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Abstract

This article identifies multiple roles and functions of non-governmental organizations as perceived by various stakeholders. The primary purpose of the study on which this article is based was to test the theory of community capacity that states that social capital, human capital, and organizational resources available to the community are predictors of its collective ability. The methodology for this article included secondary data analysis from a survey and qualitative study conducted to assess the effectiveness of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Internationals’ food security programs. The four Latin American countries in which the study was done are Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The study relied on a survey that was administered to approximately 1,200 heads of household, 300 from each of the four countries. It also relied on a qualitative component that drew from eight focus group discussions and eight in-depth interviews. The experimental and comparison groups were each composed of approximately 150 subjects per country; the experimental group participated in the food security programs of ADRA International while the comparison group had not received any food security services. Many study participants reported the perception that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are more effective and efficient than the agencies of their respective governments in responding to disasters and poverty. Most study participants also shared the perception that they have progressed economically as a result of the development services they received from ADRA international. They expressed strong support for International NGOs in these four Latin American countries. This study provides a base level empirical model for testing theses with respect to the neo-liberal perspective on non-governmental organizations. However, the researchers believe that a test of the neoliberal economic model calls for a larger and diverse sample of International Non-Governmental organizations located in randomly selected developing countries. [AUTHOR ABSTRACT]

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