IDS Bulletin Vol. 31 Nos. 3

Beneficiaries, Mercenaries, Missionaries and Revolutionaries:

Published on 1 July 2000

Summary This article critically examines the involvement of NGOs in World Bank?supported development projects. It attempts to ‘unpack’ NGO involvement in Bank projects by shedding light on the variety of motivations that NGOs may have for working with the Bank and vice versa. The article identifies four distinct forms of NGO involvement, based on the primary purpose of that involvement. It shows how each of these forms ? NGOs behaving as ‘beneficiaries’, ‘mercenaries’, ‘missionaries’ or ‘revolutionaries’ ? brings with it a distinct set of potential benefits and challenges. The article concludes that it is important both for the Bank and NGOs to be explicit about why , in any given situation, they are choosing to work together and what they expect from the collaboration. This is essential: (i) as a first step towards negotiating working relationships that are more productive and (ii) to avoid creating unrealistic expectations (and subsequent disillusionment) regarding NGO ‘partnership’ in Bank operations.

Cite this publication

Malena, C. (2000) Beneficiaries, Mercenaries, Missionaries and Revolutionaries: . IDS Bulletin 31(3): 19-34

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Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
Malena, Carmen


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