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Wageningen University (2011)

The dilemma of development aid in conflict areas in Afghanistan

Simonides, E.J.

Titre : The dilemma of development aid in conflict areas in Afghanistan

Auteur : Simonides, E.J.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2011

Résumé partiel
Aid doesn’t always reach those who need it. In conflict areas aid is stolen, diverted, manipulated and abused by people with power. Donors and development organizations respond by taking the aid somewhere else, to a safer place, depriving the needy or making it difficult for the target group to reach the aid. Aid in a conflict area has much potential. Aid can alleviate direct suffering. Development aid may strengthen the war economy and conflict. Aid can help building the peace economy and build a society and aid can reduce the conflict. But the conflict makes it difficult to implement the aid. Many organizations find it too difficult and too dangerous to work in a conflict area. Other organizations accept all the negative impacts, as they find alleviation of suffering paramount important. Some organizations search for ways to implement the aid and avoid the negative impacts. This study focussed on organisations that work or worked in conflict areas in Afghanistan. Key players in the Afghan conflicts are war-lords. Project implementers in the field are confronted with those war-lords and have to find a way to deal with them. War-lords have the means and power to make it very difficult or even impossible for aid workers to work in his area. Experience has learned war-lords do exercise this power. Some organisations recognize the war-lord as a part of the context they work in that cannot be ignored. Ignoring or rejecting the war-lord would make him a dangerous potential enemy of the project and its staff. These organisations open the dialogue with the war-lord, to make sure he will not harm the project and sometimes even involve the war-lord in project implementation. This approach is criticised, as war-lords are generally seen as criminals, thieves and murderers that should be brought to justice and therefore not to be communicated or cooperated with. From the literature it becomes clear some scholars think opening the dialogue with warlords opens ways to change towards practical solutions and towards peace. Literature also shows that development aid may help building and developing society, reducing parameters that may lead to war and helping society to solve conflicts in a peaceful manner. Mary Anderson (1999) describes in her book : “Do No Harm : How Aid Can Support Peace-or War” how development aid and aid workers can –with the best intentions- support and prolong the conflict but also how to avoid this and strengthen peace initiatives.

Mots clés : development aid / development cooperation / development projects / political conflicts / war / community involvement / afghanistan


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