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Moving into the new aid approach, dilemmas for NGOs : the Belgian case

Molenaers, N and Dewachter, S and Dellepiane Avellaneda, Sebastian (2011) Moving into the new aid approach, dilemmas for NGOs : the Belgian case. Public Administration and Development, 31 (3). pp. 188-204.

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Under the new aid approach, nongovernmental development organizations (NGOs) are expected to move from “delivery” (service delivery projects) to “leverage” (lobbying and advocacy). In line with this international tendency, the Belgian government has signed a pact with the NGO sector in which a move away from delivery and toward leverage is being proposed. Given that Belgian NGOs are heavily dependent on government funding and strongly oriented toward the “delivery” model, this pact implies that a number of NGOs will have to undergo organizational changes. This article shows that there is a major cleavage in the NGO landscape in Belgium. Some organizations clearly favor the leverage, whereas others prefer the delivery roles. Those that are more dependent on government funding tend to incline toward the leverage orientation. The attitudinal orientation toward the leverage model however does not imply that organizations are effectively willing and able to change. A number of identity and legitimacy concerns are perceived by NGOs to be important sources of organizational inertia.