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.

Security and Justice

Our approach to enhancing security and justice focuses on the effectiveness, accountability, and responsiveness of security and justice institutions such as the police and the judiciary. We develop links among institutions, citizens, and communities.

According equal importance to national and local issues, we work simultaneously on institutional reform and improved service delivery. We help citizens identify gaps in security and justice provision. We mobilize their participation in reform efforts and strengthen channels to advance their demands for improved services. We help national governments and donors improve systems to measure results.

Transparency enhances accountability and enables evidence-based decision making. Our programs seek to strengthen ties between the formal and informal sectors, improve respect for human rights, and promote full access to justice, with special recognition of the needs of women and girls.

We recognize there are trade-offs between immediate needs and long-term reform. We seek to balance this tension through programs with shorter- and longer-term horizons. We also understand the tension between stabilization and development activities, yet recognize that both are important to produce resilient societies and governments that will reduce poverty and foster economic growth.

Our Experts


Max Goldensohn joined the Peace Corps after college and spent two years in Gabon building schools with villagers in remote communities. After graduate school, Max went to Laos as a civilian volunteer during the Vietnam War and taught future teachers to do community development.

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Jeremy Kanthor’s interest in governance started during a high school trip to Dakar, Senegal, that coincided with presidential elections. After observing an opposition rally and getting caught between opposition supporters hurling rocks and police using tear gas, he was quickly ushered into the home of the leading opposition candidate, Abdoulaye Wade.

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John Lindsay leads DAI’s Workforce Development and Youth practice, specializing in developing market-driven products and services that improve competitiveness for enterprises and employment opportunities for youth.

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Sarah Maguire joined DAI’s London office as a Director of Technical Services, Governance, in March 2015. She has extensive experience in promoting human rights in fragile and conflict-affected countries, and at the policy level with donors, United Nations entities, and nongovernmental organizations.

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Shanna Tova O’Reilly has more than 15 years of experience in stabilization and citizen security, working with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Defense, and other donors in fragile states in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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Gregg Ravenscroft is a Principal Project Manager with more than 12 years of experience negotiating the diverse challenges that come with successfully designing and implementing international, aid-funded, development projects in fragile states.

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Our Projects


Afghanistan—Musharikat

Musharikat supports USAID Afghanistan’s investments in women’s rights groups and activists.

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Honduras—Unidos por la Justicia (United for Justice)

The Unidos por la Justicia (United for Justice) program 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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Liberia—Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI)

The Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative is improving the citizen-state relationship in Liberia by supporting coalitions and advocacy campaigns that promote public sector accountability.

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Nigeria—State Partnership for Accountable, Responsive, and Capable Government (SPARC); Accountable, Responsive, and Capable Government (ARC)

The Accountable, Responsive, and Capable Government (ARC) programme supports the Nigerian government in more effectively managing resources and providing more responsive and accountable services to its citizens.

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Honduras—Asegurando la Educación (Securing Education)

Asegurando la Educación works to improve schools’ ability to prevent violence, strengthening local networks that increase school safety, and building the capacity of the Ministry of Education and social service agencies to respond to school-based violence in Honduras.

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