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Keywords:

  • afterlife of development;
  • alternative development;
  • Honduras;
  • ICT4D;
  • networks;
  • post-development;
  • volunteer tourism, voluntourism

The projecthonduras network identifies itself as “an alternative concept for the development of Honduras using information and communications technology (ICT) to identify, mobilize and coordinate all the available human capital in Honduras and around the world.” These ambitious goals reflect a wider commitment to non-traditional, non-state-directed alternative development that calls on a network of volunteers, encouraging them to exercise their knowledge and compassion to aid in the development of Honduras. This article analyzes the promotion of volunteerism within the projecthonduras network, and the use of internet-enabled networking to multiply the impact of volunteers in development. This is a contested assemblage in which the promises of technological opportunities and people-led development are confronted by critiques of neo-colonialism and modernization in the contemporary neoliberal context. The article ethnographically documents how, despite the promises of networking and volunteerism and the humanitarian foundations of the network, strong traces of modernist principles remain within projecthonduras. It casts light on the concept of networks for development, and illuminates a central paradox of the projecthonduras.com model for development: despite its goal to be an alternative model, its rhetoric and practices build on developmentalist legacies and contributes to the neo-liberalization of Honduras.