Date of Award


Thesis Date


Degree Type

Honors Thesis-Unrestricted

Degree Name


Degree Program

International Studies


Steve Striffler


This thesis examines the roles played by Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) in addressing the broad issue of poverty and development by focusing on the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. A new and intricate interplay of the profit, public, and non-profit sectors has arisen as the importance of NGOs has grown throughout the Global South. NGOs, now at the heart of economic development in LAC, are actors in what has been called a global civil society and have demonstrated an immense breadth of specified knowledge and adaptability. The main objective of the paper is to explore whether, and to what extent, NGOs can strengthen the capacity of states to effectively and fairly govern, and promote sustainable development. What can NGOs do to improve states in Latin America and the Caribbean? NGOs are placed within the progressive spectrum of development, while uncovering the need for a balanced approach to the complex topic of development. Consequently, NGOs carrying out capacity building objectives can be seen to support the involvement of local actors and communities while serving as interlocutors between the state and civil society. Haiti is used as a case study because it provides a unique and extreme example of the role that NGOs can play in promoting the public sector.


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