Social Engineering From Above and Below
This chapter draws on the experiences of two women to introduce the book’s context, Guatemala, and its central comparison between Namaste and the Fraternity. Too often scholars and practitioners fixate on development interventions’ policies and outcomes and view development projects as happening to people in the global south. Many ignore questions that are analytically prior: How are NGOs’ development projects constituted in the first place? What determines what actually happens on the ground? By studying the everyday experiences and practices of Namaste’s and the Fraternity’s projects, this study reveals that rather than passive recipients of the projects, women are key actors in shaping how Namaste’s and the Fraternity’s projects unfold. The chapter outlines the book’s key findings regarding the origins and effects of development models, as well as how development’s universal tensions ensure the persistence of projects even in the face of their apparent failure.