This book contributes to the developing debate which is questioning the role of foreign funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs). There is a growing awareness the they serve as a powerful structural influence which impacts on both organizational landscapes and civil society. In this context, Susantha Goonatilake studies the political economy of NGO activity in Sri Lanka, a country which once had a vibrant democratic tradition and a functioning civil society.
He contends that focused NGO penetration into the country began in the 1980s simultaneously with the growth of the authoritarian state. He claims that subsequent NGO activity in Sri Lanka has had a deep impact on visible civic life, drawing the conclusion that the work of foreign funded NGOs actually undermines `locally grown' civil institutions.