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For the purposes of accountability and uniformity, and as a way of giving insight into their intellectual capital regarding development practices, NGOs in Southern Africa are required by donor agencies to describe their intended activities in very clear, unambiguous terms. These requirements may include the expression of theoretical approaches, the development of logical frameworks, clear objectives, indicators for success, criteria for sustainable development, and relationships to government policies. However, the interface between reality and these planning measures and tools, most often completed without the input and contributions of the communities whom they are to serve/service, produces a much more messy, dynamic, and involved picture of the development process. None the less, the NGOs are still required to be accountable on the basis of their original proposal and planning. The author presents examples of this phenomenon and discusses the challenges facing an evaluator when dealing with competing principles of accountability, autonomy, and authenticity.

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