Stakeholders in Rural Development: Critical Collaboration in State--Ngo Partnerships by John M. Riley
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Despite decades of governmental effort and large-scale expenditure on development, the lot of the world′s underprivileged remains largely dismal. The failure of state-sponsored development has prompted many in recent years to call for a closer collaboration between public and private sectors. Even though this idea has gained wide currency, there are as yet very few studies which actually draw a road map of how such joint efforts can be successful in practical terms.
Addressing this lacuna John Riley describes and elaborates on a form of collaborative effort between governments and voluntary agencies which appears to be working in practice, despite a widespread atmosphere of mutual distrust and antagonism. He calls it critical collaboration, defining it broadly as a working relationship in which the two sides retain their individuality while participating as partners both in policy formulation and implementation, but where the NGO often acts as a critic of the government organization (GO).
The author then proceeds to:
· Identify some of the key factors which can lead to the establishment of critical collaborations between NGOs and GOs;
· Examine what forms those efforts can take;
· Outline the necessary characteristics of both the GOs and NGOs that are crucial to the creation of such relations; and
· Describe the political, organizational and social contexts which allow NGOs and GOs to work together as interactive and interdependent entities.
John Riley next presents case studies of five NGOs working in Tamil Nadu. Based on these cases, he identifies two basic and essential preconditions to the establishment of critical collaboration: the legitimacy of the NGO as a stakeholder in the problem identified, and the capacity of the NGO to perform in the collaboration as expected.
He also reflects on the administrative processes at various levels and offers a bird′s-eye view of environmental and resource management efforts in rural India. Finally, the book describes the several necessary conditions that must be met for critical collaborations to occur in other developing countries.