Operating in post-conflict environments: 4 challenges and how to tackle them

By Manola De Vos 21 September 2015

Women participate in a post-conflict recovery support group called Step Forward in Rwanda. What challenges do organizations face when operating in post-conflict areas? Photo by: Crystaline Randazzo / Bread for the World / CC BY-NC-ND

The end of armed violence in a country or region might open up new possibilities for development work, but just because a peace treaty has been signed or a settlement has been negotiated doesn’t necessarily mean an easy time for development organizations operating in these areas.

The term “post-conflict” is used to describe an emergence from conflict and signifies a shift to a recovery phase. This important phase represents a window for the international development community to boost assistance to the most vulnerable and affected communities, help restore critical institutions, and foster a functioning civil society.

While aid and development workers might enjoy more access and acceptance after a peace agreement has been reached, they are still forced to cope with significant operational constraints which rival those faced by humanitarians operating in the midst of conflict hotspots.

No post-conflict country or region is exactly alike and there’s plenty of unpredictability, but there are some standard challenges associated with a post-conflict environment and best practices to overcome them. Based on interviews with post-conflict experts, here are a few of the most common challenges every country director, team leader or program manager should be aware of when spearheading his or her organization’s entry into fragile societies emerging from conflict.

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About the author

Devos manola
Manola De Vos

Manola De Vos is a development analyst for Devex. Based in Manila, she contributes to the Development Insider and Money Matters newsletters. Prior to joining Devex, Manola worked in conflict analysis and political affairs for the United Nations, International Crisis Group and the European Union.


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