Local participation and social capital in women's development projects : influence of external versus internal financing on NGOs in Turkey
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Sustainable development has been a great challenge for a number of experts. The social dimension of development studies has gained significance in recent decades. Civil society and social capital are, therefore, increasingly more examined as these concepts are widely discussed; and there are not many empirical country specific studies of them. Accordingly, this thesis focuses on local participation and social capital in women’s development projects in Turkey. The research question in this study is: how does internal versus external financing influence local participation in women’s development projects of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Turkey? In order to examine the role of financing in local participation in women’s development projects, the theoretical arguments focusing on development, civil society, women’s development and social capital are assessed to demonstrate the importance of local participation for sustainable development and women’s development projects for empowerment of women. Furthermore, an overview of Turkey’s history from the angle of civil society and women’s movement is presented to provide a background for the evolution of women’s NGOs and their work in Turkey. A sample of donor organizations and externally and internally funded women’s development projects is selected as cases. The assumption of this study is that local participation can facilitate social capital. Women should be perceived as able and active participants in all phases of the NGOs’ projects, including implementation and monitoring. Thus, NGOs and local donors are expected to use more participatory approaches because of the grounded knowledge potentially stemming from ‘internal’ resources that are embedded in these organizations. However, the research findings demonstrated that this argument cannot be sufficiently supported. Despite the participatory requirement in the iv applications, managers/administration of both externally and internally funded projects perceive no such requirement. Neither the externally nor the internally financed projects were undertaken with considerable local participation. Overall, the findings have shown that the participatory approach is often part of the rhetoric of the donors and the NGOs; however, it rarely appears in practice. Since local participation is not facilitated to a full extent in the sample projects, social capital is not used to allow empowerment of women as active owners of their choice of development programs. Therefore, bonding and bridging social capital among women in Turkey requires further research. Consequently, it is puzzling that development practitioners in Turkey dealing with women/gender in development would not fully utilize this invaluable resource.
Women’s Development Organizations