A Failure of Dedication: International Development NGOs in the Field of Violence Prevention
Most development NGOs have not explicitly committed themselves to the task of violence prevention in African armed conflicts, even though a growing number of the organisations are somehow active in this field. The article summarizes a study about the reasons behind this lack of commitment, which becomes visible in the discrepancy between NGOs’ limited practice and their far greater potential and also harms the quality of the organisations’ activities. NGOs face difficulties that relate to the characteristics of violence prevention; however, these obstacles are not only a cause of the NGOs’ hesitance, but also a consequence of it. This insight, together with the undeniable linkages between violence prevention and development and the account of a number of good experiences, call for an explicit and comprehensive commitment by the organisations to preventive action in violent conflicts. Such a commitment must involve an advocacy strategy that complements NGO field activities, mobilising donor governments for peaceful conflict resolution instead of facilitating their disengagement.