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Money, people or mission? Accountability in local and non-local NGOs


Little is known about how ownership affects accountability in non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This article explores differences between locally- and non-locally-owned NGOs in South Africa. Our data suggest that locally-owned NGOs more often claim to implement downward and internal accountability mechanisms, while non-local NGOs more often claim to implement upward accountability mechanisms. Bigger NGOs also perform better at downward and upward accountability mechanisms than smaller ones. The data suggest there is much these organisations can learn from each other to strengthen their accountability mechanisms. Furthermore, assuming there is a positive relationship between local ownership and development effectiveness, these findings may have important implications in furthering effective development interventions.

Keywords: Upward accountability, downward accountability, internal accountability, non-governmental organisations, South Africa, local vs non-local


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