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Samaritans and Patrons: The long road to civil society in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Kuntz, Jessica / B. (2015) Samaritans and Patrons: The long road to civil society in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In February 2014, nationwide protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) were followed by a series of ‘plenums,’ grassroots gatherings of citizens issuing demands of their public officials. The novelty of citizen activism in BiH overshadowed a surprisingly stipulation of the plenums: the explicit exclusion of NGOs. This paper undertakes to explain the divide that has arisen between Bosnian civil society and the local population. Employing the analytic lens of the Samaritan’s Dilemma, which posits an inverse relation between the efforts of donors and that of recipients, we hypothesize that the presence of assured donor funds prompted recipient NGOs to exert lower levels of effort than they otherwise would have. We further hypothesize that lower effort will manifest as reduced organizational responsiveness to changing constituent needs. To test this hypothesis, the paper explores the process of NGO mission formation and evolution through qualitative interviews with a sample of six Bosnian NGOs. Secondarily, we employ a more macro approach by tracking the evolution of NGO projects by sector, using projects funded by the National Endowment for Democracy as a sample. Our findings disconfirm our hypothesis but reveal a plausible alternate explanation which we define as the ‘leaders without followers’ phenomenon. Our findings suggest that Bosnian NGOs lack two elements critical to their civil society function: a targeted beneficiary group and mechanisms by which to engage a public constituency. Consequently, our policy recommendations hinge on the introduction of ‘community integration’ as a criteria used by donors to evaluate potential grant recipients. In expanding their evaluative criteria beyond organization capacity and project viability, donors should aim to engage resource-poor, local NGOs in order to promote the dual growth of NGOs and civil society, rather than the former at the expense of the latter.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kuntz, Jessica /
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorDunn, Billdunn@pitt.eduDUNN
Committee MemberNelson, Paulpjnelson@pitt.eduPJNELSON
Committee MemberKearns, Kevinkkearns@pitt.eduKKEARNS
Date: 1 July 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 April 2015
Approval Date: 1 July 2015
Submission Date: 8 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 78
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: MPIA - Master of Public and International Affairs
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Civil society, nongovernmental organizations, donor-NGO relations, aid effectiveness, foreign aid, Bosnia Herzegovina, Balkans, Southeast Europe, democracy promotion
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2015 14:42
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:27


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