C3
Unravelling, unfolding and unsettling NGOs' work, role and methodologies [paper]

Convenors:
Emanuela Girei (University of Sheffield)
Ibrahim Natil (Society Voice Foundation)
Stream:
Opening (up) Development Practice
Location:
Library, Seminar Room 4
Thursday 20 June, 9:00-10:30
Thursday 20 June, 14:15-15:45
Thursday 20 June, 16:15-17:45

Short abstract:

The panel seeks contributions that explore how NGOs and CSOs contribute to maintaining and/or creating opportunities for political activism, critical thinking and inclusive engagement, so as to foster learning and cross-pollination among different experiences and shared reflections.

Long abstract:

In the last decades overarching changes in development policies and practices have contributed to progressively shrinking the role and action of NGOs. In particular, the widespread adoption of 'rational' management thinking and tools, and the dominance of value-for-money assessment criteria, have implied on one hand the progressive silencing of concerns that do not fit such linear perspectives, and on the other a progressive focus toward micro-level analysis and intervention, impacting detrimentally on long-term goals around social justice, emancipation and transformation. However, many CSOs, practitioners and researchers have resisted these attempts to constrain and belittle political activism, long-term visions and radical alternatives. This panel aims to give space to research, narratives, reflections and experiences focused on unpacking the work, role and methodologies of NGOs and the wider civil society. The panel seeks contributions that explore how NGOs and CSOs contribute to maintaining and/or creating opportunities for political activism, critical thinking and inclusive engagement, so as to foster learning and cross-pollination among different experiences and shared reflections. The panel welcomes contributions around: • Innovative approaches and methodologies for tackling inequalities • Innovative South-South and/or South-North and/or North-North collaborations • Innovative practices in NGO-academic collaboration • Innovative partnerships between NGOs and new/non-traditional actors (such as labour unions and social movements) • Innovative understandings of and practices of accountability. • Narratives and/or reflective accounts on successes and dilemmas of innovative and radical practices and approaches The panel is organised by the NGOs in Development Study Group.