| By Anthony Bebbington | Published in World Development 33(6): 937-950 |

Abstract: Nongovernmental organizations have attracted growing criticism for being unrepresentative of and unaccountable to the poor people for whose well-being they claim to work. Research on Dutch and Peruvian NGOs suggests this happens in part because the chronic weakness of popular organizations makes it difficult for NGOs to reach the poorest groups. However, such problems of representation also occur because trends within the aid chain have made it increasingly difficult for NGOs to understand livelihood dynamics or new organizational possibilities among rural populations. Informed by out-of-date and agrarian representations of these groups, interventions become biased toward the less poor.