Weaving Networks of Responsibility: Community Work in Development Programs in Rural Malawi Academic Article uri icon


  • The need to cope with the impact of the AIDS epidemic on communities in Africa has resulted in the emergence of numerous community health and development programs. Initiated by governments, international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and local organizations, such programs target local communities with the goal of building care and support mechanisms in the local level. Based on ethnographic field research in rural Malawi, and drawing from the cross-disciplinary debate on development work, the article explores the work of an NGO offering health and care programs to orphans and vulnerable children. Through analyzing the organization's scope of work, the article demonstrates how the NGO acts to structure local social networks as instruments of care and offers a new reading of the role of NGOs in which the limitations of development work and the work of NGOs are understood within their local context and not only in the context of broad cultural critique.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012