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Abstract

This reflection explores the collision of anthropology and civic engagement, a combination that has come to define my senior research. My fieldwork at educational NGOs in Northern Richmond and Northern Ghana caused me to question the local relevancy of NGO management strategies. How can white, middle class teachers appropriately improve educational outcomes for low-income black students in Richmond? Is compulsory education appropriate training for Ghanaian farmers? Academic theories criticize “development” for furthering power against the oppressed, while the qualitative work of NGOs is quantified to fit the needs of grant writers. I find policy can never prescribe perfectly. In order for the management plans of educational NGOs to reflect local community perspective, teachers must self-identify as part of the community. My work as an ethnographer has caused me to reprioritize my identity as a citizen.