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Local Organisations Capacity and Its Influence on Partnership with Local Government for Rural Development in Brazilian Amazonia

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17800/2238-8893/aos.v1n1p25-44



Mário Vasconcellos Sobrinho1 & Ana M. A. Vasconcellos2


Abstract: The paper attempts to further understanding of the Local Organisations (LO) capacity for working in partnership. In particular, the paper analyses the LO nature, function and structure to be effective in working in partnership with Local Government Agencies (LGA) in the implementation of local development programmes at municipal level in Brazilian Amazonia. Through a qualitative and descriptive analysis, the paper reconstitutes the factors that influenced de LO creation; classifies the LO by their nature, level of action, identity and achievements; and points out the LO characteristics that have facilitated and/or hampered relationships with LGA. The paper’s data is from the LO of the municípios of Igarapé-Miri, Ourém and Mojú located on the north-east of Pará state in the Brazilian Amazonia region. The paper shows that heterogeneous and multi-functional LO such as the Community-Based Development Association (CBDA) and the Rural Workers’ Unions have a much greater organisational capacity than single or dual-function local organisations for carrying out a partnership process and to respond to family-based, small-scale rural producers’ interests. They have been dominated by the better-off and those with more trained members although the poorer and less capable groups have not been excluded. One of the most significant powers of the multifunctional organisations (particularly the CBDAs and the Rural Workers’ Unions) is the combination of strong intragroup ties with powerful extragroup networks at different levels — an important component of social capital. The Igarapé-Miri, Ourém and Mojú cases illustrate the impact that multifunctional local organisations such as the CBDA and the Rural Workers’ Unions have on local development and governance. Without a political capacity for understanding their own role and of the role of the state in the process of development, the participation of single or dual-function LO in local development process may reinforce or simply confirm the power of the state.

Key words: Local Organisations. Partnership. Rural Development


1 He is an economist and holds PhD in Development Studies from Swansea University (UK). He is a professor at Federal University of Pará and University of Amazonia. Email: mariovasc@unama.br, mariovasc@ufpa.br
2 She is a sociologist and holds PhD in Development Studies from Swansea University (UK). She is a professor at University of Amazonia. Email: annavasc@unama.br


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