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New Roles and Relevance: Development NGOs and the Challenge of Change

David Lewis and Tina Wallace, editors
New Roles and Relevance: Development NGOs and the Challenge of Change
ISBN: 978-1-56549-121-2
ISBN: 978-1-56549-120-5
2000/252 pages/LC: 00-060740
A Kumarian Press Book

"New Roles and Relevance challenges us to adapt, to learn and to innovate. There are no simple answers here, but important contributions to the understanding of our changing practical and advocacy roles. Recommended—no, essential—reading."—Richard Bennett, BOND, UK

"This important and timely collection of essays is refreshingly balanced, candid, and critical in its treatment of NGOs. Unlike so much of the literature that is self-congratulatory, this book dares to raise the tough questions that too many scholars and practitioners have ignored for too long."—Adil Najam, Boston University and Pakistan Institute for Environment-Development Action Research

"In this interesting volume of thoughtful articles, the challenge for change is posed for leaders, donors, and policymakers alike."—Rajesh Tandon, PRIA

"A timely analysis of the potential, limitations, and challenges that the NGO world faces now and will face in the future."—Kumi Naidoo, CIVICUS


The authors of New Roles and Relevance explore the challenges faced by development NGOs as they seek to achieve greater relevance, improved accountability, and better performance in the fight against global poverty.


David Lewis is professor of social policy and development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Tina Wallace is research associate at the University of Oxford's International Gender Studies Centre.


  • Introduction—the Editors.
  • Relief and Development: Disjuncture and Dissonance—I. Smillie
  • Understanding Development as a Living Process—A. Kaplan.
  • The Future of NGOs in a World of Civil Corporations—S. Zadek.
  • Understanding NGOs from the Perspective of New Institutional Economics: A Case Study from Ghana—J. Cameron.
  • Organizational Learning in South Asian NGOs—J. Hailey.
  • Civil Society: Technical Instrument or Social Force for Change?—J. Howell and J. Pearce.
  • Legitimacy Claims, Legitimacy Chains, and Northern NGOs' International Advocacy—A. Hudson.
  • NGOs, Democratization, and Good Governance: The Case of Bangladesh—M. Karim.
  • Civil Society, Empowerment, Democratic Pluralism, and Poverty Reduction: Delivering the Goods at National and Local Levels—H. Blair.
  • Microfinance, Shocks, and the Prospects for Sustainability—S. Johnson et al.
  • NGO Advocacy in the European Union—C.L. Freres.
  • The Importance of People on the Ground in International Campaigns—J. Chapman.
  • Translating International Microcredit Experience in the United Kingdom Context—R. Pearson.
  • NGOs and Local Organizations: A Mismatch of Goals and Practice?—S. Crowther.
  • Microenterprise and Microfinance: The New Kids on the Block—P. Richardson and K. Langdon.
  • NGOs and Peace Building in the Great Lakes Region of Africa—P. Mbabazi and T.M. Shaw.
  • An Actor-Oriented Approach to Micro and Small Enterprise Development: A Namibian Case Study—S. Biggs and F.R. Matsaert.
  • "Implementation by Proxy": The Next Step in Power Relationships Between Northern and Southern NGOs?—M. Simibi and G. Thom.