Cultural Capital and the Sustainability of NGOs’ Development Programs in Zimbabwe: An Integrative Approach

Phillip Mpofu


This paper examines the compatibility of the development programs which are implemented by the Non-Governmental Organizations’ (NGOs) in the Midlands, Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces of Zimbabwe with the cultural sustainability and sustainable development in these cultural communities. This paper argues for the integration of cultural capital in the developmental projects which are implemented by the NGOs in the provinces of Zimbabwe. This paper is based on the data which was collected from five NGOs and six cultural communities which are the beneficiaries of the NGOs’ development programs. The theoretical underpinnings of this paper are situated in cultural conservatism, a philosophy which valorises the traditional cultural institutions and the organic change of these cultural communities. This study establishes that, the programs implemented by the NGOs in Zimbabwe are predetermined and are detached from the cultures of the communities in which they are implemented. In view of the argument that culture is an important component in development, both as cultural capital and in defining development, this paper concludes that the prescriptive NGOs’ development programs are detrimental to cultural sustainability and sustainable development in Zimbabwe. Therefore, this paper argues that there is need to integrate the cultural capital of the communities in the designing and implementation of the NGOs development programs in Zimbabwe.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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