The missionary position: NGOs and development in Africa

Manji, Firoze and O'Coill, Carl (2002) The missionary position: NGOs and development in Africa. International Affairs, 78 (3). pp. 567-583. ISSN 0020-5850

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2346.00267

Abstract

This article traces the evolution of development non–governmental organizations (NGOs) in Africa, and suggests that their role represents a continuation of the work of their precursors, the missionaries and voluntary organizations that cooperated in Europe’s colonization and control of Africa. The authors maintain that the work of the NGOs today contributes marginally to the relief of poverty in Africa, and significantly undermines the struggle of the African people to emancipate themselves from economic, social and political oppression. Development NGOs have, unwittingly or otherwise, become a part of the neo–liberal system that has resulted in widespread impoverishment and the loss of the authority of African states to determine their own agenda. NGOs could, and some do, play a role in supporting an emancipatory agenda in Africa, but it involves breaking with the ‘missionary position’ by disengaging from their paternalistic role in development

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This article traces the evolution of development non–governmental organizations (NGOs) in Africa, and suggests that their role represents a continuation of the work of their precursors, the missionaries and voluntary organizations that cooperated in Europe’s colonization and control of Africa. The authors maintain that the work of the NGOs today contributes marginally to the relief of poverty in Africa, and significantly undermines the struggle of the African people to emancipate themselves from economic, social and political oppression. Development NGOs have, unwittingly or otherwise, become a part of the neo–liberal system that has resulted in widespread impoverishment and the loss of the authority of African states to determine their own agenda. NGOs could, and some do, play a role in supporting an emancipatory agenda in Africa, but it involves breaking with the ‘missionary position’ by disengaging from their paternalistic role in development
Keywords:Congo, NGOs, Development, Development Discourse, Narrative
Subjects:L Social studies > L713 Human and Social Geography of Africa
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Architecture
ID Code:623
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:27 Sep 2007
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:22

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