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Abstract

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) often employ the rhetoric of local empowerment through ‘participatory’ programming. A critical analysis of such programs, however, suggests that the capacity of NGOs to politically empower local communities is often misconstrued, especially since many of these programs overlook the ways in which foreign funding structures actually restrict local participation and limit local empowerment. This point is illustrated by a critical examination of studies claiming that the World Bank’s 1994 PLANAFLORO program in Rondônia, Brazil did politically mobilize local populations.

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