Presentation Title

Development NGOs in a changing Bolivia: What is their role in civic engagement in Cochabamba?

Advisor Information

Angela Eikenberry

Location

Milo Bail Student Center Dodge Room B

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

8-3-2013 11:00 AM

End Date

8-3-2013 11:15 AM

Abstract

The landlocked country of Bolivia, in the South American Andes, has a long history of foreign intervention and NGO activity. Even though unions, neighborhood associations, and indigenous groups have had a strong presence for decades, until the 1990s, when the indigenous rights movement took off and the Law of Popular Participation (LPP) was enacted, most people had limited access or participation in their local and national government (Kohl & Farthing, 2006; Postero, 2007). Many NGOs have seen the law as an opportunity to increase community participation. However, some are also accused of having “undermined political movements that oppose neoliberal policies by focusing their target populations on small-scale, local improvements, rather than addressing the structural issues that social movements often confront” (Kohl & Farthing, 2006, p. 137). The opposition to neoliberal policies has grown even stronger in Bolivia since Evo Morales was elected to the presidency in 2005. Since then, the relationship between the state and its citizens has continued to change, as well as that between the state and NGOs. How this is currently affecting the relationships between Bolivian NGOs and the participation of their clients has not been well studied. We attempt to better understand the current role development NGOs play in promoting the civic engagement of Bolivians in their local government in this new political environment through the context of personal interviews with individuals from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and from a range of specializations such as education, health and the environment.

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Mar 8th, 11:00 AM Mar 8th, 11:15 AM

Development NGOs in a changing Bolivia: What is their role in civic engagement in Cochabamba?

Milo Bail Student Center Dodge Room B

The landlocked country of Bolivia, in the South American Andes, has a long history of foreign intervention and NGO activity. Even though unions, neighborhood associations, and indigenous groups have had a strong presence for decades, until the 1990s, when the indigenous rights movement took off and the Law of Popular Participation (LPP) was enacted, most people had limited access or participation in their local and national government (Kohl & Farthing, 2006; Postero, 2007). Many NGOs have seen the law as an opportunity to increase community participation. However, some are also accused of having “undermined political movements that oppose neoliberal policies by focusing their target populations on small-scale, local improvements, rather than addressing the structural issues that social movements often confront” (Kohl & Farthing, 2006, p. 137). The opposition to neoliberal policies has grown even stronger in Bolivia since Evo Morales was elected to the presidency in 2005. Since then, the relationship between the state and its citizens has continued to change, as well as that between the state and NGOs. How this is currently affecting the relationships between Bolivian NGOs and the participation of their clients has not been well studied. We attempt to better understand the current role development NGOs play in promoting the civic engagement of Bolivians in their local government in this new political environment through the context of personal interviews with individuals from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and from a range of specializations such as education, health and the environment.