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Non-governmental organisations and empowerment: a study of women's self-help groups in India

Kilby, Patrick James

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The thesis examines the nature of empowerment for poor women in India, and the factors that influence empowerment outcomes arising from NGO interventions. Specifically the thesis looks at the role of accountability of the NGO to the people with whom it is working as a factor for empowerment. Empowerment of the poor and marginalised is becoming important a part of poverty alleviation strategies in development practice and it is recognised that the unequal power relations in the lives of...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorKilby, Patrick James
dc.date.accessioned2012-09-03T05:39:37Z
dc.identifier.otherb21976703
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/9258
dc.identifier.urihttps://www.oapen.org/search?identifier=391035
dc.description.abstractThe thesis examines the nature of empowerment for poor women in India, and the factors that influence empowerment outcomes arising from NGO interventions. Specifically the thesis looks at the role of accountability of the NGO to the people with whom it is working as a factor for empowerment. Empowerment of the poor and marginalised is becoming important a part of poverty alleviation strategies in development practice and it is recognised that the unequal power relations in the lives of the poor has denied them access to many development benefits. NGOs are seen to be important agents in empowerment as they are generally regarded as being closer to the communities with which they are working, than other development agencies, and being public-benefit organisation the goals in much of their work generally support empowerment outcomes. The research was concerned with how the accountability relationship an NGO has to the people it is working with affects the empowerment outcomes they experience. The thesis contends that NGOs are generally not ideal facilitators for empowerment as they are not membership organisations and as a consequence the people with whom they work do not have a direct or mandated accountability relationship with the NGO. This thesis defines empowerment as both the expansion of choice of an individual, and their capacity to act on those choices. The thesis looked at 15 NGOs in Kamataka and Maharashtra in India, and interviewed 77 self-help groups of poor women who were served by these NGOs. The results of the study show that women closely respond to the notion of changes in their agency as being key to what they see as empowering. The greater expansion of choice an action then vi enabled them to take greater control of their lives, and they were able to gain other development outcomes and resources that were available to them. The research found that accountability of the NGO to the groups, together with the period for which the group had been together and the decision-making of the groups, were correlated with empowerment. The research focused on the accountability of the NGOs to the groups and found that this was an area that many NGOs had some difficulty with. First they had competing accountability relationships to other stakeholders, namely their donors and the regulators; and secondly, as public benefit organisations they were hesitant to hand high levels of control over to a beneficiary constituency These findings have important implications for development practice, which in recent years has focused on more on efficient program management practices (including accountability to the donor) for effective programs. These findings point to a stronger focus on formalised participatory processes which hold the development agency to account to the beneficiary constituents as a powerful empowerment process in its own right.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.relation.isversionofThis thesis has also been published in book form, available at https://www.oapen.org/search?identifier=391035
dc.titleNon-governmental organisations and empowerment: a study of women's self-help groups in India
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorLarmour, Peter
dcterms.valid2003
local.description.notesSupervisor: Dr. Peter Larmour
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2003
local.contributor.affiliationNational Centre for Development Studies
local.request.nameDigital Theses
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d78dc09d5132
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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