Development NGO accountability (fwd)

Victor Guest vic at
Sat Jan 10 13:09:11 EST 1998

Reply-To: Conference "chrm.general" <chrm-general at>
From: grogan at

Hi Kenn:  Yours is a fundamentally interesting idea, but I would 
suggest that it be approached from another angle.  Litigation, as 
another correspondent pointed out far more articulately than I, 
rarely produces any net benefit on the ground.  Her alternative idea, 
of monitoring development sites and using the monitoring results to 
educate local citizens about the products of "development", would 
have a better chance of making an impact on the ground.  Likewise, 
I wholeheartedly support the suggestion that you set out a 3-part goal
for you and your endeavor, because without the clarifying thinking 
that goes into developing the goal, you could waste a lot of time.  
Experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural northeast Brasil and 
an ecological consultant in rural Chile, Venezuela, and Costa Rica, 
convinced me that positive change only happens at the village level, 
and most villages include people ready to make changes that 
will improve their lives.  So, if you can focus on how your endeavor 
might improve the lives of villagers plagued by development agencies, then
maybe you'll find villages willing to adopt a monitoring scheme or 
whatever alternative you choose to create.  Stay away from 
litigation.  In general, lawyers in captial cities are not going to spend 
their time improving the lives of villagers.
Sterling Grogan
grogan at

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