Same Car, Different Driver? The Impact of Peacebuilding Partnerships and the Chiefdom System in Sierra Leone
Practitioners and scholars in the humanitarian internationale focus on partnership type as a hedge against many of the traditional challenges and undesirable outcomes associated with peacebuilding. ‘Active’ partnerships are strongly encouraged; ‘dependent’ partnerships are to be avoided. The West African nation of Sierra Leone and its government-sponsored Communitydriven Development (CDD) programme are an ideal lens through which to examine whether and how conventional emphasis on partnership type affects peacebuilding outcomes. A political economy analysis of two empirical case studies of CDD from Sierra Leone’s early peacebuilding phase reveals that partnership type is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition to accomplish peacebuilding goals. In both cases, CDD exacerbated social exclusion, especially among ex-combatants and waraffected youth, and failed to enhance meaningfully the skills, capacities and knowledge of local actors. Close attention should be paid to the potential positive and negative spillover effects generated by the intersection of peacebuilding, CDD and the chiefdom system.