and the
government's role in coordinating all development activities, including
those of NGOs. The NGOs are largely content to fill in gaps as directed
by the authorities and rely on such commissions for their raison d'etre.
They do not question state activities, and therefore fail to inject the
grassroots perspective. A degree of financial autonomy of the NGO sector
is necessary to ensure their independence.
NGOs are often described as offering "development alternatives" but
this is misleading. The dictionary defines "alternative" as meaning
"either of two or more possible courses; ...mutually exclusive." The
population of any country does not have a choice between the
development model offered by government and that by NGOs. NGOs can play
an important role in helping certain population groups, or filling in the
gaps in state services, or in pressing for a change in the national
development strategy, but they do not offer realistic alternative
pathways. Their innovations may test out new approaches, but these only
become sustainable or of significant scale if they influence national
When both parties see that their solutions are not competing
alternatives but are complementary contributions, the possibility for a
genuine collaboration is opened. However, even as they do so, they may
harbor very different goals. The government may be keen to harness
foreign funds and the NGOs' capacity for service delivery. The NGOs may
seek to reorient development priorities toward poverty reduction. Such
unshared objectives may make for friction but they are not necessarily
Official aid agencies by offering or withholding support can clearly
have a major impact on the NGO sector. In this way, but also through
their project and policy dialogue with governments, official aid agencies
are able to influence the State-NGO relationship and to enhance the
political will necessary for constructive engagement. Some are
realizing, particularly in the context of their concern for "governance"
issues, that supporting the growth of a healthy NGO sector is an
important contribution to development.
The health of the State-NGO relationship (and the features
determining the quality of that relationship) is sector-specific. Steps
to improve the quality of relationship will also, therefore,
be sector-specific (see for example Bebbington and Farrington 1992a,
A Healthy State-NGO Relationship
The following, identified by a range of commentators, are the major
factors which impair the relationship between governments and NGOs (see
especially Fowler 1988 and 1992, Salamon and Anheier 1991 and 1992,
Bratton 1988, Clark 1991, Edwards 1991, Tendler 1982, Tandon 1987, 1991
and 1992, Brown 1988, Elliott 1987, and Brodhead and Herbert-Copley
Barriers to a Healthy State-NGO Relationship
- A highly political policy environment. NGOs often fall in the
opposition camp and the government or ruling party may see itself as the
sole legitimate voice of the people. The root cause of such political
polarization warrants study.
- NGOs preference for isolation hence unwillingness to dialogue
with government, and poor coordination with one another. Some NGOs
prefer to keep well separated from the government orbit to avoid drawing
attention, and therefore outside control, to their activities. However,
by keeping a low profile they may actually be making themselves more
vulnerable to government attack, as illustrated by the case of the
Savings Development Movement (SDM) in Zimbabwe an effective but little
known NGO whose operations were temporarily suspended and whose Board was
amended by the government because of alleged corruption (Bratton 1990).
- Jealousy of civil servants towards the NGOs' access to
- Pressure on successful NGOs from major donors to receive more
funds, leading to a decline in performance. For example, the Voluntary
Agencies Development Assistance Organization of Kenya was deflected by
donor pressure from its original institutional development function to
acting as a funding intermediary. This has been at the expense of both
its original agenda and its relationship with NGOs. This has
consequently undermined its advocacy effectiveness towards the government
- The NGOs constituency. If as frequently is the case it is a
narrow constituency (such as one kinship group, or even just the poorest
farmers) the government may consider it too selective since it must
consider the common good. Similarly, NGOs have the "luxury" to pick one
or two issues which dominate their attention, while governments must
juggle with a multitude of concerns.
- NGOs capacity. NGO projects may not be as effective as
claimed, the professional skill of NGO staff, the accountability of NGOs
to the grassroots, and strategic planning poorly developed.
- The public sector's capacity. The government's commitment to
improving services, eradicating discrimination and poverty may be weak;
there may be a shortage of competent staff especially at local level;
corruption and nepotism may be rife. In countries riven by strife there
is often a legitimacy issue when much of the country is not under
- Political jealousy. Governments may not want to foster a
healthier NGO sector for fear of bolstering the political opposition.
How NGOs survive and operate in an adverse policy environment is an
important issue for study. In some countries they have been crushed, but
elsewhere they have thrived on controversy.
- Dependence on foreign donors. A government might be more
suspicious of NGOs which are highly dependent on foreign funds and
therefore might impugn their motives as "guided by a foreign hand."
Conversely, an NGO which derives a considerable proportion of its funding
from its members has maximum authenticity. When the NGO sector is
dominated by foreign or international NGOs as has been documented by
Edwards (1991) and Hanlon (1990), there can be problems between the
government and the NGOs. For example, in Mozambique in 1990, 170 foreign
NGOs were running programs in complete isolation from the State. Hanlon
describes how these "new missionaries" have divided the country into
"mini-kingdoms." Edwards describes how his own NGO Save the Children
Fund (U.K.) decided to work closely with the government, providing
technical assistance at local and national levels in the fields of health
and food security. This has had an important scaling-up effect; for
example SCF has helped devise mitigatory measures to protect vulnerable
groups from the decontrol of prices and economic liberalization under
How can governments construct a policy environment conducive to the
strengthening of the NGO sector? This will depend significantly on the
initial relationship between the two sectors, as described by Tandon
The first form of relationship is where NGOs are in a
dependent-client position vis-a-vis the government; in which NGOs
implement state-prepared programs and/or receive funding through the
State (a dependency of money, ideas and resources). Examples include,
Tanzania (especially during the 1980s) and China. The second type of
relationship is adversarial in which there are no common starting points
and no wish from either side to search out areas of agreement. Examples
include, Zaire, Kenya and Pinochet's Chile. The third and most
constructive relationship emerging in certain liberal democracies is a
collaborationist one; a genuine partnership to tackle mutually agreed
problems, coupled with energetic but constructive debate on areas of
disagreement. Examples include, India and Brazil. Each example that has
been offered runs the risk of being an over-generalization. As with
companies in the private sector, individual NGOs differ enormously from
one another and hence there is a variety of State-NGO relationships. The
illustrations here are of national patterns.
The State has various instruments it can use, for good or ill, to
influence the health of the NGO sector (Brown 1990). The level of
response can be non-interventionist, active encouragement, partnership,
co-option or control. And the policy instruments used can be:
Fostering an Enabling Environment
For individual NGOs the most favorable policy setting is when legal
restrictions are minimized, when they have complete freedom to receive
funds from whomsoever they choose, to speak out as they wish and to
associate freely with whoever they select. In such a setting, the
NGO sector is likely to grow most rapidly (in particular, the number of
NGOs is likely to rise rapidly), but "bigger" does not necessarily mean
"better." Growth of the sector can be a mixed blessing.
Loose regulations and reporting open the door for unhealthy and even
corrupt NGO activities which may taint the sector as a whole. Where the
expansion of the sector has been most rapid (e.g. South Asia and certain
African countries) there is considerable concern about the rapid
ascension of "bogus" NGOs NGOs which serve their own interest rather
than those of vulnerable groups. An assessment is required as to which
regulations are necessary to ensure that incentives provided are used for
the intended purpose and which merely hamper the contribution of the NGO
Even if it were possible to curb bogus and corrupt NGO activities, a
non-interventionist policy environment may not make for the healthiest
NGO sector. The individual NGOs may be healthy, but collectively there
may be insufficient coordination, duplication of effort, and important
gaps left unaddressed. All these problems are illustrated in a
forthcoming Bank report on the NGO sector in Uga(World Bank 1992a and
A conducive policy environment can help make the whole greater than
the sum of the parts, through judicious use of policy instruments. Best
practice lessons appear to indicate the following ingredients of an
enabling policy environment:
- Factors of governance (encouraging public debate and
consultation, and the right to organize interest groups);
- NGO regulations and the legal framework (for example, regarding
registration and reporting, auditing and accounting requirements);
- NGO incentives (including taxation policies on income or local
fund-raising, duties on imports, subsidies for NGOs, etc.);
- Collaboration (use of NGOs in program/project implementation);
- Involvement in policy-making (serving on committees, assisting
with public consultations);
- Public disclosure of information (NGOs serving as a conduit to
inform the public about development schemes which effect them);
- Coordination requirements within the NGO sector; and
- Direct expenditure, including official support (grants,
contracts, etc.), and research benefitting the NGO sector.
- "Good Governance" - social policies which encourage a healthy
civil society and public accountability of state institutions.
- Regulations - designed to help, not hinder, NGO growth, but
also to root out corruption and to foster sound management discipline;
eliminate restrictive laws and procedures.
- Taxation policies - to provide incentives for activities which
conform with State development priorities; to encourage indigenous
philanthropy and income generation.
- Project/Policy implementation - State-NGO collaboration with
proven NGOs in a way which allows the NGOs to remain true to their agenda
and accountable to members or their traditional constituency. This might
typically indicate the following roles for NGOs within government
programs (Salmen and Eaves 1989): articulation of beneficiaries' needs
to project authorities, providing information about the scheme to
communities, organizing communities to take advantage of the scheme's
benefits, delivering services to less accessible populations, serving as
intermediaries to other NGOs.
- Policy formulation - provision of information to NGOs for
dissemination to their constituencies; offering a role to NGOs in public
consultations; invitation to NGO leaders to serve on official commissions
etc. (for example, the Indian NGO, DISHA, has been an influential member
of the Central Government's Commission on bonded labor). Public access
to information is the key to success in this area.
- Coordination - where the government fosters but does not
dominate coordination, for example, through having NGO Units in relevant
line ministries or NGO consultative committees; NGOs would be encouraged
to attend to geographic or sectoral gaps, to avoid religious or ethnic
bias, to avoid activities which contradict state programs or which make
unrealistic promises; the government encourages training of NGO staff,
for example, by ensuring that its own training institutions offer courses
of relevance to NGOs; the government encourages improved attention to
management skills, strategic planning and sharing of experience within
- Official support - the government provides funds, contracts and
training opportunities to give special encouragement to NGO activities
in priority areas without undermining NGOs' autonomy and independence;
broad agreement is sought with NGOs on such priorities by establishing
formal consultation with NGO leaders. Fora such as the Council for
Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (the body which
channels government funds to NGOs in India) and the forthcoming Community
Action Program (a local government scheme for financing NGOs and
community initiatives in Uganda) are illustrations.
Early sections discussed how the development process is impeded when
the State-NGO relationship is an unhealthy one and identified approaches
which could contribute to improving the environment for NGOs. We now
summarize the policy questions which are relevant to fostering an
enabling environment for a healthy evolution of the NGO sector. A study
series is proposed to consider these questions in a range of developing
countries. These case studies will help to identify the appropriate mix
of policy instruments to achieve synergies of impact, through enabling
and encouraging NGOs to contribute more fully to agreed national
development priorities. The policy instruments to be studied under the
Conclusions - The Major Policy Issues
- "Good Governance". How can civil society be strengthened to
help the government be better attuned to popular concerns, to develop
public accountability of state institutions and to improve efficiency?
Of relevance are issues of plurality (rights of association, rights to
organize interest groups) and information (public access to information
about development programs). Governments might reduce implementation
problems and enhance public support for their programs by easing access
to information and allowing affected communities the opportunity to voice
their concerns. NGOs can play an important role as interlocutors and
facilitators of public consultations, and can catalyze public debate, and
contribute to improving governance.
- The Legal Framework Regulating NGOs. Do registration and
reporting requirements hinder NGO growth? How might they become less
restrictive while guarding against corruption and other malpractices
within the sector?
- Taxation Policies. Do these stifle NGO initiative or provide
incentives? Do they make it difficult for NGOs to receive foreign funds
and donated goods? Do they hamper or encourage local philanthropy or
income generating activities of NGOs? Is there a perceived arbitrariness
or bias in the awarding of these incentives? Are there tax exemptions
for NGOs operating in priority sectors? Might tax exemptions increase
the risk of corruption?
- Collaboration. In what sectors/projects does the government
collaborate with NGOs? What is the attitude of the relevant central and
local government officials to such collaboration? What is the attitude
of the major NGOs to collaboration? How much encouragement, guidance and
training is provided for such collaboration? How are the NGO partners
selected? At what stage is collaboration sought (e.g. with projects: at
identification, design, appraisal, implementation, service delivery,
monitoring, or evaluation stages)? What different types of collaboration
are practiced? How does collaboration influence changes within
government structures (e.g. greater openness to the opinion of local
communities, increased preparedness to share information)? How does
collaboration influence changes within the NGOs (e.g. more attention to
strategic planning, deflection from their traditional constituencies and
purpose, altering the relative sizes and strengths)? When NGOs are
engaged to make development programs participatory, are they able to
represent a broad cross section of stake-holders or only certain interest
groups? As governments move towards contracting out services that were
previously provided by public employees, it is important to learn from
experience what has worked and where pitfalls lie. What are the public
sector management implications of expanded NGO collaboration, if both the
NGO and public sectors are to avoid damage?
- Public Information, Education and Consultation. Does the
government use NGOs for these purposes, encourage, permit, or resist such
activities? In which sectors is the informational and educational work
of NGOs most valuable (e.g. AIDS prevention; environmental awareness;
combating gender/ethnic/caste bias; promoting family planning; adult
literacy)? In which sectors/projects have NGOs played an important role
in public consultations (e.g. environmental assessments, assessing social
impact of projects, identifying needs for resettlement and
rehabilitation)? In which policy areas have NGOs played a significant
role (public consultation, information, or implementation)? Do NGOs
serve on government commissions or other official bodies? In what
capacity do they serve?
- Coordination. What structures exist for coordinating NGO
activities? What role does the government play in these? Are there
State-NGO consultative or coordinating committees? What agenda does the
government take to these (e.g. does the government use such fora: simply
for informational purposes, to control or influence NGO programs, to
avoid overlap or gaps, to root out bad practices, to identify needs to
which it can respond such as for training, etc.)?
- Official Support. Does the government finance NGO activities
directly, and if so, what mechanisms does it use? What impact does this
have on the work, constituency and autonomy of the NGO sector? Are NGO
representatives involved in such funding decisions? Similarly does the
government offer contracts directly to NGOs? Does the government seek to
control the funding of NGOs by official aid agencies or Northern NGOs?
What is the role of donors in improving or worsening the State-NGO
relationship. Donors can over-fund indigenous NGOs, or cause
international NGOs to start operations and eclipse indigenous ones.
In all of these areas there is potential for conflict: conflict
between NGOs and the government, between different NGOs (because in most
countries they are far from a homogenous group) and even within an
individual NGO. Official support for NGOs involved in service
delivery may be resented by those actively seeking reforms in government
policies and practice.
Analysis of the issues listed above needs to be based on an
appreciation of the anatomy of the NGO sector in a given country. What
are the distinctive features of the major NGOs? Are membership NGOs
prominent, and if so what constituencies do they represent? Are "public
service contractors" (which rely almost exclusively on government or aid
agency contracts) a significant force? Do NGOs make a major contribution
to political debate or parties? How prominent are international NGOs?
Do national intermediary NGOs play a significant role?
The Bank's emphasis on poverty reduction, human resource
development, popular participation and the environment lead to increasing
interaction with NGOs, particularly at the operational level. This
necessitates detailed knowledge of the NGO sector in a given country,
knowledge not just of the NGOs themselves, but also of how they relate to
the government, communities, the private sector and donors. The proposed
country case studies are designed to help provide such information. They
are intended to help strengthen the Bank (and other donors') programs
directly, to indicate issues which could be included in the policy
dialogue with the relevant government and also to feed into a synthesis
report (to be prepared in FY95) which will indicate areas of "best
practice" relating to NGOs and general conclusions concerning the
Aga Khan Foundation. 1988. "The Enabling Environment." Report of
Nairobi conference. Aga Khan Foundation, London.
Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC).
1988. "NGOs and International Development Cooperation." Lok Niti 5(4).
__________. 1989. The Manila Declaration on People's Participation and
Sustainable Development. Manila, Philippines: ANGOC.
Bebbington, Anthony and John Farrington. 1992a. "Private Voluntary
Initiatives: Enhancing the Public Sector's Capacity to Respond to
Nongovernmental Organization Needs." Paper presented at the Twelfth
Agricultural Sector Symposium, World Bank, January 8.
__________. 1992b. "The Scope for NGO-Government Interaction in
Agricultural Technology Development: An International Overview." Network
Paper 33. Agricultural Administration (Research and Extension) Network,
Overseas Development Institute, London.
Bhatnagar, Bhuvan and Aubrey Williams. 1992. Participatory Development
and the World Bank: Potential Directions for Change. World Bank
Discussion Paper 183. Washington, D.C.
Brautigam, Deborah. 1991. "Development, Institutional Pluralism and the
Voluntary Sector." Paper for World Bank, EXTIE. Washington, D.C.
Bratton, Michael. 1988. "The Politics of Government: NGO Relations in
Africa." Mimeo, July, U.K.
__________. 1990. "NGOs in Africa: Can They Influence Public Policy?"
Development and Change 21.
Brodhead, Tim, and Brent Herbert-Copley. 1988. Bridges of Hope?
Canadian Voluntary Agencies and the Third World. Ottawa: North-South
Brown, L. David. 1988. "Organizational Barriers to NGO Strategic
Action." Lok Niti 5(4).
__________. 1990. "Policy Impacts on the NGO Sector." Mimeo paper for
World Bank, EXTIE. Washington, D.C.
Cernea, Michael. 1988. Nongovernmental Organizations and Local
Development. World Bank Discussion Paper 40. Washington, D.C.
Chambers, Robert. 1983. Rural Development: Putting the Last First.
Clark, John. 1991. Democratizing Development: The Role of Voluntary
Organizations. West Hartford, Conn.: Kumarian Press.
de Tray, Dennis. 1990. Memo to Aubrey Williams re: Response to Brown
Paper "Policy Impacts on the NGO Sector." July 27. World Bank,
Edwards, Michael. 1991. Strengthening Government Capacity for National
Development and International Negotiation. London: Save the Children
Elliott, Charles. 1987. "Some Aspects of Relations Between North and
South in the NGO Sector." World Development 15(Supplement): 57-68.
Fernandez, Aloysius. 1987. "NGOs in South Asia: People's Participation
and Partnership." World Development 15(Supplement): 39-50.
Fowler, Alan. 1992. "NGOs as Agents of Democratization: An African
Perspective." Mimeo (draft). University of Sussex, Institute of
Development Studies, May.
__________. 1988. Non-governmental Organizations in Africa: Achieving
Comparative Advantages in Micro-development. Discussion Paper No. 249.
University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies, August.
Garilao, Ernesto. 1987. "Indigenous NGOs as Strategic Institutions:
Managing the Relationship with Government and Resource Agencies." World
Development 15(Supplement): 113- 120.
Gordon Drabek, Anne, ed. 1987. "Development Alternatives: The Challenge
for NGOs." World Development 15(Supplement).
Hanlon, Joseph. 1990. "New Missionaries in Mozambique." Mimeo.
Hulme, David and Michael Edwards, eds. 1992. Making a Difference? NGOs
and Development in a Changing World. London: Earthscan.
Korten, David C. 1990. Getting to the 21st Century: Voluntary
Development Action and the Global Agenda. West Hartford, Conn.: Kumarian
Marc, Alexandre. 1992. "NGOs in Kyrghyzstan." Mimeo. World Bank.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 1988.
Voluntary Aid for Development: The Role of NGOs. OECD: Paris.
Qureshi, Moeen. 1990. "The World Bank and NGOs: New Approaches."
Speech to the Washington Chapter of the Society for International
Development. April 22, 1990. World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Salamon, Lester M. and Helmut K. Anheier. 1991. "Towards an
Understanding of the International Non Profit Sector." Project outline.
December. Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies.
__________. 1992. "In Search of the Non Profit Sector: The Question of
Definitions." March. Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy
Salmen, Lawrence and Paige Eaves. 1989. World Bank Work with
Nongovernmental Organizations. Policy, Planning and Research Working
Paper 305. World Bank, Country Economics Department, Washington, D.C.
Steckhan, Rainer. 1990. Memo to Alexander Shakow re: Response to Brown
Paper "Policy Impacts on the NGO Sector." April 10. World Bank,
Tandon, Rajesh. 1987. "The Relationship between NGOs and Government."
Mimeo paper presented to the Conference on the Promotion of Autonomous
Development, PARIA, New Delhi.
__________. 1991. NGO Government Relations: A Source of Life or a Kiss
of Death. New Delhi, India: Society for Participatory Research in Asia.
__________. 1992. NGOs and Civil Society. Boston: Institute for
Tendler, Judith. 1982. Turning Private Voluntary Organizations Into
Development Agencies: Questions for Evaluation. Program Evaluation
Discussion Paper 12. U.S. Agency for International Development,
Uphoff, Norman. 1987. "Relations between Government and NGOs and the
Promotion of Autonomous Development." Paper presented to the Conference
on the Promotion of Autonomous Development. Cornell University, Ithaca,
World Bank. 1992a. "Terms of Reference for Study on the NGO Sector in
Uganda." Eastern Africa Department, Population and Human Resources
__________. 1992b. "Uganda: NGO Sector Study Issues Paper." Eastern
Africa Department, Population and Human Resources Operations Division.
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