NGO's, donors and human development : a case study from Mozambique.
During 1990s, the 'renaissance' of civil society in the Third World and the birth of thousands ofNGOs provoked a debate about their critical role, linked to the end of the Cold War and the 'triumph' of the Westernized, capitalist system, which has steadily expanded its model throughout the world, proclaiming the merits of democratization and the free market system. According to Commins (1999) "the major global institutions and most powerful bilateral donors want NGOs to serve as the front line for global welfare". Donors offered funds, and thousands of NGO were born worldwide. Through their projects and the movement of expatriates to developing countries, many replicated Western culture and acted as welfare providers, losing sight of their independence and critical position unto both market and state. Development apparatus have been institutionalized globally. A high concentration of development assistance exists in the Third World. "One finds identical development institutions, a common discourse, way of defining problems and pool of 'experts' ... " (Ferguson 1990: 8). At least theoretically, many organizations are moving toward a more participatory development, recognizing indigenous knowledge. Yet, the complexity of the relationships between donors, organizations and partners, and the rigidity of the bureaucratic procedures imposed, oftentimes exclude the voice of the locals (Marsden 2004). In Mozambique, relationships with international financial institutions emerged in 1987 with the Structural Adjustments Programs (SAP). Subsequently, it experienced a rapid economic growth while inequalities and foreign debt increased. Yet, in contrast to the birth of numerous NGOs, human rights organizations and civil society groups in other African countries during the 1990s, civil society was still non-existent there. This dissertation explores crucial issues identified in the functioning of development projects in the local context. Once identified, these can be integrated into future projects, strengthening their impact and increasing their efficiency. Some are: participation in the decision-making processes before and during project implementation, program evaluation, relationships between NGOs and the public sector, and the integration of local culture and values in adapting the programs to the regional context.