The Paradox of Accountability - Three case studies concerning non-governmental activities in Mutomo, Kenya

University essay from Lunds universitet/Sociologi

Abstract: Non-governmental activities have, during recent decades, played an increasing role within international development assistance and have, to a certain extent, replaced more traditional channels of state-led aid. This study aims to investigate various issues and difficulties that surround non-governmental activities concerning the aim of promoting social and economic change in the context of Mutomo, in eastern Kenya. It will focus on the issue of accountability and how the relationship between organisations, as well as the institutional environment, affects non-governmental activities in a developing context. The study has used qualitative methods with an ethnographic approach, and it has been formed from three different case studies. It has furthermore focused on two NGOs active in Mutomo: World Vision and Plan International. The study has drawn on open ended interviews as the main tool to increase the understanding of the process and its context. The study argues that efforts made by the two organisations examined in this paper are invaluable for the local population in the area of Mutomo, in the sense of alleviating poverty and saving lives. But it is also arguing that the notion of civil society as the main provider of public goods is complex and full of contradictions. It is therefore of importance to take a variety of factors into considerations, in order to better understand and identify the structural asymmetries of power and resources which surrounds non-governmental activities in contemporary society.

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