| By Anthony Bebbington | Annals of the American Academy of Social and Political Sciences 554, 117-135 |

Abstract: Many Latin American nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) emerged as part of a movement committed to the idea of an alternative development that would differ from the dominant exclusionary, top-down, and often repressive forms of development. Yet today, after two or three decades of work in rural development, NGO activities appear to have had relatively little impact on dominant conceptions of development. Indeed, in the current economic and policy context, many of their alternatives appear impractical or simply obsolescent, challenging them to rethink their ideas of viable forms of alternative development, and their roles in development. In addition, their own institutional crises require them to rethink the way in which they relate to other actors and the ways in which they finance themselves. This article considers how conceptions of alternative development might be refashioned and how NGOs are beginning to reinvent themselves in order to carry forward new notions of development alternatives. It closes with a discussion of the implications for foreign aid.