NGOization, Foreign Funding, and the Nicaraguan Civil Society

Voluntas, 2013

42 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2012

See all articles by Dean Chahim

Dean Chahim

University of Washington

Aseem Prakash

University of Washington - Department of Political Science

Date Written: December 7, 2012

Abstract

A substantial section of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the global South depend on foreign funds to conduct their operations. This paper explores how the availability of foreign funding affects their downward accountability, abilities to effect social change, and their relative influence in relation to traditional grassroots, membership‐based organizations (GROs), which tend not to receive such funding. Drawing on a case study of Nicaragua, we challenge the notion that foreign funding of domestic NGOs leads to the evolution of civil society organizations, which have incentives and abilities to organize the marginalized sections of society in ways to effect social change in their interests. Instead, we find that foreign funding and corresponding professionalization of the NGO sector creates dualism among domestic civil society organizations. Foreign funding enhances the visibility and prestige of the “modern” NGO sector over traditional GROs. This has grave policy implications because foreign funded NGOs tend to be more accountable to donors than beneficiaries and are more focused on service delivery than social change oriented advocacy.

Keywords: Central America, Nicaragua, Foreign aid, NGOs, civil society, accountability

Suggested Citation

Chahim, Dean and Prakash, Aseem, NGOization, Foreign Funding, and the Nicaraguan Civil Society (December 7, 2012). Voluntas, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2186536

Dean Chahim

University of Washington ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

Aseem Prakash (Contact Author)

University of Washington - Department of Political Science ( email )

101 Gowen Hall
Box 353530
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

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