Fragile States

DAI’s Fragile States work 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.

Peace-Building and Political Transition

Peace-building and political transition are fundamentally “endogenous” processes, meaning that local people will drive the ultimate outcome. As an external partner, we help them succeed by enhancing broad participation in the transition, providing financial and technical assistance, and promoting best-fit approaches.

Because constructive state-society relations are critical to building legitimate states that deliver for their citizens and promote long-term peace, we support solutions that empower the state, when appropriate, and encourage state-society relations. We work with local partners to achieve five interrelated objectives that strengthen state-society relations:

  • Addressing the root causes of violent conflict
  • Supporting local conflict management mechanisms
  • Promoting inclusive political processes
  • Improving the core functions of responsible states
  • Responding to public expectations and needs

Our work depends upon the level of fragility that prevails within the state and its institutions—ranging from corruption and deteriorating governance to ongoing violent conflict, post-conflict or political transition, and gradual improvement. We analyze the factors—across all sectors—that generate conflict and map the interplay among power brokers, civil society, and the private sector. We examine the potential drivers of instability such as the proliferation of small arms, human trafficking, land tenure issues, competition for natural resources, and unequal access to political power. We analyze the trajectory of a transition and the internal and external stresses. We seek to understand the level of institutional capacity, accountability, and inclusion, and how key stakeholders can build confidence and transform institutions. We identify disincentives to stability and potential spoilers.

We then translate this analysis into solutions through participatory planning and community decision-making tools that help local partners prioritize needs and solve problems. We propose pragmatic options, rather than conventional best-practice solutions that may not suit local dynamics. We consider the long-term impact that short-term activities may have on state-building and development prospects, balancing the need to deliver visible benefits with the need to lay the foundation for durable peace.

Our Experts

Hind Audsley is a Senior Lead Specialist in the Resilience and Stability practice, and a proven Chief of Party whose 18 years of experience include 10 years overseeing donor-funded programs and eight years of field experience in transitional environments.

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Arthur Carlson is an international development practitioner with 28 years of experience leading complex projects in emergency response, governance, refugee assistance, countering violent extremism, peacebuilding, and institutional system strengthening.

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Kevin Casey is an advisor with experience bringing innovative methodologies to research in conflict, transitional, and stabilization contexts.

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Peter Dimitroff holds more than 25 years of international development and project management experience, focusing on anti-corruption, budget transparency, legislative strengthening, and women’s empowerment.

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Phelps Feeley has more than 10 years of experience in program design, leadership and management for political transition, governance, stabilization, peacebuilding, research, media, and civil society strengthening projects.

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Nandi Hall is Director of Economic Growth, with more than 15 years of experience working in international development in both the private and nongovernmental sector.

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Vishalini Lawrence is the Senior Director of DAI’s Resilience and Stability practice. Vishalini brings 15 years of experience leading peacebuilding, resilience, stabilization, and governance programs in Cambodia, Kenya, Malaysia, and Somalia.

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Lindsay North is a Principal Specialist in the Resilience and Stability practice with more than 13 years of experience in design, research, monitoring, evaluation, and learning for peacebuilding, governance, and stabilization programs.

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John Sampson has more than 17 years of experience leading complex, high-speed programs in conflict, post-conflict, and fragile environments, including stability and transition, countering violent extremism, governance, climate-related conflict, natural resource management, emergency assistance, crisis management, infrastructure, and civil-military coordination programs.

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Bruce Spake is Vice President for Field Engagement.

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Our Projects

Honduras—Justice, Human Rights, and Security Strengthening Activity (Unidos por la Justicia)

The Justice, Human Rights, and Security Strengthening Activity (Unidos por la Justicia) works with local partners to improve citizen engagement with the security and justice sectors; enhance the efficiency of the judicial system; and increase the effectiveness of community police.

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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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