Accountability in Development Organizations : Experiences of Women's Organizations in India

Poonam Smith-Sreen, Sage, 1995, 297 p, tables, ISBN : 8170364493, $19.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: Preface. 1. Introduction. 2. Dimensions of accountability in grassroots organizations. 3. Member-accountability in practice. 4. The research process. 5. Organizational structures and strategies: four case studies. 6. Is member-accountability related to benefits accrued by members? 7. Characteristics of member-accountable organizations. 8. Implications for stakeholders. Appendices. Bibliography. Index.

"The concept of member-accountability has hitherto received scant attention in development literature. A pioneering work in the field of development studies, this book goes beyond the traditional framework of understanding accountability in terms of financial accounting and constitutes a landmark in terms of conceptualizing accountability to members.

"Poonam Smith-Sreen has developed tools for assessing member-accountability based on case studies of four grassroots organizations involved in income generating activities for women in India. Through these case studies, the author also examines the functioning and management styles of voluntary organizations and throws fresh light on the need to generate and implement economic activities for women as a means of enhancing their self-reliance, prestige and decision making roles in society.

"Incisively analyzing the link between the social and the economic benefits accruing to members of NGOs, this study demonstrates the relationship between the extent of member-accountability and benefits to members. This leads to an examination of the implications of these factors for the general theory and practice of sustainable development, and also provides insights into how NGOs involved in development work could become more effective and accountable to its members.

"A unique feature of this book is that it high-lights the benefits accruing to the members from the perspective of the members themselves rather than from the generally prevalent point of view of donors or development organizations.

"A signal contribution to our understanding of development issues, this book will be of considerable interest to those involved in community development, women's studies, and sociology, as well as to practitioners, scholars and policy makers engaged in grassroots development." (jacket)

[Poonam Smith-Sreen is currently the Country Representative in Gabon, Central Africa for the International Foundation for Education and Self Help.]

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