Fragile States

DAI’s fragile states work, led by the Center for Secure and Stable States, builds on our global reputation for innovative post-crisis assistance to support political transition, ensure short-term stability operations, prevent and counter violent extremism (P/CVE), and lay the foundation for long-term development in fragile, crisis-stricken states.

Countering Extremism

Mitigating the threat from—and strengthening resilience to—violent extremism is a multifaceted commitment that requires all the tools at our disposal: diplomatic, development, data, and defense. Well-versed in operating alongside complementary diplomatic and defense initiatives, DAI addresses violent extremism on multiple fronts, bringing to this task our full suite of expertise in good governance, job creation, community development, post-conflict stabilization, rule of law, citizen security, public financial management, trade and customs, and social development.

Our integrated approach builds the capacity of national governments, civil society, the private sector, and communities to become full partners with international actors in combating extremist ideologies. And while there is no “silver bullet” solution to the challenge of violent extremism, we know that exerting pressure on the recruitment, operations, and financing of terror organizations yields results:

Disrupting recruitment: The key to disrupting extremist groups’ ability to recruit is addressing the underlying disillusionment and disenfranchisement on which they feed—in turn exacerbated by weak or corrupt government, unemployment, citizen insecurity, poor service delivery, and a sense of helplessness—while providing an alternative vision of a better future through positive engagement in vulnerable communities. In Kenya and Pakistan, for example, DAI is implementing U.S.- and U.K.-funded programming that addresses citizen grievances by engaging people in improving their own communities, creating job opportunities—particularly for at-risk youth—and reducing government corruption and mismanagement.

Reducing areas of operations: International and regional military forces have significantly degraded terrorist networks such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and Al Shabab by eliminating their ability to operate freely in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Kenya-Somali border. Key to the long-term success of these efforts was understanding that military operations alone were not sufficient; once an area was cleared of terrorist operations, holding it depended on investing in those communities to improve local governance, generate employment, and upgrade social services. DAI has worked around the world—from Afghanistan to Iraq to Pakistan to Somalia—to implement post-conflict stabilization programs that reduce potential areas of operations for these groups.

Preventing illicit financing: Terror groups are often financed through the same criminal financial networks used by drug lords, human traffickers, illicit weapons dealers, and money launderers. One of the most effective ways of disabling these networks is by improving public financial management, particularly through improved tax and customs regimes and improved banking regulation, because criminals often exploit weak country systems. Modernized financial systems also generate data on the movement of money, goods, and people, which supports improved intelligence. In Jordan, the Philippines, and El Salvador, DAI created national taxpayer and customs databases that led directly to the identification and disruption of smuggling and criminal financing operations.

Our Experts

Sean Caselli-Mechael is the New Business Manager for the Center for Secure and Stable States.

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Jeremy “Jez” Haslam is an international development and crisis response professional with two decades of experience delivering programs in countries facing complex emergencies, conflict, or political transition.

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Christy Martins has 15 years of international development experience, focused on community development in transition, post-conflict, and post-disaster situations in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa.

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In her role as Business Development Director for the Asia Region, Skye Perske is focused on ensuring strong links between business development and project management.

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David Pottebaum has more than 27 years of technical and managerial experience focusing on institutional and organizational development, public administration transparency and accountability, policy reform, and rural agricultural development.

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Muhammad Shoaib has more than 15 years of experience managing and implementing complex programs in difficult operating environments across Pakistan.

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Our Projects

Nigeria—Accountable, Responsive, and Capable Government (ARC)

The programme helps local governments in Nigeria develop and implement policy by assisting them in tracking and accounting for how policies, plans, and budgets are used in delivering public goods and services to promote growth and reduce poverty.

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DAI History: 40 Years of Excellence

DAI was founded in 1970 by three graduates of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government intent on providing a more dynamic and effective brand of development assistance. See how DAI is turning this American success story, into a global one.

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