By Gerard Clarke

The Politics of NGOs in S.E. Asia lines the background of the emergence of NGOs within the Philippines and Southeast Asia and the political elements that inspired it them.

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Extra resources for The Politics of NGOs in Southeast Asia: Participation and Protest in the Philippines

Sample text

Echeverri-Gent (1993: 186) notes that ‘Without a prior distribution of the bases of political power, the state is unlikely to provide poverty alleviation programs with sufficient resources to improve their plight relative to other groups’, but there is tentative evidence that such a redistribution is being partially facilitated by NGO action. In Andhra Pradesh, Action for Welfare and Awakening (AWARE) has had a profound impact on local politics. With tens of thousands of members, it has influenced state legislation in key areas including land reform (Clark 1991:113).

3) The decline (albeit far from terminal) of class-based political contestation and its replacement by more diffuse issue-based debates in multiple arenas, local, national and supra-national, suggests that political affairs are increasingly best managed by voluntary and democratically self-governing associations. : 21). In another important contribution to the revitalisation of the concept, Cohen and Rogers suggest four key roles that independent associations such as NGOs play within the associative democracy scheme.

Beyond the state, parallel attempts to encourage participation were also initiated. In 1952, Jawaharal Nehru founded the Bharat Sevak Samaj (Society of the Servants of India) to mobilise communities and promote local development. Established as a non-governmental initiative, the movement became dependent on state funding and evolved into a quasi-governmental structure that eventually floundered in the late 1960s. In another approach, Mahatma Gandhi encouraged supporters to donate land title deeds to the village assembly, the Grama Sabha to encourage local participatory democracy (Fernandez 1987).

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