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A case of inappropriately targeted vulnerability reduction initiatives in Andhra Pradesh, India?

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Purpose ‐ The paper seeks to assess the influence and effectiveness of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in targeting and aiding "communities" to reduce their socio-economic vulnerability to infrequent large-scale and common everyday crises in coastal Andhra Pradesh. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Data collection included 342 questionnaires with village inhabitants, local and regional government officials and personnel managing and working for local NGOs. To add qualitative detail to the quantitative data that were collected, 308 "everyday" sociograms, 294 "crisis" sociograms, and 34 semi-structured interviews were also conducted. Findings ‐ The research identifies that NGOs in the study areas do not operate in multi-caste villages, apparently because they prefer to operate in relatively homogeneous single-caste villages. The implications are that some of the most vulnerable members of society, such as the marginalised "communities" that partially constitute multi-caste villages, do not receive the support they need. Research limitations/implications ‐ This study focuses on a specific region of Andhra Pradesh with the consequence that the findings are potentially very context-specific. Nonetheless, the findings highlight a fundamental flaw in the way many NGOs operate in this region, through the targeting of perceived "easy cases", and this is a matter that development agencies should consider and further investigate. Originality/value ‐ This paper will be of value to researchers and practitioners seeking to gain a better understanding of NGOs and the way some of them operate. The paper recommends a number of ways that the observed inefficiencies could be addressed.
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Keywords: Disasters; Economic development; India; Non-governmental organizations

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-09-04

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