This thesis examines participation in two Community Economic Development projects in rural Bolivia. Community-based projects enable communities to improve their livelihoods in a locally defined manner, especially via exerting control over projects from planning and implementation through to maintenance. The national decentralization process, begun in the 1990s and greatly expanded by the Morales administration, has given indigenous communities increasing funding and political autonomy. However, participatory agency for CED projects depends not only on larger-scale factors such as political/fiscal decentralization and relations with NGOs, but also crucially on local/community dynamics arising from traditional inter-personal relations and social structures, as well as community-municipal institutions. Such factors profoundly influence the ability of project participants to define their development goals, and organize and control projects appropriate to their needs, wishes and conditions.
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Thesis advisor: Brohman, John
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