“Substantial Mutuality”: The Road to Trust between NGOs’ stakeholders


  • Charlotte Bour Charlotte Bour is a French development worker and NGO programme co-ordinator




multi-level governance, non-governmental organisations, leadership-as-proces, trust, development agendas


Multi-level governance materialises in the chain of influence between donors, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), local partners and beneficiaries. This stepped relationship is often characterised by a degree of mutual mistrust and by divergent interests. It exists in a realm between formal highly bureaucratised and standardised development systems coupled with ineffective management practices, short-term agendas and lack of interpersonal relations, which undermine the creation of mutuality between the former and mostly informal stakeholders at the receiving end. This enquiry on “leadership as process” examines the role of NGOs in creating “substantial” mutuality in this chain of relationships. The data collected showed that there is a gap between upstream (donors and NGOs) objectives and the context in which they operate. The study concludes that by establishing mutuality and ownership NGOs can bridge the gap and limitations of the current system.

Keyword: multi-level governance; non-governmental organisations; leadership-as-process; trust; development agendas

Author Biography

Charlotte Bour, Charlotte Bour is a French development worker and NGO programme co-ordinator

Charlotte Bour MA is a French development worker interested in the interactions between development actors and local autonomy. She graduated from King's College London at the African Leadership Centre with merit and is now working as a programme coordinator for Non-Governmental Organisations including Fair Trade Max Havelaar and the Haitian Associations Network. She has recently been involved in fair trade programmes and now oversees multi-dimensional projects in Haiti. Among a variety of activities, she performed as the French delegate for the G7 of the Youth in 2019. Email: charlottebour@hotmail.fr




How to Cite

Bour, C. (2020). “Substantial Mutuality”: The Road to Trust between NGOs’ stakeholders. Leadership and Developing Societies, 5(1), 37–54. https://doi.org/10.47697/lds.34348003