CONFLICT OR CONSENT: INGO INTERVENTIONS ON FAMILY PLANNING IN WEST AFRICA
Turner, Manuela Costa
McCabe, Douglas M
The rise of Tech Billionaires has shifted the models for international philanthropy. The prevalence of philanthrocapitalism provoked by the fortunes and idealism of tycoons, now dominate many initiatives advocated by international nongovernment organizations (INGOs), achieving global impact and delivering benefits for many. However, as INGOs strive for maximum results and operational efficiencies, both positive and negative reactions surface in the midst of interventions attempting to enhance the wellbeing of populations. This thesis examines the impact of INGOs on family planning and the generation of individual, social, and governance conflicts in West Africa. The hypothesis guiding this work is that interventions of INGOs that promote modern health and reproductive family planning practices, generates conflict from individuals to national levels. The analysis explores different levels of conflict, from family and cultural clashes to ideological, bureaucratic, and economic disputes. As a classification of levels guides the analysis, it is coalesced from the blending of actual empirical cases of conflicts reported through interviews and public debates. In an effort to scrutinize their role or not in the creation of conflict in the region, the philosophy, operations, and contributions of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are examined. The INGOs’ and the Foundation’s role in the direct causation of conflicts locally, stemming from interventions on family planning and the alternative forms of birth control, could not be conclusively verified. Pre-existing conflicts facing modernization in general, such as patriarchal mores, conservative religious values, and gender power disputes, obscures the role of INGOs as the dominant source of conflict at different levels with the interference in family planning. There is a need for additional systematic research focusing on family planning programs, both at individual and societal levels for greater clarification and understanding of the problem.
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