Scaling up civil society: donor money, NGOs and the pastoralist land rights movement in Tanzania

Tanzania’s pastoralist land rights movement began with local resistance to the alienation of traditional grazing lands in Maasai and Barabaig communities. While these community-based social movements were conducted through institutions and relationships that local people knew and understood, they were not co-ordinated in a comprehensive fashion and their initial effectiveness was limited. With the advent of liberalization in the mid-1980s, they began to gain institutional legitimacy through the registration of pastoralist NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs). Registered NGOs provided community leaders with a formal mechanism for co-ordinating local land movements and for advocating for land rights at the international level. The connections of pastoralist NGOs to disenfranchised communities, and their incorporation of traditional cultural institutions into modern institutional structures, resonated with the desires of international donors to support civil society and to create an effective public sphere in Tanzania, making these NGOs an attractive focus for donor funding. In spite of their good intentions, however, donors frequently overlooked the institutional impacts of their assistance on the pastoralist land rights movement and the formation of civil society in pastoralist communities. NGO leaders have become less accountable to their constituent communities, and the movement itself has lost momentum as its energies have been diverted into activities that can be justified in donor funding reports. A political movement geared towards specific outcomes has been transformed into group of apolitical institutions geared toward the process of donor funding cycles.
Tipo de recurso: