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Beyond the Magic Bullet: NGO Performance and Accountability in the Post–Cold War World

Michael Edwards and David Hulme, editors
Beyond the Magic Bullet: NGO Performance and Accountability in the Post–Cold War World
ISBN: 978-1-56549-052-9
1996/285 pages/LC: 95-20653
A Kumarian Press Book
"This refreshingly candid analysis of NGO strengths and weaknesses is an essential read. It offers a powerful blend of intellectual analysis and practical field experience, and is of use to practitioners and academics alike."—John Clark, World Bank

"This is a book that will be widely used and cited by aid practitioners, government leaders, NGO managers, and development scholars for years to come."—Dennis A. Rondinelli, Duke University

"Illustrates the dilemmas and challenges NGOs are facing and offers ideas on the 'ways forward.'" —Thomas Carroll, George Washington University

"A rich array of practical and innovative ideas for enhancing NGO performance and accountability. The editors are to be congratulated for the unusually high quality of the individual contributions."—Julie Fisher, Yale University


Beyond the Magic Bullet offers a thorough assessment of the roles, performance, and accountability of NGOs and grassroots organizations in international development assistance. Drawing on case studies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the authors provide frameworks for assessing performance and accountability and offer experienced-based guidelines for improving both.


Michael Edwards is an independent writer and activist affiliated with the think-tank Demos, the global web magazines Open Democracy and Transformation, and the Brooks World Poverty Institute at Manchester University. David Hulme is professor of development studies and founder-director of the Chronic Poverty Research Centre and the Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester.


  • NGO Peformance and Accountability—the Editors.
  • A Sectoral Analysis with Some Thoughts on Accountability, Sustainability, and Evaluation—N. Uphoff.
  • Reflections Concerning NGO Autonomy and Accountability Within the New Policy Agenda—S.D.Biggs and A.D. Neame.
  • Board Games: Governance and Accountability in NGOs—R. Tandon.
  • Scaling Up, Mainstreaming, and Accountability: The Challenge for NGOs—F. Wils.
  • European NGOs and Democratization in Central America: Assessing Performance in Light of Changing Priorities—K. Biekart.
  • From Accountability to Shared Responsibility: NGO Evaluation in Latin America—H. Béjar and P. Oakley.
  • Accountability and Participation: A Case Study from Bombay—V. Desai and M. Howes.
  • Strategies for Monitoring and Accountability: The Working Women’s Forum Model—J. Ramesh
  • NGO Accountability in Bangladesh: Beneficiaries, Donors, and the State—S.M. Hashemi.
  • NGOs in Bangladesh: Issues of Legitimacy and Accountability—M. Karim.
  • "Return to the Roots": Processes of Legitimacy in Sudanese Migrant Associations—D.T. Pratten and S.A. Baldo.
  • NGOs and Development in East Africa: A View from Below—Z. Gariyo.
  • Assessing NGO Performance: Difficulties, Dilemmas, and a Way Ahead—A.F. Fowler.
  • Painting Canadian Roses Red—I. Smillie.
  • Accountability and Effectiveness in NGO Policy Alliances—J.G. Covey.
  • Participatory Methods for Increasing NGO Accountability: A Case Study from India—P. Shah and M.K. Shah.
  • Transforming the Transnational NGOs: Social Auditing or Bust?—S. Zadek and M. Gatward.
  • The Primacy of the Personal—R. Chambers.
  • Beyond the Magic Bullet? Lessons and Conclusions—the Editors.