Beyond NGDOs: is utopia still viable?

This article describes the need for non-governmental development organisations (NGDOs) to examine and so enhance their role if they are to take an active part in the shaping of a structurally different society - a silent revolution. It is argued that mainstream NGDOs belong to a broader alternative movement (see Appendix) which is involved in the search for equitable and sustainable forms of social organisation. In understanding development as a process of empowerment, NGDOs are bound to encounter both internal and external resistance. However, to be effective and to have credibility, it is argued that Northern NGDOs must challenge inequality in their own societies as well as internationally and through the work they support in developing countries.