Sociology Insights


Up and Down the Structure of Catholic Relief Services Subsidiarity and Empowerment in an NGO Program

Author(s): Carl Milofsky

This is a case study of local intervention by a large, international NGO, Catholic Relief Services. It is challenging to situate particular interventions in relationship to a large, complex organization like CRS. One task of the paper will be to describe the history, culture, and scope of CRS as a $900 million organization operating in more than 100 countries. While this big organization provides a background canvas, our main goal is to describe a particular, local intervention in relationship to the highly structured CRS policy development and implementation system, PROPAC. The second task of the paper is to compare the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, having the lowest organizational level participate in decision-making, with empowerment, the process by which members of local communities feel that they are in control of their communities and social initiatives for change. This paper argues that subsidiarity does not lead to empowerment.

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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License © 2018