Emma Adams, Morgan Day, Justin This



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The professed goal of the development paradigm is to bring the “underdeveloped” nations up to the level of the “developed” nations through increased autonomy of their society’s poor and marginalized groups. By the end of the first decade of development in the late 1950s, however, experts had to come to terms with development’s failure to achieve the growth desired in the underdeveloped nations. In light of these shortcomings, many in the field of development concluded the cause was excluding the very people who were supposed to most benefit from development: the poor and marginalized. In an effort to right these wrongs, the development field turned to a new set of methods: grassroots participation, and as a corollary to that, a push for local leadership. Inherent in this push for grassroots involvement is the need to develop leaders within the target population to strengthen the country’s development through its own civil society organizations (CSOs). One such organization that is now pursuing this new goal of local leadership is Counterpart International. Through its Emerging Civil Society Leaders (ECSL) program, Counterpart has been working in Afghanistan to develop local leaders who can help the country address the myriad of problems it currently faces. This presentation aims to provide an analysis of Counterpart’s ECSL program. By comparing Counterpart’s efforts to those of other organizations with similar goals and with literature critical of the development paradigm, the aim is to provide a thorough analysis of the impact of Counterpart’s ECSL program in Afghanistan.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Capstone Project

Primary Advisor

Simanti Dasgupta

Primary Advisor's Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; Partnerships for the Goals

A Critical Analysis of Youth Empowerment in Afghan Civil Society by Counterpart International