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Title: NGOs, democratisation and grassroots empowerment : a case study of Rural Development Organisation's approach to social change in Pakistan
Author: Owais, Syed
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 6429
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis contributes to existing knowledge on NGOs in the global South through examining the case study of RDO, an NGO in Pakistan, investigating the influence of historically structured formal and informal institutions and the politico-economic factors shaping its efforts for democratic and empowerment-oriented change in rural communities. It analyses RDO’s philosophy and practice regarding the formation of community organisations, which are intended to work democratically for their own development and to access government and other NGOs’ services. It does this by analysing 63 qualitative interviews, 20 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), organisational documents and observational data from 8-months fieldwork. It is argued that, rather than democratising and empowering community members, whose relationships with each other and with the state agencies have been historically patronage-based (Gough et al., 2004) and marked by inequalities based on ethnicity, gender, and class, RDO tends to deal with the communities in a patronage-based manner. This is due to its inability to allocate adequate time to communities to institutionalise democratic values in place of path dependent structures (Pierson, 2000) of inequality and practices of patron-clientelism. This, in turn, emanates from its shift away from the empowerment agenda and subscription to neoliberal mode of interventions. Additionally, the interventions by national and international NGOs, most of which have burgeoned in the wake of post-2000 political and natural disasters, have also socialised the rural communities to perceive NGOs as providers of welfare goods. This has made it harder for RDO to work according to its goals. Hence, instead of changing path dependent structures (Pierson, 2000) of inequality and patron-clientelism (Gough et al., 2004), RDO, like most NGOs in the global South, has largely become an agent of its perpetuation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Peshawar ; Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust ; University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform