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Non-Governmental Organizations and Development Service Provision: A Conceptual and Empirical Review

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Jimma University, 2022.
LCC:Political science
LCC:Economic growth, development, planning
Globally, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are seen as a significant driving force behind delivering development services. There is universal consensus within the development community that development service delivery will be incomplete without the involvement of NGOs. Thus, many NGOs across the globe complement governments' efforts in development service delivery, a situation that has occasioned a rapid rise in both the volume and scale of operations of NGOs. Nonetheless, there is a growing debate regarding the conceptual intentions of NGOs. While some scholars believe that NGOs effectively provide development services, others have suggested that development service delivery does not constitute a critical component of NGOs' agenda. There is also the issue of whether or not the approaches NGOs employ in development services are participatory enough. While some scholars opine that participatory development communication approaches characterize NGOs' development services, others maintain that participation is merely rhetoric value within the NGO sector. These contending views risk an obliteration of the continuing relevance of NGOs in development discourse. This paper seeks to contribute to the debate on the place of NGOs in development services and the approaches NGOs employ in contemporary development practice. The authors posit that NGOs occupy a central place in development service provision but concede that NGO operations in development services are not without challenges. The authors argue further that NGOs’ role in development services can better be appreciated based on a thorough understanding of the role of participatory development communication in development service provisions. The paper presents a review of the relevant conceptual and empirical literature on NGOs' activities in development services and concludes by identifying lessons that should engage the attention of key stakeholders.
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