P 34

Historizing African NGOs: Boom and Crisis

Panel abstract
Early in the history of international development cooperation, non-governmental institutional actors have played an essential role in the implementation of development goals. With the advent of structural adjustment programs in the 1980s, non-governmental organizations became the central hope of a development which no longer wanted to depend on weak states in the global South.
Over the past 30 years, however, NGOs have developed in very different ways. While critical voices have been raised in the worldwide public, especially against global NGOs (e.g., because they do not meet the standards of international development cooperation), they continue to play an extremely important role in the local arenas of many countries in Africa. A provisional distinction between local, national and international NGOs makes the different economic cycles easier to recognize: While there is an unbroken interest and ongoing start-ups at the local level, many national NGOs currently come under criticism. Finally, international NGOs today are increasingly becoming key figures of the North-South transfer.
With this panel we highlight the historical development and different careers of NGOs in Africa but also in transcontinental contexts. Here, we focus on the strategies of the actors involved as well as on the institutional history.

Time: Thursday, 28/06/2018
Friday, 29/06/2018
Saturday, 30/06/2018
Venue: Seminargebäude, S 205

Convenors
Hans Peter Hahn (University of Frankfurt)
Kathrin Knodel (University of Frankfurt)

Panellists
Muriel Champy (University of Paris Nanterre, France)
Kathrin Knodel (University of Frankfurt)

Discussant
Hans Peter Hahn (University of Frankfurt)
 

Paper abstracts

Muriel Champy
The Boom and Backfire of the Street Children Economy in Ouagadougou

In 18th century Europe, the years leading to the biological maturity of men and women started to be seen not only as a period of dependence but as a separate stage of the human existence, where the innocence and vulnerability of the future adult commanded protection (Ariès, 1960). This process led to the signature of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. In the following years, ‘street children’ became an important subject of attention, both by the general public and the development industry.

Kathrin Knodel
Ups and Downs, Lessons Learned: The Long History of a Model NGO in Burkina Faso

This paper focuses on an NGO in Burkina Faso that campaigns for agriculture and the struggle against desertification in the difficult and harsh Sahel region. Founded by a Burkinabe in the 1960s, it is today well known in the whole country and serves as a good example of a successful initiative that relies on local practices and knowledge. Nevertheless, it has experienced many different support programmes, transregional projects, and international partners during its 50 years of existence. So the following questions will be raised: Which projects do the members consider to be a success or a failure? Which decisions are judged as right or wrong in retrospect? And how do they look at cooperation with the Global North in general? By answering these questions and tracing the ups and downs within the institutional history as well as current challenges, the paper will also highlight the different understandings and visions of ‘development’ by its local actors. Thus, the organization’s commingling with local and global politics as well as very individual biographies will become evident, too. Furthermore, the paper will depict the relationship between NGOs and the state that ranges from collaboration to competition about different resources at times.