There has been considerable interest in recent years in the ability of non-governmental organisations to work with the rural poor in developing countries in order to improve their quality of life and economic status through the provision of credit, skills training, and other inputs forincome-generation programmes. This book brings together the results of 16 evaluations in 4 countries (Bangladesh, India, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) to provide a detailed assessment of the contribution that NGOs make to rural poverty alleviation. The results indicate that NGO projects are successful whenthey build in a high degree of participation, when the staff are committed to the goals of the project, and when they are managed by strong and competent leaders. Many of the projects studied contributed to increases in income and welfare. However, not all projects were successful, contrary toreceived wisdom about the efficacy of NGO interventions. many failed to reach the very poorest, most were costly to implement, and few of the projects demostrated an ability to continue once external funding was withdrawn. These findingd provide string support for viewing NGOs as a mechanism forhelping to reduce rural poverty, but also demonstrate that many of the interventions are isolated or one-off. The impact of NGOs could be heightened by increasing the size of the intervention, encouraging greater cooperation among NGOs, and by fostering closer cooperation with governments. This study will make an impact in the development community, and its conclusions will help shape NGO and poverty agendas in the coming years. The book will appeal to all those concerned with rural development, NGOs, and development programmes.