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Pomona College

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


As development studies have challenged the traditional narrative of Western “humanitarian work” developing the Global South, concerns have been raised about the shifting roles of NGOs as they are incentivized to depoliticize and professionalize in a market dominated by foreign aid. Given the legacy of colonialism and the emergence of systems of domination such as the non-profit industrial complex, NGOs have been explored as a potential avenue of neocolonialism. Based on background research, general observations and interviews with representatives of local non-governmental organizations based in Rabat, this project examines how local organizations advocating for their communities view their relationships with international actors, whether through funding or program implementation, and what they envision as effective, empowering approaches in their work. The purpose of the project is to center the voices of local organizers in exploration of how local NGOs navigate the manifestations of these systemic power structures in their human rights activism. This study presents varying perspectives past theoretical ones by engaging with the broad range of ways that local NGOs realistically view their goals, strategies and identities in the context of their interactions with international actors, and how they interact with perceptions of these relationships by other influential entities. This study contributes to the discussion of how these organizations involved in political movements view and maneuver subversion of their autonomy from two sides: both with the historical legacies of foreign interference and the appropriation of critiques of neocolonialism to aid their delegitimization and repression by the Moroccan state.


Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Statistics | Social Work

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