In the Name of Sustainability: Contradictory Effects of NGO-driven Development in Malawi

Louise Mubanda Rasmussen

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It is a core principle in non-governmental organisation (NGO)-driven development that interventions must be ‘sustainable’. Individuals and communities are to be ‘empowered’ to take responsibility for their own development in ways that will eventually make donor funding redundant. On the basis of ethnographic fieldwork with NGOs supporting ‘orphans and vulnerable children’ in Malawi, this article explores the practices, social relations and contradictory effects that the vision of sustainability engenders. The article illustrates how the commitment to sustainability paradoxically produces practices that can only be sustained through continuous flows of donor funding. It argues that the persistence of sustainability as an organising principle is connected both to its self-confirming logic and to the ways in which practices of ‘sustainability’ shape the subjectivities of local brokers and come to constitute a central avenue for pursuing personal projects of development.
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Development Research
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)312–327
StatusUdgivet - 2017

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This article has been located on February 1st 2018, as a Bronze Open Access article. If the access to this article closes, please notify

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