INTRODUCTION Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) continue to be the global 'flavour of the month' in international development. They are regarded as "outside" actors perceived to work in the interests of the poor, and in the absence of the state, many NGOs have taken on vital role in the provision of basic services to the poor. The institutional and political environment is attuned to privatisation in whatever form it takes. NGOs are another expression of this trend, but in the case of NGOs no real disillusionment phase has yet set in. But still NGOs remain the favoured vehicle for grass-roots involvement and community development in many countries.