Title

The NGO road map : participatory development in the Palestian context : a case study of the Ma'an Development Center

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

John Ungerleider

Second Advisor

Paula Green

Abstract

n the midst of the Israel-Palestine conflict, MA'AN Development Center is a large nongovernmental organization (NGO) seeking to ameliorate the socio-economic conditions facing the Palestinian people. The research seeks to answer this question, "To what degree does MA'AN employ participatory development methods in its West Bank project?" Participatory development methods are those practices which seek to empower people as active partners in every stage of the development process. This study draws heavily from the principles of Participatory Action Research (PAR), and utilizes a study of background material and project documents, interviews with the Director General of MA'AN, focus groups with field staff, and on-sight observations of projects. Data gathered was coded using Adnan's seven levels of participation. The research shows that MA'AN is using a number of participatory techniques to empower the communities in which it is working, although these efforts are not fully integrated into an overall participatory approach. Nevertheless, the organization shows a remarkable aptitude for community empowerment: MA'AN's challenge is to use the firm foundation that it has built and offer an even greater opportunity on the level of internal management and in project implementation to empower people in all walks of life. The ongoing conflict has caused severe hardship, humiliation, and social disorder for Palestinians, and has dramatically decreased the available venues for positively expressing civil sentiment. The ability to participate as active and respected partners in the development initiatives in Palestine provides not only hope for a better life, but also a channel through which people can exercise their basic human right to self determination.

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