How are Civil Society Organizations Important for Development?

by Anirudh Krishna

Aid to civil society is becoming an increasingly important part of the development agenda. Located in the space between the family and the state, and promoting coordinated public action among their members and other citizens, civil society organizations have been celebrated most often for their role in promoting and protecting democracy 1. Increasingly, however, their contribution to economic development and poverty reduction are also being acknowledged and supported 2.

A fundamental aspect of the operation of civil society organizations (CSOs) concerns the mediating role that they play between the individual and the state. Analysts have demonstrated empirically how both states and citizens can benefit when a dense web of civil society organizations mediates the relationship between them. The performance of government programs is improved and the impact of state policy is enhanced and made more widespread when, instead of interacting with citizens as atomized individuals, state agencies deal with relatively organized citizens' groups. Citizens are also able to derive greater benefits from government programs and from market opportunities when their individual efforts are organized and made more cohesive by CSOs. 3

There are good reasons to believe why organizations originating in society can perform these mediating roles more effectively compared to other organizations that are initiated and controlled by the state. While analysts of development have focused traditionally on the resources and capacities that exist among state agencies, a relatively ignored resource, comprised by the talents and energies that exist among the poor themselves, is increasingly being identified by recent studies conducted under the rubric of social capital. Civil society organizations, these studies indicate, are important for mobilizing social capital to serve development objectives.

Social capital has been defined as those aspects of social organization, including networks, norms and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit. Communities and groups that are more closely united by bonds of trust and networks of mutual assistance are more likely to achieve superior development performance compared to other communities and groups where such bonds and networks are weaker. Social capital in this reckoning has both a cognitive dimension - consisting of norms, values, attitudes and beliefs that predispose people toward collective action - and a structural dimension, composed of formal or informal organizations that facilitate collective action for achieving some common objective 4.

Having a high level of social capital, a community is endowed with the capacity to tackle multiple tasks related to collective well being. Some agency is necessary, however, to harness this endowment and to convert it into a stream of benefits. How exactly is the social capital of any community brought to bear upon any particular development problem? How, for instance, can a community of poor citizens utilize the social capital that they have for resolving some common problem, say, building a water supply system or enhancing agricultural productivity? Empirical research on social capital is still relatively new, but the emergent evidence indicates that some act of agency is necessary in most instances for making productive use of the resource, social capital.

CSOs play the critical role in mobilizing social capital. Social capital is a resource that any community possesses to some level and it can help in resolving multiple problems of a collective nature. Like any other resource, however, social capital also needs to be activated and it needs to be combined with other kinds of resources, including physical, financial and human resources. A useful analogy draws upon the distinction between stock and flow. To be helpful for development or for any other purpose, the stock of social capital possessed by any community needs to be converted into a flow of benefits. Like a lode of rich mineral ore, social capital has only potential and not real value - until it is activated and combined judiciously with other resources.

These acts of mobilizing social capital and harnessing it together with other resources are performed in the main by CSOs. Usually, CSOs that have a local origin can tap - legitimately and accountably - into the cultural and social resources that comprise social capital. Evidence collected by the small group of studies conducted so far concerning development and social capital indicate quite clearly that forms of organization imposed from the outside are rarely successful in tapping into communities' resources of social capital 5. Earlier studies intended to study the effects that different types of organizations have in terms of mobilizing people's participation in development programs also support a similar conclusion. Membership organizations and those emanating from the grassroots up are more likely to draw upon local traditions of coordination and cooperation compared to other organizations that are set down from above 6.

One critical advantage, thus, that CSOs usually have over state-sponsored organizations concerns their ability to tap, effectively and legitimately, into societies' reservoirs of social capital. As good results are achieved with the help of collective action, social capital gets built up and traditions of cooperation for mutual benefit are further reinforced. Encouraging and facilitating these virtuous cycles of social capital mobilization provides an important reason behind the current concern with assisting civil society organizations.

However, while the roles played by CSOs in effecting social mobilization and harnessing social capital are being increasingly well recognized, there is relatively little practical guidance available that can assist practitioners translate from expectations into ground realities. How should plans and strategies be devised in any given situation that can assist in strengthening CSOs appropriately? The sub-field of development concerned with strengthening civil society is still relatively new, and few answers have been provided to deal with issues of practical concern. Theory building in this new and emergent area will be both slow and inductive. Specific situations require far more attention to detail than theoreticians of civil society can usually provide, so deductive accounts are hardly sufficient for this purpose. Inductive accounts, based on the experiences of pioneering projects, will therefore provide a major part of the learning required to assist and guide future endeavors. It is useful and important in this context to bring together insights and lessons from the pioneers' examples - not merely to accord well deserved recognition to their efforts, but also to serve as a benchmark for future learning.

This volume of case studies has been put together with this intention of promoting mutual learning among those concerned with advancing civil society solutions for development and poverty reduction. Eight case studies, representing an equal number of projects and countries, have been selected from among a host of instructive and interesting experiences examined by the editors. This selection of cases was based as much on the excellence of results achieved in any particular case as on the richness in which these experiences were documented. Each case leads the reader step-by-step through the various stages of its particular learning experience, elucidating how particular problems were satisfactorily resolved in a specific situation, and providing insights about how similar processes and programs can be developed in other countries and contexts.

Though not by themselves constituting any generalized body of theory relevant to all situations and every country, these cases nevertheless represent a rich lode of practical experience, gained in a variety of different situations, and relating to different sectors, different countries, and different types of civil society organizations. The brief analytical framework presented below helps to organize these individual experiences into a cumulative body of knowledge that holds useful insights for practitioners as they deal with field situations elsewhere in the developing world.

Civil Society Organizations and Poverty Reduction: What Functions Do CSOs Perform?

The existence of a number of contending definitions complicates the task of identifying civil society organizations. For the purpose of this volume, we have selected a broad-based and relatively non-controversial definition that regards civil society as "the realm of organized social life that is voluntary, self-generating, (largely) self-supporting, autonomous from the state, and bound by a legal order or set of shared rules. It consists of a vast array of organizations, both formal and informal, including interest groups, cultural and religious organizations, civic and developmental associations, issue-oriented movements, the mass media, research and educational institutions, and similar organizations." 7

Notice that the description of organizations associated with the term civil society has deliberately been left somewhat vague and open-ended. It is neither possible nor useful to make any final list of CSOs that can apply universally and at all times. Which sorts of organizations qualify as CSOs will need to be determined with reference to the specific situation.

The constituents of civil society in any given setting can be distinguished by considering the functions that particular organizations perform or do not perform on behalf of individual citizens. It is with respect to their inclinations and their effectiveness in performing these functions that specific organizations in any particular country can or cannot be classified as CSOs 8.

Broadly, three sets of functions are performed to varying degrees by different types of civil society organizations:

Each of these functions is important, given the particular context, for mobilizing citizens toward the various tasks involved in reducing poverty.

Schemes of classification exist that differentiate among CSOs as membership vs. non-membership organizations; small, face-to-face organizations vs. large, subscription organizations spontaneous vs. professionally managed organizations; grassroots vs. umbrella organizations; etc. Any of these types of organizations can be relevant, however, provided that it serves one or more of the three functions stated above, and many different types of CSOs are represented in the cases included in this volume. It is important to recognize that there are a variety of organizations, serving a multitude of objectives, each related to empowering citizens and mobilizing social capital to serve collectively valued purposes 9.

Illustrating Three Functions Performed by CSOs

Articulating citizens' interests and demands is an important function performed by CSOs. Particularly when state policies and the programs of government agencies do not take account sufficiently of needs of the poor or of some other vulnerable sections, CSOs can step into this breach and help to represent their needs and interests. Cases from South Africa and Ukraine included within this volume illustrate situations where civil society actors have mobilized sections of society and where government policies have changed based on the interests and demands voiced by these actors.

In South Africa, it was the rural poor, particularly women and non-white people, whose concerns were not addressed adequately or in any effective manner by government departments. Even after a more democratic and representative government had replaced the apartheid state, many women and non-white males continued to live amid grinding poverty. A group of national CSOs got together to devise solutions to this problem. Acting in coordination with selected government agencies, they organized a series of Poverty Forums at different locations across this country, where the poor could come forward and speak about poverty as they experienced it in their everyday lives. Government policies have changed considerably to reflect the interests and demands that the poor have expressed at these forums. For the first time in this country, and perhaps anywhere in the world, policy makers are dealing with poverty in terms of the lived experiences of the poor. It is difficult to imagine how the interests of the poor in South Africa could have been equally well represented without the intervention of the concerned CSOs.

In Ukraine, it was handicapped citizens whose cause was represented by a concerned civil society organization. Government policies concerning the handicapped have improved significantly since Cerebral, an organization formed among parents of handicapped children, commenced its activities in the capital city of Kyiv. Small-scale but highly effective service provision by this group of concerned citizens served as a demonstration and a catalyst for wider changes in national policy. Significantly, citizens' attitudes toward the handicapped have also undergone a healthy change - reflecting the fact that CSOs are not always aligned in favor of society and against the state.

Articulating interests and demands is a key function served by almost every civil society organization. While political scientists have traditionally ascribed the function of interest articulation to political parties, such parties are not always strong in developing countries, and even where they are strong, they do not always represent the interests of the poor. Providing voice to the poor is consequently a function that can very often be performed only by active and accountable CSOs. Particularly where it concerns situations of extreme social exclusion, for example, among indigenous populations or with people who live in remote and inaccessible areas, voicing interests and demands is a function that will usually be performed by area-based CSOs.

Both local- and national-level CSOs have been involved in performing these functions in the cases of Philippines and the Pacific that are presented in this volume. Additionally, these CSOs have also been defending the rights that have traditionally accrued to indigenous people of these countries and which were cast aside during decades of unaccountable and exploitative rule.

CSOs in the Pacific republic of Vanuatu have been actively involved in designing and implementing processes of local governance that combine the strengths of tradition together with the speed and efficacy of modern scientific techniques. Oral historians, the traditional keepers of land rights in parts of Vanuatu, are working alongside government technicians and trained local youth, who use the latest global positioning technology to conduct land surveys. While land boundaries are marked out by these technicians, land rights are adjudicated by a local council headed by oral historians. Land disputes, a cause of great social disruption during the past, have been largely eliminated through this innovative combination of traditional institutions and modern technology. In the process, peoples? traditional rights to land have been restored and codified, and local institutions have been revived that can uphold these rights and adjudicate local disputes.

Local, village- and community-level, CSOs have worked in tandem with national CSOs and government agencies to bring about the mix of law, policy and procedures that have contributed to success in Philippines and the Pacific. An important lesson that emerges from these experiences concerns the need to combine the resources and talents at the disposal of an array of organizations. The best results are achieved when CSOs work not individually and in isolation from other organizations, but when partnerships are formed among different types of CSOs, distinguished by sector and level of operation, and also between CSOs and government agencies.

Defending citizens' rights is an important theme in another group of cases that deal with post-conflict situations. In Guatemala, for instance, decades of unremitting civil war had resulted in tearing apart the social fabric and eroding whatever trust existed among citizens and the government. Civil society organizations played a critical role in this situation in reestablishing social trust, in setting up institutions that could defend the social contract, and in implementing programs that could bring citizens' rights to bear upon national policy and institution building. Civil society actors involved in this effort were not always or necessarily in conflict with the government. A successful program was developed through restoring mutual confidence and building partnerships among CSOs and government agencies.

Accomplishing similar objectives was made much harder in Laos on account of the reluctance that this country's government had toward any form of civic association that functioned outside and apart from the state. Defending citizens' rights to form associations in this context required a careful and balanced strategy. The advantages of civic associations would need to be demonstrated carefully, without in any way appearing to threaten the government, so that the risk of strong and adverse responses could be minimized. To succeed in this milieu, the strategy of strengthening civil society had to start small and build incrementally. It was necessary first to demonstrate success on a small scale. Results accumulated from a succession of small-scale demonstrations provided leverage for seeking changes in policy at the national level. To a considerable extent, the strategy developed in Laos has worked successfully, at least through the initial stages of this necessarily long drawn-out process. The government is more permissive in its attitudes toward civil society, and more projects are being taken up among CSOs in this country.

Defending rights quite often involves CSOs in performing monitoring and watchdog functions vis--vis government departments and donor agencies, keeping the personnel of these agencies honest to the objectives that they are mandated to pursue. Performing these functions sometimes brings CSOs into conflict with these government and donor agencies. More often, however, and with greater advantages all around, disputes and differences are resolved through a gradualist strategy, such as that of Laos.

Compromises often arise among agency views based on the mutual learning that results from implementing small-scale experiments and pilot projects. The Ukraine case in this volume shows how citizens' group experimented, initially on a small scale, with an alternative model of rehabilitation for handicapped children. Avoiding head-on confrontation with government officials - even when their aims were frustrated, for instance, by heavy-handed bureaucrats who repeatedly shut down their first support center - this group was later successful not only in scaling up its effort but also in getting the government to adopt its model for implementing nationwide.

Ratcheting up gradually has been key to the development of other CSOs as well who have had to defend their vision and their programs against co-optation by government or donor agencies. In Trinidad and Tobago, for example, an area-based CSO has kept donor agencies honest toward their commitment for integrated, long-term and sustained development. Donor-supported assistance deteriorates quite often into a series of disconnected projects that displace any long-term action plan that an assisted CSO might have developed. Though most donors proclaim in favor of capacity building and sustainable development, their lending activities can result under some circumstances in diminishing capacity and reducing the prospects for sustainable development. Particularly when the donor supports isolated and short-term projects and long-term and programmatic goals are ignored, capacity building for sustainable development is likely to suffer in consequence. The Toco Foundation in Trinidad and Tobago provides an example of an organizational strategy that has persuaded donor agencies to extend support toward long-term objectives.

Some other cases in this volume also represent how CSOs have discharged the function of defending citizens' rights in a variety of different circumstances. The table below indicates how each of the three sets of functions has been served by CSOs in several different contexts.




Articulating Interests and Demands

Defending Rights

Providing Goods and Services



















Latin America

Trinidad and Tobago









South Africa








In every one of the cases we have considered in this volume, and in nearly all cases of CSOs' involvement in poverty reduction activities worldwide, there is usually a concern for providing some goods or services directly, i.e., without recourse to the state. Quite often it is the case that CSOs start out with the objective of serving some basic need, such as drinking water in Laos or medical assistance in Ukraine, that is being poorly served by state agencies. It is usually true, however, that even when they start out with such limited objectives, CSOs get drawn into a wider arena, articulating interests on behalf of their members and/or defending their rights vis--vis the state. The more CSOs get involved in mediating the relationship between citizens and the state, the more heavily they get drawn into articulating demands and defending rights.

What Features Enable CSOs to Perform Their Functions Effectively?

As mentioned before, a critical advantage that CSOs usually have over state-sponsored organizations concerns their ability to tap, effectively and legitimately, into societies' reservoirs of social capital. Among the cases considered in this volume, the one from Uganda provides a good illustration for this proposition. Farmers' groups, organized from below, and federated later into the Ugandan Cooperatives Association and the Ugandan Horticultural Association have been much more successful at mobilizing social capital than have the government-sponsored Village Councils that were imposed in standardized fashion across this country in compliance with administrative directions. Largely dissociated from local norms and values, these Councils have fallen prey in many instances to the unaccountable and self-serving deeds of their leaders. The new administrative laws and systems of grievance representation are not well explained among villagers, many of who live quite far away, both physically and emotionally, from the formal legal system.

Organizations imposed from above - Village Councils, in this case - are usually unable to mobilize social capital, at least not as effectively as other organizations that are constructed from below. Being accountable to their hierarchical superiors, state-invoked local organizations are usually less able to tap into local traditions of cooperation and coordination. Standardization of administrative practices further diminishes the ability of such organizations to adapt themselves to variations in local customs and traditions.

Combining modern institutions with traditional norms and social customs can be more productive, our cases illustrate, than decentralization that is driven by formal and codified rules alone. Highly formalized laws have served to diminish the favorable impacts of decentralization for most people of developing countries. Formal laws and courts remain mostly inaccessible to most people who live in villages. Consequently, many of these people are quite powerless to take advantage of decentralization schemes that bypass traditional systems of control and accountability at the local level 10. The cases in this volume from Philippines and the Pacific illustrate the benefits in terms of mobilizing social capital that can be gained by melding together traditional and modern institutions.

Neither traditional nor modern structures are entirely useful by themselves; rather, it is an appropriate combination of the two forms that are usually best suited for the purpose of development. The importance of this combination can be understood by considering the two dimensions of social capital, cognitive and structural, that were outlined above. While traditional structures are helpful in most cases for mobilizing the cognitive dimension of social capital, the structural dimension is better addressed - at least insofar as the tasks of development and growth are concerned - by establishing an appropriate and task-oriented local organization.

In the Philippines and the Pacific cases, while customary local leaders and oral historians provided the core around which the local organization was built, the organization itself was built from among new and technically competent elements of local society. In Philippines it was women, who served as key constituents of the local organization, while in the Pacific it was educated youth that were trained to apply the new techniques of land surveying. Novel and useful ways of combining tradition with modernity have been pioneered in these two cases as CSOs, not beholden to rigid official procedures, have felt relatively free to experiment with bold and innovative ideas.

Another advantage of working closely with CSOs has to do, thus, with the ability that these organizations have for developing innovative solutions through undertaking pilot projects on a small scale. State agencies tend over time to develop standardized and uniform responses that are implemented with relatively little local adaptation across entire regions and countries. Formal rules and operating procedures often limit the flexibility that even highly motivated agency staffs have for adapting national programs to local circumstances. CSOs, who have much fewer compulsions to bind themselves into some preconceived sets of operating procedures, are often more capable of innovating new approaches to development. Especially since they work on a small scale, CSOs usually provide excellent laboratories for pioneering new methods and strategies in a relatively efficacious and cost-effective manner.

Cerebral in Ukraine and the Toco Foundation in Trinidad and Tobago provide examples of this kind of development. Cerebral has pioneered the development of new approaches to deal effectively with rehabilitating handicapped children, not just physically but also economically and socially, and the Toco Foundation has developed original models for promoting eco-tourism in a region where natural beauty is profuse but also very fragile.

Pioneering innovative approaches on a small scale is not the entire measure of success, however. It is important in addition to disseminate these approaches and to scale up the effort so that it can make a measure of impact on the vast numbers of poor and powerless citizens who live in these countries. Cerebral's model has been adopted for nationwide implementation by Ukraine's government, and the Toco Foundation has been entering into collaborations with other CSOs and also with government departments to promote the spread of its strategy and approach.

Not all CSOs are able to scale up effectively the approaches that they have developed and which have worked well on a small scale. Quite often, CSOs and their external sponsors are not sufficiently sensitive to the need for maintaining healthy ties with government agencies. Though autonomy of action is often the motive behind choosing to remain aloof from government, this reduces the ability that any CSO has for exercising an effective influence upon the design of policy and large-scale national programs. Working in coordination with government agencies has its costs, no doubt, as Michael Als, the founder of the Toco Foundation, explains lucidly in the parts he has contributed to this case study; but the advantages that Toco has derived from these associations appear to outweigh the costs.

Development works best, as remarked earlier, when the strengths available to different agencies can be combined together in mutually beneficial ways. Though CSOs are much better suited for mobilizing social capital at the community level, government has the distinct advantage for mobilizing institutional resources at the regional and national levels. While we make a plea in this volume for supporting and strengthening civil society organizations, and while we use case materials to illustrate some ways in which these ends can be achieved in practice, we do not for a moment intend suggesting that these activities should be undertaken at the expense of the state.

Combining the spread and reach of government with the depth and flexibility of CSOs is to our minds the most effective organizational method for achieving development objectives. What we hope to achieve through this volume is to generate more interest in the second, and relatively less well attended, among these two complementary aspects of building organizational capacity, namely that related to strengthening civil society. That strengthening civil society is better accomplished through following a positive-sum approach - and not in some zero-sum manner, which views the state and civil society as adversaries, with the gains of one party being the loss of the other - is illustrated quite handily by each of the eight cases in this volume.

UNDP and Civil Society Organizations

The selection of cases represented in this volume all draw upon UNDP's experience of working with CSOs in different parts of the developing world. While these organizations must themselves be given full credit for the remarkable achievements that many of them have recorded, UNDP does take pride in the fact that, to some extent and at some times, it was associated with the endeavors that have made these achievements possible.

The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) has been increasingly involved with non-governmental organizations, community-based associations, grassroots groups, and other organizations of civil society, especially during the last two decades. For the initial three decades since its inception in 1945, UNDP's partners had traditionally been governments and other UN System bodies. Since 1975, however, UNDP has progressively sought to enlarge and enrich its engagement with civil society actors as well.

Commitment by UNDP has deepened since then as CSOs have come to be perceived as innovative in meeting community needs, flexible in their implementation modalities, conscious of local traditions and circumstances, as well as being cost-effective in service delivery. This change in awareness was reflected in 1986 when at the instance of UNDP's Governing Council a separate division, now entitled the Civil Society Organizations and Participation Programme, was established at headquarters with the specific objectives of enhancing UNDP's involvement with organizations of civil society.

The 1990's have proven pivotal for UNDP's approach toward mainstreaming engagements with civil society organizations. In part, this enlarged concern stems from the major outcomes and recommendations of pivotal international conferences organized under the auspices of the UN. Of particular importance was the World Summit of Social Development held in 1995 that called upon the international community, including all actors of the civil society to "positively contribute their own share of efforts and resources" toward assisting with the global objective of poverty reduction. It is from this commitment that UNDP derives it mandate to expand its work with CSOs. The concept and practices of Civil Society Organizations are now firmly entrenched as an integral part of UNDP's work at country, regional, and global levels.

Collaboration with CSOs is an officially declared and policy of UNDP's work. In 1998, an Information Disclosure Policy was adopted to ensure that all salient information on programmes and projects in made available freely to interested members of the public. Several CSO representatives have been nominated to sit on an oversight panel that assists with the implementation of this policy. UNDP has invited leaders of civil society to join with government planners and members of the private sector as well as other donors in preparing, implementing and evaluating programmes. To facilitate this process, UNDP has issued extensive operational guidelines in order that CSOs can be involved in all aspects of program design and management and not simply as downstream sub-contractors. CSOs participate in the formulation of Advisory Notes, Country Co-operation Frameworks, Policy Papers, local Project Appraisal Committees, etc., that is in all aspects of UNDP's work related to poverty reduction and sustainable human development. A committee comprised of CSOs, both North and South, is being set-up to consult with the Administrator and the Executive Board on key policy decisions.

There is need, however, for deepening this ongoing process. CSOs are as yet only peripherally involved in most countries in policy-making and governance activities. Increasing CSOs' involvement with the state and promoting mechanisms that facilitate co-operative relationships among state and civil society actors are goals that will acquire additional salience and commitment in the future.

A distinctive contribution of the UN lies in bringing civil society into the mainstream of public affairs and political commitments that affect the reduction of poverty and promote environmental conservation, gender equality, transparency, peace, and human rights at all levels of society - with a distinct emphasis on assisting the weakest actors. Working with civil society organisations will be increasingly aimed, thus, toward contributing to a different dynamic of promoting co-operation among state and civil society actors that is consistent with the UN's principles.

While these aims are becoming increasingly clear, the task of altering consciousness and promoting change is often slow and arduous. Even as UNDP embraces this transformative agenda and views development as a people's movement that transcends projects, structural change continues to be inhibited by an interlocking set of interests that are sustained and legitimated by a development vision grounded in the politics of the "powerful". Ultimately governments and markets must be persuaded to deal with the global development crisis - consisting of significant levels of human deprivation - and to address the associated tasks in collaboration with organizations of civil society. By providing examples of successful collaboration in practice, it is hoped, the cases in this volume can contribute toward making such a transformation easier and more widely accepted.

In stepping up its efforts to work with and support CSOs, UNDP commits itself to deliver its share of the global responsibility to make the UN system fully responsive to the aspirations of "We, the peoples." While the ground has shifted, the task of altering consciousness and promoting change is often slow and arduous. Even for UNDP, as it embraces the transformative agenda and views development as a people's movement that transcends projects and accepts sustainability and inclusiveness as its defining principles, structural change continues to be inhibited by an interlocking set of interests that are sustained and legitimated by a development vision grounded in the politics of the "powerful". Ultimately governments and markets must be persuaded to deal with the global development crisis, that of significant levels of human deprivation, in collaboration with organizations of civil society.

Chapter 2 through 8 of this volume present the experiences of a selection of CSOs that were assisted to a smaller or greater extent by UNDP. Chapter 10 concludes this volume by drawing together the lessons presented by the various cases.


  1. The literature relating to the roles played by such organizations in the "fourth wave" of democratizations in Eastern Europe and Latin America are represented, for example, by Schmitter and O'Donnell (199x), Ekiert (199x), [ADD OTHERS].
  2. See, for example, Barber 1995; Fukuyama 1995; Kothari 1988; Ostrom, Gardner and Walker 1994; World Bank 1993, 1997.
  3. Useful theoretical and empirical accounts of these relationships are provided, for instance, in Ostrom (1990); Rosenstone and Hansen (1993); and Verba, Schlozman and Brady (1995).
  4. On social capital, in general, and its links with institutional performance, see Putnam et al. (1993) and Coleman (1990). On the distinction between the cognitive and structural dimensions of social capital, see Uphoff (1999) and Krishna (1999).
  5. For instance, see Grootaert (1998), Krishna and Uphoff (1999), Reid and Salmen (1999).
  6. Representative studies of this genre include Esman and Uphoff (1984), Carroll (1992), and Farrington et al. (1993). Other organizations can also support social mobilization at the local level, these studies indicate, but only those externally imposed organizations can be successful in this respect that learn to be accountable to the local population (instead of to their hierarchical superiors) and that can thereby gain some degree of local legitimacy.
  7. This definition of civil society has been taken from Diamond, Linz and Lipset (1995: 27). Contending definitions of civil society presented by other authors are usually concerned about where exactly the boundaries should be drawn. Though little controversy exists about including grassroots groups, NGOs, universities, interest groups, and the media within the ambit of civil society, the inclusion of other groups, particularly private business, political parties, and kinship groups, provides ground for disagreement and dispute.
  8. This argument about considering civil society in terms of "what it does" rather than in terms of ?what it is? is developed further and presented in Uphoff and Krishna (1999), which also elaborates further on the three functions performed by civil society organizations and by other organizations that act in support of civil society.
  9. These and other categories of CSOs are considered, for instance, by Carroll (1992), McAdam, McCarthy and Zald (1988), Putnam (1996), and others.