Home Institution

Vassar College

Publication Date

Spring 2022

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


This study investigated perceptions of faith-based organizations (FBOs) compared to secular non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Mgwashi, Bumbuli District, Tanzania. Perceptions were sorted into two categories: efficacy of services and trustworthiness. This study also examined gender and religion to determine potential influences on perceptions of trustworthiness and efficacy.

This study conducted 72 interviews of Mgwashi residents (18 Muslim men, 18 Muslim women, 18 Christian men, and 18 Christian women). Participants were asked for their opinions on the trustworthiness and efficacy of secular NGOs and FBOs with which they had experience. Then, those who had experience with both types (n=41) were asked to compare efficacy and trustworthiness between secular NGOs and FBOs in general.

Overall, FBOs were found to be perceived as more effective and trustworthy than secular NGOs. Women were more likely to rate FBOs highly than men. Muslims were more likely to prefer secular NGOs than Christians. However, many participants stated that they found no differences in trustworthiness and effectiveness between FBOs and secular NGOs, largely due to the different niches which the two types of organizations occupy. FBOs are mostly involved in health care while NGOs are mostly involved in business and development.

In conclusion, this study found that FBOs are effective and trustworthy service provisioners in Mgwashi, especially among women. As such, FBOs should be highly prioritized in future development, and foreign money donated to FBOs would be put to good use. However, secular NGOs, especially agricultural education, were also found to be important, serving a different niche than FBOs. Future studies should focus on the comparison of FBOs and secular NGOs to government provisioners.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Development Studies | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Religion | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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