Sabbir Ahmed (Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Dhaka)


Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) often occupy a difficult position in public life, for they are at once potential sites for political participation, and at the same time, are subject to constraints from donors and the state. This problematic position is explored here, setting it in the Bangladesh context. Political participation through NGOs becomes problematic as a result of NGOs’ dependency on donors and the state. As donors attempt to influence NGOs through control of resources and ideological pressure, so the state constantly monitors NGOs’ freedom of action. This dependency results in a noticeable distance between the intended and the unintended consequences of political participation through NGOs.

In considering this matter, a number of questions arise: What constitutes political participation through NGOs? Why is it important? What is dependency? How does dependency affect political participation through NGOs? In each case, we shall evaluate the answers of these questions in the specific context of Bangladesh.

This article is written in the form of a review of literature. The first section looks into the scope and nature of political participation through NGOs in developing countries. The second section examines the political role of Bangladeshi NGOs and their re-politicisation due to donors’ ideological influence. The third critically sheds light on the state-NGO relationships.

Regarding the political role of NGOs, two distinct trends can be discerned in the literature. The first is the liberal pluralist view, which endorses the notion that institutional pluralism enriches democracy and civil society. This view holds that a politically engaged voluntary sector contributes to the free competition of ideas and, by encouraging the maximum pluralism in political organisation, and through campaigning and argument, enriches the quality of policy information.[1] Most of the literature developed by Western academics and the donor community sympathises with this view. In contrast, some literature from developing countries, suggests that NGOs are best seen as development actors rather than political ones. Accordingly, NGOs’ political activities are seen as likely to impede their progress as development actors.[2] A critical review of these approaches is presented below.

The experience of developing countries

In the context of developing countries, research has focused on the political role of NGOs. Notable examples are Ndegwa (1996), Macdonald (1997), Clarke (1998) and Hadiwinata (2003).[3] The works of these four researchers have stimulated widespread debate within the academic community. Putting the discussion of the political role of NGOs into the wider comparative perspective, Macdonald (1997) and Clarke (1998b)[4] have dealt with the two important developing regions, Central America and Southeast Asia, although Clarke used the Philippines case as the springboard of his comparative analysis. On the other hand, Ndegwa (1996) and Hadiwinata (2003) have focused on Kenya and Indonesia. These researchers have fruitfully used a similar methodology i.e. qualitative research with some quantitative back-up. The underlying reason for using such methods may be the need to deal with the voluminous number of NGOs, often with overlapping programmes and working areas.

All four researchers use the concept of civil society in examining the political role of NGOs in their empirical studies. In so doing, they stress civil society as a collection of formal associational structures, which alone cannot lead to political change. Therefore, NGOs need to build coalitions with the informal structures of social movements. Consequently, a re-conceptualisation of civil society has influenced all their works.[5]

The problems of applying this civil society/social movement paradigm to the case of Bangladesh are manifold. One such problem is that this conception contradicts donors’ visions of civil society. A strong NGO sector in Bangladesh is not necessarily synonymous with a strong civil society. Many NGOs operate primarily as contractors executing donor programmes: their autonomy is reduced and their contribution to civil society is diminished. That is why conceptualising NGOs being a part of civil society raises questions of legitimacy and accountability about their activities.[6] In my view, the term NGO itself can serve as an independent explanatory variable while its nature of activities directly or indirectly entail a challenge to the powers of formal and informal elite in the power structure.

As regards their political role, in Kenya, for example, NGOs have shown ‘two faces’.[7] On the one hand, NGOs opposed the undemocratic state; on the other, they extended their co-operation with the state. Ndegwa (1996) suggests a catalogue of external factors enabling the effective role of NGOs in democratisation, such as collective organisation, combined resources, alliance with international donors and alliance with other oppositional forces in civil society.[8] The effective role of NGOs, therefore, depends on how ‘personal rule and NGO elites’ use those strategies in dealing with the state.[9] Thus Ndegwa calls on NGOs to shoulder a huge burden in managing these factors, while being quite aware of the relative imbalance of power amongst them. For example, he admits that dependency on donors has adverse impacts on NGOs:

Apart from raising questions of organisational ownership and autonomy in agenda setting, the extreme dependency seriously undermines NGOs’ ability to advance political issues in the long term. Given that even NGO funding has conditions (mostly on project type), a local NGO’s agenda may become blurred by that of its donors.[10]

Ndegwa seems to gloss over the profound implications of the role of donors in shaping the NGO sector in Kenya; rather, he accepts that alliance with donors is an essential factor in effective political participation through NGOs. International donors provide resources and support and enhanced political opportunity for NGOs to participate in democratisation.[11] He does, however, examine why some NGOs begin as specialists but over time become generalists in order to attract funding from all quarters. If the survival of an NGO is measured only through access to foreign resources, how do NGOs then maintain their autonomy in deciding their own agenda? Ndegwa remains silent on this matter.

Also problematic is his view that the socio-economic capacities of local grassroots communities will generate automatic political empowerment.[12] His view may hold true in Kenya, but such an outcome is unlikely where the state-society relationship is characterised by embedded structural inequality between rich and poor. Development activities did not necessarily lead to the political empowerment of the grassroots communities in Bangladesh due to inequality between rich and poor. The democratisation effect of NGOs must be deliberately sought and not expected to result automatically from NGO modernisation projects.[13] However, Ndegwa confines the scope of his study to the national context of Kenya.

According to Ndegwa, NGOs contribute to the overall process of democratisation at two levels: they pluralise the civil society environment by enabling them and others to operate more freely and unfettered by the state, and they contribute to the process of democratic development by empowering the grassroots communities where they pursue their development activities.[14] As regards political liberalisation in Kenya, NGOs collectively opposed the legislation introduced by the government in 1990 which tried to control their activities. NGOs had also been active participants in the struggle to lift the ban on opposition parties.[15]

As Clarke (1998b) views NGOs’ political role as positive in the context of South-East Asia, so does Hadiwinata (2003) in the specific context of Indonesia. For example, Clarke (1998b) maintains:

NGOs have a significant capacity to engage in politics, influence the path of political change and to contribute to the emergence of a strong civil society that undermines the political disempowerment of large sections of the population in South-East Asia. Equally, however, NGOs are by no means a unified political actor promoting a unified vision of civil and political society.[16]

In South-East Asia, the weaknesses of political institutions encouraged NGOs to engage in politics, and Clarke shows that in the Philippines, both the state and donors showed interest in bringing NGOs into the political process.

Clarke’s observations thus suggest that donors and the state have been supportive in establishing the position of NGOs in the political process. The liberal attitude of successive governments in the Philippines created a structure of political opportunity for NGOs through the construction of constitutional mechanisms.[17] Yet internal schisms and fragmentation within the NGO sector also created the risk of co-option by the state.[18] Moreover, the 1991 Local Government Code allowed NGOs and People’s Organizations (POs) to participate in the local government structure. Clarke’s research (1998b) focused on the impact of the political role of NGOs at the national level. He noted that although the 1991 Local Government Code gave NGOs and POs a considerable degree of political and decision-making power regarding development issues, NGOs and POs faced critical challenges with respect to their ‘marginalisation’ by the local and national elites, which prevented them from taking an active role within the scope provided by the code.[19] As a result, their roles were confined to inconsequential areas of power within the sphere of the local government and a civil society group, the Article 64 Movement (A64M), became actively engaged in promoting the participation of NGOs/POs in local government under the 1991 Code.[20]

Moreover, Clarke (1998b) did not focus on donors’ intervention in the Philippines NGO sector, although he examined the influence of NOVIB on the growth of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).[21] With economic development and the consolidation of democracy, donors had withdrawn from the Philippines NGO sector. However, his study is path-breaking in its liberal-pluralist version of politics, which views the NGO as an actor for political development. In particular, he considers that the NGO’s role in democratisation is to usher in ‘associative democracy’, thus eliminating the flaws of the cost-benefit model of political participation.[22] Associative democracy offers an opportunity for the underprivileged to engage in political participation.

Unlike Clarke, Hadiwinata (2003) argued that the survival of an NGO is primarily shaped by internal factors. He brings state-society relations to the centre of his analysis, and explains how NGOs survived in Indonesia during the Suharto and post-Suharto eras. Here, NGOs adopted either ‘development’ or ‘movement’ strategies, depending on the prevailing state-society relations. During the period of Suharto’s government, when the society suffered from serious political constraints and the powerless were too afraid to challenge the powerful, NGOs were forced to adopt strategies and approaches that conformed to the political conditions set out by the state. However, after the mid-1990s, when Suharto’s political legitimacy was beginning to wane, some NGOs attempted to facilitate grassroots resistance by conducting the pro-democracy campaigns. In the post-Suharto era, the role of NGOs in facilitating the political transition to democracy became more significant. Many NGOs conducted activities to facilitate the formation of a strong civil society.[23] Although Hadiwinata (2003) dealt with the local context, he only considered how NGOs adjusted their activities to the prevailing socio-economic and political realities. However, seeing NGO activities in terms of local realities is helpful as their activities are certainly not immune from the influence of these realities.

Hadiwinata highlights the political role of NGOs in strengthening local institutions and creating mass movements, linking themselves horizontally and vertically with other elements of social movements. NGO political activity thereby generates an organized countervailing power against the state.[24] However, this collective action cannot gain momentum, because NGOs are often slow to co-operate with each other or with other elements of social movements due to their different philosophies, structures, histories and approaches.[25] Suharto attempted to ‘de-ideologise’ and ‘de-politicise’ NGOs in Indonesia.[26] Bangladeshi NGOs have faced similar problems in a different context, and have also run the risk of co-option by the ruling elite. Be that as it may, Hadiwinata’s work reflects the conditions of a particular period during and after the Suharto regime. Apart from the dynamics of state-society relationship, the survival of Indonesian NGOs is highly dependent upon their strengthening of internal organisational capacity.[27] In fact, internal organisational capacity here determines NGOs agency power in relation to dealing with the state and donors.

Complementing the works reviewed above, Macdonald (1997) opens up another significant dimension with regard to the analysis of the political role of NGOs, now in the Central American context. Macdonald critically examines the political role of NGOs using the framework of national and international constraints. She maintains that:

the significance of NGOs for the development of civil society cannot be determined in the abstract. Rather, NGOs are part of a long-term, open-ended process, constantly reshaped by new trends in the international political economy, as well as by the shifting relationship between state and civil society in both North and South.[28]

By locating the role of NGOs within the national and international context, she is able to describe the domestic and international influences NGOs face in real life. According to her view, the policies of the Western states, which are major sources of funding for Western NGOs, may also have an important impact on the uses of NGO funding and their potential for local autonomy.[29] She investigates the autonomy of NGOs by examining the relationship between international and local NGOs. She illuminates three types of relationship in the Central American context, which she identifies as paternalism, laissez-faire and accompaniment. Paternalism is a policy through which the funding agency controls most important decisions and acts to co-opt the local leadership. Laissez-faire rejects paternalism and maintains a distant relationship with local agencies, essentially leaving the local NGO to its own devices. Accompaniment is a more recent approach adopted by some international NGOs working in Central America. This relationship is based upon mutual respect for the control exercised by the local agency, and upon an attempt to provide non-monetary forms of support for the struggles of local groups and a deeper form of commitment to the process of social change in the Third World. This relationship is also sometimes described as ‘partnership’.[30] Macdonald, thus, portrays a framework of NGOs’ direct dependency on donors.

Although Macdonald presents NGOs’ direct dependency on donors, she fails to consider NGOs indirect ideological dependency on donors. She tries to assess the impact of international NGOs through their projects, thus neglecting the wider processes in which NGOs operate, and where they are subject to external pressures. Concurring with Clarke and Hadiwinata, Macdonald argues that the political role of NGOs can best be realised through social movements.[31] Otherwise any effort for structural change on the part of NGOs is likely to result in ‘micro-utopias funded from abroad’.[32] In addition, Macdonald rightly underscores the fact that NGOs’ dependency on donors and the state shapes the opportunity structure for political participation through NGOs.[33]

Macdonald’s models of dependency are useful in explaining the dependency of NGOs in Bangladesh. Here, international donors have emphasised the local ownership of development initiatives through partnership with local organisations, abandoning (theoretically at least) a paternalistic stance. For example, in Bangladesh, since the 1990s, donor–NGO relationships have undergone a policy of ‘partnership’ through which both donors and NGOs participate in development initiatives.

Research – as critically explained above - on NGOs thus offers us a series of insights to ponder over. First, NGOs acting alone can hardly promote political participation. For that reason, they must work with social movements if they are to engage fully in their political role. Second, NGOs face an imbalance in their power relationships with both the state and donors, who influence the configuration of the structure of political opportunity that enables political participation through NGOs. Finally, certain factors related to organisational capacity, such as the intent of NGO elites, resources, skills govern effective political participation through NGOs. In order to relate these insights to the context of Bangladesh, we now turn to a discussion of political participation through NGOs in that country.

The case of Bangladesh

According to one observer, it is in the political sphere, rather than the economic, that the contribution of NGOs to development is most important.[34] In Bangladesh, the presence of NGOs seems to enrich social pluralism, which may give impetus to the democratisation process by bringing the voices of excluded social groups into policy making and implementation. Moreover, NGOs appear as potential actors for development in opposition to the dominance of the all-powerful state over the decision-making process.[35] In another study on NGOs’ political participation, NGOs’ positive political role was seen as self-evident.[36] This notion presupposes that socio-economic development will automatically generate democratic participation.[37] Changes in the socio-economic conditions of the poor may not, however, necessarily lead to political changes, which are more likely to be brought about by collective organised effort.

The political role of NGOs in Bangladesh can be traced back to the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, Bangladeshi NGOs have long been involved in social movements, and see civil society as oppositional rather than accommodating to the state and the private sector. This view regards civil society as a liberating social force that challenges the hegemony of the other sectors. It is inherently politicised and activist and is at the root of all revolutionary movements.[38] Of major Bangladeshi NGOs, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), the Association for Social Advancement (ASA), Ganoshahajjo Sangstha (GSS), and Nijera Kori all pursued a radical line for social change.[39] This radical line antagonised the state. As a result, these NGOs had to face state repression, which forced them to tone down their radical line. The donors were also concerned by this radical strategy and put pressure on all four NGOs to abandon their radical message.[40] This pressure, thereby, led to a metamorphosis in the nature of Bangladeshi NGOs. In the 1980s, in order to attract foreign resources; each of these NGOs turned attention to income-generating activities and gradually became modern bureaucratic organisations.[41]

Since the 1990s, the political role of NGOs has re-emerged. It has been noted that NGOs in Bangladesh have been pursuing donor-supported/sponsored liberal pluralist visions of making the prevailing system more accountable.[42] This view implies that a strategy of accommodation with the state, rather than opposition to it, is necessary. Such accommodation is realised through the support of donors.

Both Bangladeshi and foreign scholars have touched upon the political dimension of NGO activities. Amongst Bangladeshi scholars, in their recent works, Siddiqui (1998) and Fakhruddin (1998) have argued that the political role of NGOs hampers their role in development activities. Siddiqui points out the danger that an NGO’s engagement in political matters leads to adversarial relations with the state, and so cast doubt on the legitimacy of NGO activities in Bangladesh. Both authors identify politics with the struggle for power, which does not capture the other dynamic aspects of politics related to grassroots empowerment. Siddiqui points to the areas where intervention by Bangladeshi NGOs might be problematic

NGOs’ participation in election monitoring, voters’ education programmes and partisan movements may, in the long run, make NGOs controversial and impede their legitimacy to do development work in the minds of the legislators, their own workers and clients, and also among other sections of the civil society.[43]

Siddiqui is critical of NGO engagement in formal political activities, and perhaps for this reason does not value their political dimension more generally. However, she admits that NGO activities have inherent political dimension while NGOs work for empowering women through providing access to credit, training, legal support. Such an action, if successful, should contribute to the loss of economic control and political authority of patriarchy (Siddiqui 2002: 425).[44] In Bangladesh, NGOs often seek to redress the imbalance of power of the political and bureaucratic elites from the central to the local level.

Using primarily qualitative methods with some preliminary quantitative support, Fakhruddin concentrates on NGOs’ national political role, but also on local participation. Fakhruddin lists a number of local political activities in which NGOs actively participate, such as local issue-specific movements, local government elections and the shalish or rural arbitration.[45]

In fact, Fakhruddin displays a somewhat elitist view in his research method itself, for his interviews do not encompass any grassroots opinions and instead sample only political and NGO elites. His position is again reflected in his statement that NGO engagement in politics is likely to damage political institutions such as parties and election commissions, and the NGO itself. He sees NGOs as best understood as service providers and worries that overt political activity will damage popular trust in NGOs.[46]

Besides these two research works, we get some popular views in the print media. One of the strands is that NGO activists can participate in politics in so far as it is their basic right. Moreover, NGOs can not allow dishonest politicians causing harm to their poverty reduction activities (Pathan 2006).[47] On the contrary, a section of politicians are critical of NGOs’ involvement in political matters, as they argue that politics is for politicians and political problems need to be resolved by the politicians under any circumstances (Ahmed 2006).[48] NGOs though legally can diffuse political education, their participation in partisan politics is called into question. One of the largest NGOs in Bangladesh, Proshika scaled back its service delivery programs significantly following a government clampdown on donor funding in 2002. Proshika was accused by the coalition government - led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) – of favouring the main opposition party, Awami League (AL).[49] It appears from this case that NGO activities can be plunged into crisis if they become partisan. Nevertheless, NGOs alone can justify their position regarding their participation in politics as poverty reduction is structurally linked with political power.

That Fakhruddin is also concerned that democratic political culture has not taken root in Bangladesh. In order to measure the strength of political parties one has to examine their capacity to mobilise the people and the number of votes they attract. Judged by these criteria, NGOs have more strength than the political parties. By contrast, in terms of mobilising the people to create a popular movement, parties are limited by the uncertainty of the support they receive from donors.[50] But in concentrating on parties, Fakhruddin fails to acknowledge the objective realities that affect the lives of the poor. Should the poor bear the burden of the failure of political parties to address their common interests? Is it not a fact that NGOs are to some extent engaged in repairing the image of political parties? His study is now a little dated, in the sense that some NGOs have already expanded their role in ways he has warned against.

Both Tasneem Siddiqui[51] and Fakhruddin [52] have identified the influence exerted by donors (for example, the World Bank) on the state in order to create room for manoeuvre for NGOs in policy making. However, the scope of their studies does not focus on the influence of donors on the structures and strategies of NGOs. In her study, Siddiqui (2000) recognises donor influence on NGO strategy; but is mainly concerned with the influence on financial sustainability. Certainly, international NGOs, bilateral and multilateral donors want NGOs to consider sustainability as part of their programme. This pressure has resulted in the rise of interest rates on lending, affecting the poor members of NGOs. Two reasons offer a plausible explanation of the rise of interest rates on lending. First, credit is a popular mechanism for internal resource mobilisation adopted by most of the Bangladeshi NGOs. Second, it guarantees the quick return for money through direct contact with clients. NGOs have charged much higher interest rates than private and commercial banks.[53] But again Siddiqui does not make clear how donors succeed in influencing an NGO’s strategy. She remarks vaguely that ‘it is natural that NGOs will have to apply for funding for those types of programmes which fit in well with donors’ priority areas’.[54]

Besides these two studies dealing with politics, another two pieces of sociological research have extensively examined NGOs in Bangladesh, and both have considered politics as an element of the wider social process of which NGOs have become a part. Devine (1999) and D’Rozario (1998) have conducted two important studies of NGOs. Devine offers a powerful ethnographic investigation of the role of development NGOs in social transformation in Bangladesh. His thesis uses the experience of Samata[55] and explores the wider relationship between development intervention and social change in contemporary Bangladesh. Adopting a ‘process oriented’ research perspective, Devine considers NGOs within the multiple sets of relationships they encounter in real life. He argues that the growth of organisations like NGOs in societies such as Bangladesh creates an institutional form which is hybrid in nature. Not surprisingly, neither the development community nor its multiple models and discourses can predict or adequately accommodate this structure of hybridity.[56]

Devine uses the patron-client framework to analyse the role of NGOs in social transformation. Using this framework, he investigates whether, in offering forms of social protection, NGOs come to resemble and assume the functions and roles associated traditionally with patrons. In their new roles, NGOs have thus become patrons to the poor.[57] Using this approach he is able to show that Samata contributed to a reconfiguration of three social domains: local-level power structures, policy outcomes and electoral behaviour. For the poor, access to and participation in these domains were typically filtered through a complex set of relations and structures which underpinned a pervasive system of patron-clientism. The findings offered in Devine’s thesis, however, indicate that while the members of Samata have either abandoned (or at least are not as obliged to) their traditional patrons, there is also persuasive evidence that the actual system of patronage has not been entirely removed. Instead, Samata and its members have come to assume the roles, obligations and commitments traditionally associated with patrons and clients respectively.[58]

Devine links political participation through Samata to the local and national contexts in which the organisation tries to survive through creating patron-client relationships at both the local and national levels. He shows that Samata achieved power with the support of donors and of certain politicians,[59] and thus he considers donors as one of the patrons of Samata. In order to survive, Devine argues, Samata had to create or recreate coalitions with different social groups. Coalition building is not only important for survival but also helpful to create greater room for manoeuvre for NGOs within the government’s policy implementation initiatives.

Though patron-client frameworks are a useful analytical tool, they have limits in terms of analysing power at the grassroots. The identity of individual members of NGOs is not simply that of clients they have dormant power, showing everyday forms of resistance against the power of the organisation, the state or donors. Despite its limitations, Devine’s thesis remains a powerful piece of sociological and anthropological research on Bangladeshi NGOs, which has situated NGO praxis within the wider social process.

Not only do NGOs organise the poor into larger federations with a view to ‘scaling up’ their impact, but they do so in such a manner as to increase their political capacity. In a recent study, D’Rozario (1998) has investigated the Caritas apex federation groups in the North West of Bangladesh. One of the questions he considers in his research is the extent to which the apex groups constitute a new and alternative structure to the traditional and prevalent social forms of organisation in rural Bangladesh. He argued that ‘a new structure’ was indeed created through the apex bodies but that it embodied elements of induced values as well as values from the more traditional power structures. D’Rozario found that in this unintended new structure, local NGO staff had come to assume the characteristics of traditional patrons, thus supporting Devine’s work. In examining the causes of the rise of a new structure, he explains, structural constraints and other difficulties can limit the ‘agency’ of the people at the grassroots. The poorer the individuals, the more their capacities are constrained by these structural constraints. There is a general trend among NGOs in Bangladesh and elsewhere of over-emphasising the ‘agency’ of the poor. This trend may undermine the need for institution building and subsidised services for the poor, who cannot avoid the structural constraints that shape their future.[60] In accordance with structure and agency theory, D’Rozario correctly points to the structural inequality that the poor in Bangladesh must confront if they are to overcome their marginalisation and exclusion. This structural inequality further indicates that the poor are trapped in an organisational dependency and, as a result, the organisational bureaucracy may easily co-opt their institutions.

D’Rozario’s ‘new structure’ can be applied to the wider context, where NGOs confront dependency on the state and donors. Such dependency creates multi-faceted NGO structure: NGOs adopt new structures and strategies to deal with the state and donors. D’Rozario’s ‘new structure’ does not necessarily indicate that the poor do not need their own institutions. In fact, the ‘new structure’ shows the problems of institution building on behalf of the poor. In reality, it is only institutions controlled by the poor themselves which can help them to overcome their vulnerability. Such institutions can minimise the resources required for participation in collective action.

The preceding analysis suggests that NGOs have become engaged in promoting political participation in various parts of the world. The inability of the institutional political order to reach all sections of the people has given rise to NGOs’ political role. The existing political opportunity structure provided by state’s legal support and state-society relationships has determined the extent and nature of political participation. As this support and these relationships are generally not favourable to NGOs in Bangladesh, the scope for political participation through NGOs is limited and there is a need to identify and examine political participation through NGOs in the areas of policy implementation. Alongside Bangladeshi scholars, some prominent foreign scholars have looked into the political role of Bangladeshi NGOs.

Donors and the Politicisation of Bangladeshi NGOs

A number of foreign scholars have examined the political role of Bangladeshi NGOs and how donors have influenced those NGOs. Here, the role of NGOs also has been generally discussed in the perspective of neo-liberal economics and liberal politics.[61] One of the main motivations behind providing fund directly to Bangladeshi NGOs is to strengthen NGOs as important actors of civil society who would play a role in the promotion of democracy and development.[62] However, not necessarily all NGOs are key actors in Bangladeshi civil society as they are seen to promote ‘pluralism’, and thus democratisation in the country.[63] However, the effects of external funding prevent NGOs from taking an active role in democratisation. Democratisation through NGOs requires independence from external interests, closeness to poor people, long time horizons for capacity-building, and a willingness to confront those in power’.[64] Donors’ efforts to make NGOs actors in civil society have led to the increased flow of resources towards NGOs, causing antagonism and non-cooperation between NGOs and other civil society actors and so casting doubt on the accountability of NGOs.[65] At another level, donors have indirectly encouraged Bangladeshi NGOs to work within the remit of state power. Hence ‘franchising’ out state services to NGOs has reconfigured state-society relations in Bangladesh.[66] Thus, NGOs have demonstrated a political role in the sense of policy making and implementation. However, donors’ funding has negative effects on NGOs. Regarding these effects, a consensus has emerged among analysts that donor resources have led to the increase of the size of NGOs, invoking bureaucratisation of the organisation.[67]

Indeed, hierarchical bureaucratic organisational structures currently govern almost all NGOs in Bangladesh. The largest NGO, BRAC, is a case in point.[68] Another national NGO, RDRS, has become a popular and ‘modern’ organisational model under the influence of its donors.[69] In addition, dominance by a single individual is a key feature of Bangladeshi NGOs.[70] The hierarchical organisational model has also been strengthened by the absence of poor NGO members in organisational decision-making. NGOs in Bangladesh are better able to reach people at grassroots level because NGO workers are much more accessible. NGO field-workers can mix freely with the poor, visiting them in their villages and talking with them about their lives and problems. Nevertheless, only limited efforts have been made to make NGO operations truly participatory. Beneficiaries are seldom allowed to make decisions on programmes or budgets, or even to participate in monitoring and evaluation. Their participation is limited to relatively inconsequential areas of decision-making. The solidarity and strength of poor people are thus overshadowed by, and dependent on, the presence of the NGO.[71] Many NGOs are so involved in service delivery that the local-level associations empower NGO personnel and leaders, not the poor and disadvantaged.[72] The poor and disadvantaged become customers rather than members; participation becomes instrumentalist; and village groups become branches of the NGO rather than autonomous organisations.[73]

For donors, hierarchical organisation is a solution to the problems of dishonesty, corruption and incompetence. These may be the reasons for which hierarchy was considered a means of survival for Indonesian NGOs.[74] On the other hand, the same organisational model is criticised in the Thai context for its tendency to centralise power in the hands of a few leaders, threatening to a possible rise of corruption.[75] In a centralised structure, the state and donors seem to co-opt the organisational elite much more easily. Centralised organisation discourages participation by the NGO staff and members at all levels of organisational decision-making.

Feldman has concentrated on the impact of donor assistance to NGOs for civil society empowerment in the context of neo-liberal international development agenda. Feldman is quite specific to pointing out the implications for NGO activities when conceived along neo-liberal lines. She has rightly pointed out the ‘(un)stated contradictions’ in the outcome of NGO activities.[76] Donors’ advocacy of NGOs has challenged the state’s monopoly as a development actor, with far-reaching implications for its funding base, sovereignty and internal legitimacy.[77] The politics of representing the interests of the poor through NGOs also becomes problematic when the rise of NGOs are identified with the rise of civil society, where the influence of donor resources has largely undermined the institutional character of NGOs as a classical civil society association. Access to donor resources has led to a widening of differences between NGOs and other actors in civil society. NGO accountability has become a common concern both to the state and to the non-NGO actors in civil society. NGOs performance may help repair the damages of legitimacy of state performance, while ‘franchising out’ services to the NGOs may encourage them by-passing the state. The unproblematic identification between NGOs, state and civil society may thus merely contribute to the reproduction of the entrenching of dominant interests through the de-politicising of development and the representation of poverty-and the poor-as a technical problem.[78] White criticises NGO activities in Bangladesh for inadequately representing the interests of the poor. She has rightly pointed out that NGOs’ dependency on foreign resources is the cause of their difficulty. Because such a dependency makes the organisation more bureaucratic, creating a distance between the organisation and the poor. Sarah White only unpacks the ideological imposition exerted on NGOs by donors. She does not investigate how does it work through NGOs?

The inherent political role of Bangladeshi NGOs now faces an ideological challenge from neo-liberalism and the international discourses for democracy and development. Although the literatures have addressed the influence of neo-liberalism, they have not extended this analysis to the structures and strategies of NGOs, which have played a crucial role in realising such influence. Here, we shall discuss the donors’ influence on NGOs in the international context.

NGOs and ‘civil society empowerment’

Donors have a rational and clear interest in supporting hierarchical form of organization, so have their interests in supporting the ‘Civil Society Empowerment’, which is underway among donor agencies in many parts of the world. It is seen as a key element in the promotion of human rights, democracy and grassroots development.[79] As put by Bebbington and Thiele (1993:55):

Different donors have … been promoting NGO participation for more explicitly political ends: to strengthen civil society and the process of social participation in the new democracies. During the last few years, these financing agencies have become increasingly explicit in acknowledging that democratization is both necessary for the development process and a desirable goal in and of itself.[80]

The premise of ‘civil society empowerment’ is based in turn on the liberal/ pluralist conceptions of society’s relationship to the state, where civil society associations serve to aggregate and articulate mass opinion and preferences.[81] This civil society becomes not only the source of sound policy and highly trained-experts to provide government with ideas and staff, but it also serves a crucial watchdog function by holding the government accountable to the people.[82] Behind this idealised vision, civil society empowerment satisfies the need for economic and human rights and capitalist development on the part of donors that no longer need worry about grand security strategy and maintaining competing spheres of influence.[83] In most developing countries, however, the civil society empowerment strategy has been focused almost entirely on the agencies known as NGOs.[84]

International financial support for NGOs in Bangladesh, as part of the strategy for civil society empowerment, has resulted in ‘unintended consequences’ of NGO activities, causing antagonism and non-cooperation between NGOs and other civil society actors.[85] In Bangladesh, NGOs have played a key role in the struggle for democracy by providing a venue for discussion and debate around issues of poverty, equality, literacy, access to credit, and more representative government.[86] Donor funding to NGOs in this case may enhance the ‘self-determination’ of the individuals, contributing to the empowerment of NGO as an important civil society actor. [87]

As stated above, on the one hand, NGOs are viewed as the potential sites for democracy, on the other hand, the ‘civil society empowerment’ model aims at reducing the LDC states to the status of donor ‘franchisee’- replacing public officials with private actors unaccountable to the public.[88] Franchisee has naturally encouraged the donors to allocate resources through NGOs. Donor assistance to NGOs has led to the privatization of resource allocation.[89] Franchise reduces democracy, creates a new set of elites and patron-client relationships.

The reasons for donor involvement in NGOs also include the institutionalization of a particular formulation of pluralist practice where opposition and struggle are recast as constituency politics of assumed equals seeking representation in matters of governance. This concern comes to represent the capacities and interests of a citizenry. No longer do citizens need to organize on their own behalf and engage in various forms of dissent. Instead, the NGO sector legitimized as a controlled, organized arena of public debate with institutional and financial support from the donor community, has come to speak on behalf of the citizenry, particularly those groups that have been targeted among the needy, women, and the poor. Thus NGO co-opt the democratic stage with the support of donors.[90]

There is little doubt, for example, that many of those involved in NGOs are sincere and committed people who seek to improve the conditions of everyday life for members of the communities in which they work, sometimes from the perspective of social welfare and at other times as a critique of existing state practices. But these relations, too, are contradictory since others use the demand for NGO workers in an ever tightening labour market to secure employment and meet the service delivery goals of the institutions. Such employees do not see their employment in an NGO in terms of becoming a member of a constituency or a representative of the interests of NGO beneficiaries. Still others have more explicit political goals, making critical efforts to create a ‘democratic space’ for debate, to challenge the status quo often generated by an impoverished and perhaps corrupt state sector, and by seeking greater voice for those who do not see the ballot box as their sole source of representation.[91]

Thus Stiles (2002a) and Feldman’s (1997) views posit that in the context of neoliberal international development agenda, international financial support for NGOs does not necessarily strengthen NGOs position as potential independent actors of civil society. Although donors attempted to define roles for NGOs through their ‘Civil Society Empowerment’ programme, this, indeed, resulted in ‘unintended’ and ‘contradictory’ outcomes of NGO activities which, in fact, weakened NGOs’ position as civil society actors.

So far we have examined the influence of donors on NGOs theoretically, yet it is helpful to consider a practical example. In the case of Sarvodaya, direct links with donor agencies here (through a donor consortium) broke down. Now in financial crisis, Sarvodaya lost its negotiating position.[92] Discussing the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka, Perera explains that what started off as a partnership based on dialogue had, by the mid-1990s, become a subcontractorship based on commands and sanctions.[93] The relations between Sarvodaya and donors made the organisation into a simple mechanism for the delivery of service performance, thus pitting the bottom-up philosophy of Sarvodaya against that of donors. An attempt to co-opt Sarvodaya by donors resulted in ‘a clash of cultures’ between them.[94] The frequent visits of consultants, evaluators and donors emphasised the English-speaking capacity of the staff rather than valuing their own experience. Consultants and evaluators created what might be termed an ‘inferiority complex’ in the NGO, which in turn served to alarm donors and attract more consultancy visits.

External funding precipitated a crisis of identity and management in the organisation that cost it several years of work. Through the provision of assistance, donors transformed a people’s organisation into a mere administrative organisation. People began to come to it for the money, not the message.[95] The movement became hierarchical and bureaucratic and nearly lost its communal identity. On the one side, the donors were emphasising a top-down approach, centralisation, professional expertise, materialist values, and the short term; on the other, Sarvodaya was emphasising a participatory bottom-up approach, decentralisation, voluntarism, holistic development and the long-term.[96] The experiences of Sarvodaya open up a critical dimension of donor NGO relations. Perera admitted that Sarvodaya lost its negotiating position because of this unequal power relationship. However, Perera too overlooks the dynamics of the power imbalance within the organisation. He portrays one side of the pictures that Sarvodaya had been a helpless victim of donors’ influence, that there were no visible signs of agency demonstrated either by the organisational elite or by the members. However, Perera points out the critical issue in donor-NGO relationships, that is, direct funding critically influences the organisational structures and strategies.

State-NGO relationships

NGOs as small social actors find difficulty in overcoming their differences with the state. Any sort of ignorance of these boundaries leads state authorities to control NGOs through measures such as monitoring, co-ordination, co-option and dissolution. In resisting these attempts, NGOs try to insulate their autonomy from government control by pursuing strategies such as maintaining a low profile, selective collaboration with the government and policy advocacy at both the local and national levels.[97] The scaling up of the impact of NGOs’ development activities can be sustained by co-operating with the government.

Generally, states tend to co-opt NGOs. The high risk of co-option occurs when the strength of NGOs is exposed as politically significant. Thus, in the context of the Arab region, attempts to co-opt Arab NGOs politically do not only come from the regime in power, but also from other political actors, including the opposition. These actors perceive NGOs as instruments that can be used to expand political support and influence. The origins of this attitude lie in the excessive politicisation of public life in the Arab world. The repercussions of this excessive politicisation are clear: instead of promoting democratic culture and behaviour within their organisations, NGOs produce the same authoritarian structures that govern Arab political and social life in general.[98]

Co-option may be more likely to occur where governments see NGOs as an extension of state policy, for now they are expected to implement government policy instead of charting their own independent agenda. This undermines the social base of NGOs. Just this occurred when NGOs attempted to pursue an alternative development path for the poor and marginalised sections of East African societies in the face of the failure of state-centred development.[99]A confrontational attitude inevitably influences the government authorities’ dealings with NGOs, whose political role in this relational framework may bring the danger of repression by the state. However, NGOs can influence the government’s policy as an independent social actor. Richard Mawer has shown that in South-East Asia Save the Children Fund and local NGOs have been able to influence and improve government policies relating to disabled children.[100]

To counter the power of the state, some NGOs have chosen the path of collaboration in order to survive both financially and politically. The co-opting of politicians on to NGO boards and management committees has been used to secure additional protection. In turn, NGOs are allowed access to information about government programmes and policies, for example via NGO representatives at meetings of national and local planning authorities. Some large NGOs such as KENCO and ‘Maendeleo ya Wana Wake’ in Kenya, and the Community Development Trust Fund (CDTF) and UMATI (the Family Planning Association) in Tanzania, have appointed prominent politicians and senior public officials to their boards.[101]

Donors’ influence on NGOs is also transmitted through the state. Bangladesh is a typical case in this regard. Multilateral donors like the World Bank together have encouraged the government in Bangladesh to create a public policy framework favourable to NGOs. The creation of an NGO Affairs Bureau by the government of Bangladesh – which provides NGOs with quick services – is one such example. This institutional framework led to less control being exercised by the government. NGOs gained access to a larger pool of funds through their participation in government projects, funded by multilateral donors.[102]

State-NGO relationships imply a multiplicity of meanings from the centre to the local levels. The relationships with central government may be different from those with the local government and administration. NGOs may have relationships of varying degrees of cordiality with local political representatives and local bureaucrats.[103] In dealing with local political representatives and local bureaucrats, NGO leaders have to maintain good personal relationships. If central or local government authorities refuse any legitimate demand made by NGOs due to the pressure of vested interest groups, individual bureaucrats or politicians at the local level may support the NGOs’ cause, provided the demand has a strong legal basis. Sometimes local politicians seek the support of NGOs during elections. Any denial of this support invokes repression in various forms designed to stop NGO activities in the local area.

The key point to be noted from the above literature review is that the state has a strong tendency to co-opt NGOs. More often than not, state attempts to take NGOs on its side making them politicised. However, the case of Bangladesh suggests that the influence of donors has helped to liberalise government policy regarding the involvement of NGOs in the government’s policy-making. This does not necessarily mean that the government is likely to stop its attempts to invade the NGOs’ space, if circumstances permit. For that reason, NGO leaders pursue multiple strategies to maintain their congenial relationship with the power elite, such as selective collaboration and co-operation with the government authorities, and co-opting the elite onto their governing bodies. Moreover, NGOs rely on their personal relationships with the central political and bureaucratic elites. They are thus inevitably dependent on the state for their survival and performance.

In lieu of conclusion

Instead of conclusion, here, I would like to draw a couple hypotheses based on the review of literature above. The experience of political participation through NGOs in developing countries varies depending on the performance of political institutions in delivering public goods to the people and the quality of liberal state-society relationship. The review of literature above further suggests that NGO activities in Bangladesh have an inherent political dimension which manifest through policy making and implementation of the government initiatives. Since NGO activities directly or indirectly challenge the power of formal and informal elite in the power structure, their activities amount to political in nature. The scope for NGOs’ participation in policy making and implementation process is even limited due to the absence of liberal state-society relationship where state often considers NGOs as encroaching upon its jurisdiction.

However, neo-liberal ideologues encourage NGOs in the developing countries to act as an agent for strengthening market economy and democratisation. For these objectives to be secured, donors target the structure and strategies of developing countries’ NGOs. Donors have attempted to implant neo-liberalism through the structure and strategies of NGOs on the soil of developing countries. However, NGO alone is not responsible for such implantation, being one of the actors to do so.

As stated earlier, donors target the organisational structure and strategies of NGOs for realising their objectives and this has drawn less attention in the literature. Donor pressures tended to support the professionalisation in terms of administrative structures and financial procedures of NGOs, but this was not necessarily linked to strengthening NGOs as independent civil society actors characterised by greater internal democracy. Bangladeshi NGOs had become apolitical, professional and accountable to foreigners. Indeed, donor pressures often led to the de-radicalisation of NGO activities, encouraging more mainstream, hierarchical modes of operation and advocacy.

[1] Marilyn Taylor ‘Influencing Policy: A UK Voluntary Sector Perspective’, in David Lewis (ed.), International Perspectives on Voluntary Action Reshaping the Third Sector, London: Earthscan, 1999, p. 195.

[2] Tasneem Siddiqui, ‘Growth and Sustainability of the NGO sector in Bangladesh’, in BIISS Journal, Vol. 19, No.3, 1998, p.324; M.D. Fakhruddin, The Role of NGOs in the Participatory Political Process of Bangladesh, an unpublished M.Phil. Thesis, Department of Political Science, University of Dhaka, 1998, p.153.

[3] Stephen N. Ndegwa, The Two faces of Civil Society: NGOs and Politics in Africa, USA: Kumarian Press, 1996; Laura Macdonald, Supporting Civil Society: The Political Role of Non-Governmental Organisations in Central America, London: Macmillan, 1997; Bob S. Hadiwinata, The Politics of NGOs in Indonesia-Developing Democracy and Managing a Movement, London: Routledge Curzon, 2003; Gerard Clarke, The Politics of NGOs in South-East Asia: Participation and Protest in the Philippines, London: Routledge, 1998b.

[4] Gerard Clarke, ‘Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Politics in the Developing World’, Political Studies, Vol. 46, No. 1, 1998a, pp. 36-52.

[5] Stephen N. Ndegwa, op. cit., pp. 6-8; Laura Macdonald, op. cit., pp.15-22; Bob S. Hadiwinata, op.cit.,pp. 32-36; Gerard Clarke, op. cit., pp.9-13.

[6] Jeffrey E. Key, ‘Civil Society and Good Governance: Relevance for Bangladesh’, in Hasnat Abdul Hye (ed.), Governance: South Asian Perspectives, Dhaka: The University Press Ltd, 2000, p.435.

[7] Stephen N. Ndegwa, op.cit., p.4.

[8] Ibid., pp.50-51.

[9] Ibid., pp.111-114.

[10] Ibid., p.24.

[11] Ibid., pp. 3-4.

[12] Ibid., p.115.

[13] Cited in, Ibid., p.16.

[14] Ibid., p.25.

[15] Ibid., pp.3, 29-30.

[16] Gerard Clarke’s preface (1998b: xxx).

[17] Ibid., p.73.

[18] Ibid., p.209.

[19] Ibid., p. 136

[20] Jr.. Alfred A Araya, ‘Working for NGO participation in local government’, located at http:// www. codewan.com.ph/ Cyber Dyaryo/ features/f2002_01_30_02htm.

[21] Gerard Clarke, op.cit., 1998b, pp.166-181.

[22] Ibid., p.21.

[23] Bob S. Hadiwinata, op. cit., p.6.

[24] Cited in, Ibid., p.36.

[25] Ibid., p.250.

[26] Ibid., p. ix.

[27] Ibid., p.36.

[28] Laura Macdonald, op. cit., 1997, p.5.

[29] Ibid., p.26.

[30] Ibid., p.27.

[31] Ibid.,p.152.

[32] Cited in, Laura Macdonald, op.cit., 1997, p.148.

[33] Ibid., pp.151-52.

[34] Michael Bratton, ‘The Politics of Government-NGO Relations in Africa’, World Development, Vol.17,No.4, 1989,p.569.

[35] World Bank, Pursuing Common Goals: Strengthening Relations Between Government and Development NGOs, Dhaka: The University Press Ltd., 1996, p.2.

[36] Vandana Desai, ‘Role of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)’, in Vandana Desai and B. Robert Potte (eds.), Development Studies, London: Arnold, 2002, p.497.

[37] World Bank, op.cit., p.2.

[38] Cited in, Kendall Stiles, ‘International Support for NGOs in Bangladesh: Some Unintended Consequences’, World Development, Vol. 30, No.5, 2002a, p. 842.

[39] Kendall Stiles, Ibid., pp.842-843.

[40] Ibid., p.842.

[41] Ibid., p.842; Syed Hashemi and Mirza Hassan, ‘Building NGO Legitimacy in Bangladesh: The Contested Domain’, in David Lewis (ed.), International Perspectives on Voluntary Action Reshaping the Third Sector, London: Earthscan, 1999, pp.126-127.

[42] Syed Hashemi and Mirza Hassan, Ibid., p.131.

[43] Tasneem Siddiqui, op. cit, 1998, p.324.

[44] Tasneem Siddiqui, ‘NGOs in Bangladesh: Challenges on the Threshold of the New Millennium’, in A. M. Chowdhury and Fakrul Alam (eds.), Bangladesh: On the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century, Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 2002, p.425.

[45] M.D. Fakhruddin, op.cit, 1998, p.75.

[46] Ibid., p.153.

[47] Giash Uddin Pathan, ‘Should NGOs get involved in Politics?’, The Daily Star, 18 June 2006.

[48] Shamim Ahmed, ‘Politics, civil society and NGO role’, Dhaka Courier, 19 May 2006.

[49] According to the Societies Act of 1861, NGOs may be registered as society which can work for the diffusion of political education (Annex 111, Bangladesh Pursuing Common Goals, op.cit., 1996); Proshika officials were accused of encouraging thousands of group members across the country to assemble in the capital to launch an opposition platform. The time frame of the alleged plot coincided with the April 30, 2004 deadline the Awami League had issued for dislodging the BNP-led government. Proshika’s president was arrested along with a number of other employees in May 2004 (World Bank, Bangladesh Economics and Governance of Nongovernmental Organizations in Bangladesh, Report No.35861-BD, April 16, 2006, p.36).

[50] Ibid., p.152.

[51] Tasneem Siddiqui, ‘Donors and Framing of Public Policy Towards the NGOs in Bangladesh’, A.K.M. Abdus Sabur (ed.), Development Co-operation- At the Dawn of the Twenty First Century- Bangladesh-German Partnership in Perspective, Dhaka: Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2000, pp. 191-212.

[52] MD. Fakhruddin, op. cit, 1998, pp. 137-142.

[53] Tasneem Siddiqui, op.cit., p.208.

[54] Ibid., p.207.

[55] Samata is one of the Bangladeshi national NGOs based in the north-west district of Pabna.

[56] Joseph Devine, One Foot in Each Boat: The Macro Politics and Micro Sociology of NGOs in Bangladesh, an unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Bath, the United Kingdom, 1999, p.4.

[57] Ibid., p.105.

[58] Ibid., p.258.

[59] Ibid., p.263.

[60] Benedict D’Rozario, Factors influencing the growth of sustainable People’s Organisations at Grassroots Level: The Case of Caritas Deeds and Sangathan in Bangladesh, an unpublished Ph.D. thesis submitted to the University of Bath, the United Kingdom, 1998, p. 23.

[61] David Hulme and Michael Edwards, ‘NGOs, States and Donors: An Overview’, in David Hulme and Michael Edwards (eds.), NGOs, States and Donors-Too Close for Comfort?, London: Macmillan Press Ltd., p.5.

[62] Kendall Stiles, op. cit., 2002a, p.835; Harry Blair, ‘Civil Society, Democratic Development and International Donors’, in Rounaq Jahan (ed.), Bangladesh Promise and Performance, Dhaka: The Dhaka University Press Limited, 2000, pp. 208-211; and Sarah C. White, ‘NGOs, Civil Society, and the State in Bangladesh: The Politics of Representing the Poor’, Development and Change, Vol. 30, Oxford: Blackwell, 1999, pp. 320-321.

[63] Harry Blair, op. cit, 2000, pp. 185-186.

[64] Michael Edwards and David Hulme, ‘Too Close for Comfort? The Impact of Official Aid on Non-governmental Organizations’, World Development, Volume 24, Number 6, 1996, p. 965; and Sarah C. White, op. cit, 1999, p.321.

[65] Kendall Stiles, op.cit., 2002a, p.835; and Sarah C. White, op. cit, p.321.

[66] Geoffrey D. Wood, Bangladesh: Whose Ideas, Whose Interests? Dhaka: The University Press Limited, 1994, pp., 542-548; Geof Wood, ‘States without Citizens: The Problem of the Franchise State’, in David Hulme and Michael Edwards (eds.), NGOs, States and Donors: Too Close for Comfort?, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and London: Macmillan Press Ltd, 1997, pp.80-85.

[67] Sarah C. White, op. cit., 1999, p.321; Michael Edwards and David Hulme, op.cit., 1996, p.964; David Hulme and Michael Edwards, op.cit., 1997, p.278 and Kendal Stiles, op.cit., 2002a, p.843.

[68] Catherine H. Lovell, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: The BRAC Strategy, Dhaka: The Dhaka University Press Limited, 1992, p.125.

[69] Andy Batkin, NGOs: The Case of RDRS in Bangladesh, RDRS Monograph No.2, IDS Bulletin, Vol.23, No.4, October 1996, p.

[70] Geoffrey D. Wood, op.cit., 1994, p.549.

[71] Cited in, Benedict D’Rozario, op.cit., 1998, p. 81.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Bob S. Hadiwinata, op.cit., 2003, p.28.

[75] Somchai Phatharathananunth, Civil Society in North east Thailand: The Struggle of the Small Scale Farmer’s Assembly of Isan, an unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Leeds, UK., 2001, p.176.

[76] Shelley Feldman, ‘NGOs and Civil Society: (Un) stated Contradictions’, The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science, London: Sage, Vol.554., 1997.

[77] Sarah C. White, op.cit., 1999, p.312.

[78] Ibid., p.325.

[79] Cited in, Kendall Stiles, op.cit., 2002a, p. 835.

[80] Cited in, Kendall Stiles, ‘A Rational Choice Model of Grassroots Empowerment’, in Kendall Stiles (ed.), Global Institutions and Local Empowerment: Competing Theoretical Perspectives, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and London, Macmillan Press Ltd., 2000b, p.129.

[81] Cited in, Kendall Stiles, op.cit., 2002a, 835.

[82] Ibid.

[83] Kendall Stiles, op.cit., 2000b, p.129.

[84] Kendall Stiles, op.cit., 2002a., p.836.

[85] Ibid., p.835.

[86] Shelley Feldman, op.cit., 1997, pp.46-47.

[87] Christopher Kilby, ‘Sovereignty and NGOs’, in Kendall Stiles (ed.), op.cit., 2000b, p.57.

[88] Geof Wood, op.cit., p.84.

[89] Shelley Feldman, op.cit., 1997, p. 51.

[90] Ibid., p.59.

[91] Ibid., p.62.

[92] David Hulme and Michael Edwards, ‘NGOs, States and Donors: An Overview’, in David Hulme and Michael Edwards (eds.), op.cit., 1997, p.18.

[93] Jehan Perera, ‘In Unequal Dialogue with Donors: The Experience of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement’, in David Hulme and Michael Edwards (eds.), NGOs, States and Donors-Too Close for comfort? London: Macmillan, 1997, p.166.

[94] Ibid., p.164.

[95] Kendall Stiles, ‘A Rational Choice Model of Grassroots Empowerment’, op.cit., 2000b, pp. 120-21

[96] Jehan Perera, op.cit., 1997, p.166

[97] Michael Bratton, ‘The Politics of Government-NGO Relations in Africa’, Word Development, Vol.17, No. 4, 1989, pp. 576-83.

[98] Mohsen Marzouk, ‘The Associative Phenomenon in the Arab World: Engine of Democratisation or Witness to the Crisis’, in David Hulme and Michael Edwards (eds.), op.cit., 1997, p.200.

[99] Zie Gariyo, ‘NGOs and Development in East Africa: a View from Below’, in Michael Edwards and David Hulme (eds.), Non-Governmental Organisations-Performance and Accountability-Beyond the Magic Bullet, 1995, p.136.

[100] Richard Mawer, ‘Mice among the Tigers: Adding Value in NGO-Government Relations in South-East Asia’, in David Hulme and Michael Edwards (eds.), op.cit., 1997.

[101] Zie Gariyo, op.cit., 1995, p.137.

[102] Tasneem Siddiqui, ‘Donors and Financing of Public Policy Towards the NGOs in Bangladesh’, in A.K.M. Abdus Sabur (ed.), Development Co-operation-At the Dawn of the Twenty First Century-Bangladesh-German Partnership in Perspective, Dhaka: Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2000, p.206.

[103] Dorothea Hilhorst, The Real World of NGOs: Discourses, Diversity and Development, London: Zed Books, 2003, p.108.

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