A Village and Its NGOs

Co-constructing NGO Presence in Rural Malawi

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In rural Northern Malawi, villagers co-construct meanings for NGOs’ projects and resources. NGOs and their staff are invoked within, yet simultaneously influence, intra-community debates. This book explores NGO presence through detailing relationships, personhoods and social changes within a rural community. It argues that NGOs’ projects have less impact on many Malawians’ lives than the ways their presence encourages villagers to re-image development and renegotiate intra-community obligations and entitlements. The book examines moral economies and discourses of development by detailing how development narratives are built around the symbols development actors emit. It also investigates the intra-village social lives of development brokers.

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Thomas McNamara, Ph.D. (2016), University of Melbourne, is a lecturer at La Trobe University, and an FNRS researcher at the University of Liege. His research explores how Global South economies are shaped by relationships and norms relating to ‘development’.
[...] Any scholar or expert or student pursuing development work or academic work in African Studies will greatly benefit from McNamara’s detailed accounting of a dependency-based economy that is re-imagined on the local level through negotiated meanings within local leadership. His work brings the national political economy’s role and North South relations into full view by demonstrating NGO s limited agency in local development. [...]

Jamaine Abidogun, Missouri State University, in Research Africa Reviews Vol. 7 No. 1, April 2023, pp. 69-73
This book’s primary audiences are academics and senior students in anthropology, development and African studies. It is particularly applicable for those interested in NGOs and donor-driven development. The book would also be accessible to later year undergraduate students and to development practitioners.
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