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This paper examines the role of ideology in underpinning the operations of major development movements. As a confessional NGO, World Vision (WV) presents a useful case study; and this article examines the influence on this NGO of the interaction between ideology and wider development trends. It is argued that from roots in a specific cultural expression of Christianity-which enabled a highly focused and homogeneous ethos-WV’s ideology has been transformed by growth and diversification into a fusion of mainstream Christianity and the pursuit of the concept of partnership; a process which underlines the role of development and geo-political forces constantly to challenge NGOs’ self-image and strategic directions.

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