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As public spending has declined, NGOs have secured a measure of financial security by taking on service-indelivery. At the same time, they are a convenient channel through which official agencies can promote political pluralism. But can NGOs both facilitate governments’ withdrawals from providing basic services for all and also claim to represent and speak for the poor and the disenfranchised? Jenny Pearce introduces papers that describe some of the tensions inherent in the roles being played by NGOs.

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