Developing Stability

Community-Driven Development and Reconstruction in Conflict-Affected Settings

by Brooke Stearns Lawson

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From drug trafficking in Mexico and Central America, to violent extremism in the Horn of Africa, to insurgents in Colombia, to all three in Afghanistan and Pakistan, significant weaknesses in governance and economic development underlie many of the greatest security threats currently facing the United States. A solely military solution to these issues will not achieve long-term success without efforts to improve the underlying conditions that foster the insecurity in the first place. More specifically, development and reconstruction efforts need to bolster the legitimacy, effectiveness, and reach of the indigenous government, as well as address the population's grievances. Although the international community has widely accepted the importance of addressing the root causes of instability, significant questions remain over whether — and how — actors can feasibly implement these critical activities in insecure environments. Using a comparative case study approach, this dissertation tests the hypothesis that development and reconstruction actors can feasibly implement sound development and reconstruction across a relatively wide spectrum of conflict, but varying levels and natures of violence can affect its delivery. The dissertation develops an analytic framework that defines seven principles of sound development and reconstruction and identifies three aspects of the conflict context — the background; the current social, economic and political factors; and the security environment — that affect these principles

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Literature Review and Methods

  • Chapter Three

    Analytic Framework

  • Chapter Four

    National Solidarity Program - Nangarhar, Afghanistan

  • Chapter Five

    Tuungane - The Kivus, Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Chapter Six

    Projet De Developpement Communautaire Participatif en Milieu Rural and Projet National de Developpement Communautaire Participatif en Milieu Urbain - Haiti

  • Chapter Seven

    Comparison Across Case Studies

  • Chapter Eight


  • Appendix A

    Number of Incidents Carried out By Taliban/Anti-Government Elements in Afghanistan by Province, January-September 2007 and 2008

  • Appendix B

    List of Ineligible Projects for the NSP

  • Appendix C

    List of Ineligible Projects for PRODEPUR

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in September 2011 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Nora Bensahel (Chair), Terrence Kelly, and Adam Grissom.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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