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Conference Proceeding

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Non-governmental organizations, Non-governmental organizations -- Evaluation, Food security, Food relief


Programming decisions by international NGOs operating in the area of development are a function of both humanitarian and pragmatic concerns. Helping communities establish sustainable agricultural cooperatives to address problems of undernutrition, for example, motivates programs implemented by NGOs in the food security sector. But NGOs are strategic actors and must also be attentive to organizational imperatives in regard to funding. These concerns relate to donor preferences and the reality that aid projects must demonstrate tangible results. This paper examines the network of organizations responding to the needs of the one billion people worldwide who live in food insecure environments. We focus on the activities of 47 North America-based NGOs (both secular and religious) and a mix of 99 governmental and nongovernmental donors. We consider the extent to which both internal resources (finances, staff and volunteers) and external relations (social capital) enhance NGO effectiveness in reaching people in need. The study employs some descriptive techniques from Social Network Analysis (SNA) to illuminate the structural features of the food security network. We begin to identify the network characteristics and NGO attributes that best explain success in promoting of food security and draw some tentative conclusions about the balance of internal and external resources employed in combatting global hunger.


Presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, 4 April 2012, San Diego

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