Mahurin Honors College (Self-Designed) Student Honors Theses

A Targeted Approach? A Study of NGO Roles and Practices in Promoting Economic Development

Emma Caroline Shoaf, Western Kentucky University


In recent years, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have become key actors promoting economic development. Despite their rapid rise, there are still significant gaps in the development sphere regarding what NGOs do in specific contexts. This research evaluates how NGOs promote economic development among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to give context to general trends within development literature. Through an in-depth case study of the NGO Cives Mundi and their recent development project Tatreez–focused on promoting economic empowerment among Palestinian refugee women through the formation of a weaving co-op–this study seeks to evaluate key advantages and disadvantages to NGO work in specific contexts to explain the variation in NGO strategies for promoting economic development. Through analyzing the reaction and adaptation of the NGO Cives Mundi to the changing environment within their areas of intervention, this research will analyze how NGOs react to their environment and how their experience fits in with generalizations made within existing development frameworks.