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Blurring Boundaries: The Integration of NGOs into Governance in Kenya



This article examines the impact of the proliferation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on governance in Kenya. Looking specifically at service provision, it analyzes how the growth of NGOs has begun to change the way decisions are made and policy is formulated. In so doing, the article explores shifting NGO–government relations over time. The governance of service provision has become a complex, intertwined affair in which NGOs sit on national policymaking committees, government integrates NGO plans and budgets into national policy, and government actors learn from and copy NGOs' participatory, accountable approach. Through (1) the integration of former NGO leaders in government, (2) increasing the variety of voices heard in government decision making, (3) lobbying by NGOs, and (4) mimicry of NGOs by government, governance of Kenyan service provision has begun to become more democratic. Through such changes, developing countries are witnessing a blurring of the line between public and private.