Abstract: In this synthesis paper Brouwers analyses the lobby and advocacy work of civil society organisations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. She puts their efficacy to the test and questions whether civic organisations really are a countervailing force vis-a-vis the state, promoting democracy and triggering development for the poor. The findings of this synthesis confirm earlier critisms of the aid chain: NGOs that enter the public arena of governance, get caught up in 'being participated, being manipulated, and being challenged' be it by local/national politics or external donors. The paper suggests to move away from the assumption that NGO engagement contributes to the improvement of (democratic) governance, an increase of pro-poor development and a decrease of poverty in a linear fashion. In the last section '' back to the future" the author gives us directions for future research: (1) review the theory of change that is currently in use in the development sector, (2) generate new knowledge on why and how people protest to pressurize existing powerholders, and (3) to revisit the form and function of external engagement with civic actors in the global South.

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Erasmus University Rotterdam
The Power of Civil Society: Working Paper Series
The Power of Civil Society Working Paper Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Brouwers, H.M. (2011). When ‘civics’ go ‘governance’: on the role and relevance of civic organisations in the policy arena in Sub-Saharan Africa (No. 9). The Power of Civil Society Working Paper Series (Vol. 9). Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/26136