First Advisor

Bruce Gilley

Date of Publication

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Accountability to beneficiaries, INGO, Organizational change, Non-governmental organizations -- Evaluation, International agencies -- Moral and ethical aspects, Non-governmental organizations -- Finance, Organizational change -- Evaluation -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 157 p.) : ill. (chiefly col.)


This thesis reconstructs the concept of International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) accountability to beneficiaries through the development of a strategic model for INGO accountability to beneficiaries. It works through the history and arguments surrounding the rise of the debate around whether INGOs should be held accountable to their beneficiary populations. Unique definitions are developed for the terms and concepts related to this topic and a framework for understanding the strategic model for INGO accountability to beneficiaries is outlined: Accountable to whom? Accountable for what? Accountable how? A practical example of an internal assessment for measuring an INGO's accountability to beneficiaries is examined, analyzing data from Mercy Corps' internal accountability to beneficiaries survey conducted in 2010. This thesis defines accountability to beneficiaries as the process of justifying and being responsible for the manner and results of one's actions to any individual or group who is a member of the society whose interests the project or program is intended to promote. The main conclusions from this thesis are that the traditional model should be expanded to be more strategic and include a) a broader beneficiary and stakeholder population who may be affected, either positively or negatively, by the actions of an INGO, b) the actions of all members of the organization, and c) the enduring impacts of their work over time. Accountability to beneficiaries is a concept that can be applied to all INGO projects in a way that requires minimal resources and will ultimately improve the quality of the services delivered.


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Portland State University. Hatfield School of Government. Division of Political Science

Persistent Identifier