This research explores the role of the IOPA, a developmental NGO in northern Tanzania, by focusing specifically on the organization’s role as a secondary political institution and its relationship with stakeholders. In the midst of the divided scholarly debate concerning the role and future of developmental NGOs, this case study offers a clear example of a successful, community-based developmental organization. What makes this organization different from so many others that have failed to accomplish similar goals? I investigate the achievements of the IOPA’s social and economic development programs through participant observation and interviews conducted in Terrat Village with organization employees and local Maasai community members. This community represents a small percentage of the Maasai people; an Indigenous population historically marginalized and systematically excluded from the decision-making processes that impact Maasai culture and economic livelihoods.

I found that the IOPA successfully influences community development by focusing on downward accountability towards non-donor stakeholders and empowering Maasai by incorporating stakeholders in democratic decision-making processes. This study draws on Easton’s model for the analysis of political systems and Freeman’s stakeholder theory to understand the role of the IOPA as an institution and the NGO-stakeholder relationship in a specific cultural context. The model of community development instituted by the IOPA should be used as a framework for other developmental NGOs, many of which engage in harmful stakeholder relationships and are therefore unable to institute long-term developmental progress.


Matsuzawa, Setsuko


Sociology and Anthropology


African Languages and Societies | Models and Methods | Social and Cultural Anthropology


NGOs, Stakeholders, Secondary Political Systems, Tanzania

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Ellen R. Boyd