Non-Governmental Organizations and Development Service Provision: A Conceptual and Empirical Review

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Daniel Odoom
Joseph Obeng-Baah
Lawrencia Agyepong


Globally, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are seen as a significant driving force behind delivering development services. There is universal consensus within the development community that development service delivery will be incomplete without the involvement of NGOs. Thus, many NGOs across the globe complement governments' efforts in development service delivery, a situation that has occasioned a rapid rise in both the volume and scale of operations of NGOs. Nonetheless, there is a growing debate regarding the conceptual intentions of NGOs. While some scholars believe that NGOs effectively provide development services, others have suggested that development service delivery does not constitute a critical component of NGOs' agenda. There is also the issue of whether or not the approaches NGOs employ in development services are participatory enough. While some scholars opine that participatory development communication approaches characterize NGOs' development services, others maintain that participation is merely rhetoric value within the NGO sector. These contending views risk an obliteration of the continuing relevance of NGOs in development discourse. This paper seeks to contribute to the debate on the place of NGOs in development services and the approaches NGOs employ in contemporary development practice. The authors posit that NGOs occupy a central place in development service provision but concede that NGO operations in development services are not without challenges. The authors argue further that NGOs’ role in development services can better be appreciated based on a thorough understanding of the role of participatory development communication in development service provisions. The paper presents a review of the relevant conceptual and empirical literature on NGOs' activities in development services and concludes by identifying lessons that should engage the attention of key stakeholders.


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Daniel Odoom, Joseph Obeng-Baah, & Lawrencia Agyepong. (2022). Non-Governmental Organizations and Development Service Provision: A Conceptual and Empirical Review. PanAfrican Journal of Governance and Development (PJGD), 3(1), 50-83.
Author Biographies

Daniel Odoom, Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra, Ghana

Daniel Odoom (Ph.D.) is a Lecturer at the Department of Communication Studies, Ghana Institute of Journalism where he teaches courses including Development Communication Strategies, Communication for Social Change, Introduction to Development Theories, and Advanced Communication Research Methods. Daniel has over a decade of teaching experience at the university level. He also served as Head of the Department of Research, Ghana Communication Technology University (Takoradi Campus). His research interests include development communication, governance, decentralization, community development, and sustainability. Odoom holds an M.Phil. in Development Studies and a Ph.D. in NGO Studies and Community Development from the University of Cape Coast. 

Joseph Obeng-Baah , Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra, Ghana

Joseph Obeng-Baah (Ph.D.) is serving as a Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. His research interests include communication and development, governance and development, peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization, and human rights. He holds a Ph.D. in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution and an M.Sc. in Peace Operations and Global Health Policy from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, United States of America. He also holds the Professional PR Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the United Kingdom, Post-Graduate Diploma in Communication Studies, and BA (Hons) in French and Spanish from the University of Ghana. He is a member and accredited practitioner of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (UK).

Lawrencia Agyepong , Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra, Ghana

Lawrencia Agyepong (Ph.D.) is a Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) with 12 years of experience in Media and Communication Studies and is widely recognized for her contributions to the communication training industry. Before joining GIJ, Lawrencia was a Corporate Communications Manager, at the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority. Lawrencia holds an M.Sc. in Media and Communication Research and a Ph.D. in Media and Communication from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom. Her research interests include political communication, political marketing, and development communication. She also served as the Head of Department (Ag) of Communication Studies, Chair of the GIJ@60 Committee, Head of Research, and President of the GIJ chapter of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).


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