Title

Keeping your good name : the effects of scaling up on community attitudes towards Nkhotakota AIDS support organization from 1992 to 2005

Publication Date

1-1-2006

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Paul Ventura

Abstract

While working with Nkhotakota AIDS Support Organization (NASO) during the practicum phase of the degree, I observed a growing recognition of the organization among Malawi's donor community, and NASO accepted many funding and partnership opportunities offered by donors. How had NASO evolved from their humble roots of 21 volunteers to an organization of national importance? How did this evolution affect its foundation, the communities that sought their services and volunteered to provide them? This study answered the question, "how does scaling up an organization affect the attitudes of communities in central Malawi?" by examining the attitudes and beliefs of community members about NASO through surveys and focus group discussions in four of NASO's catchment areas. The research revealed the depth of knowledge about NASO, the strength of belief, and attitude regarding NASO's scaled up activities. By maintaining a consistently favorable method of programmatic implementation, reliably showing impact, and providing enough moral support to volunteers, NASO maintained a favorable attitude in their catchment areas. Trends appeared, however, that indicated expansion into new areas using the same method of implementation risks straining NASO's community relationships to the point that their activities will lose impact. A limit to geographical expansion exists, and if NASO wishes to continue growing as an organization upon reaching the limit, a strategic shift in the method of growth must occur. Community organizations like NASO must be aware of these limits or risk undermining the foundation that built their success.

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