The Struggle after Combat

TitleThe Struggle after Combat
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleThe Role of NGOs in DDR Processes: Synthesis Study
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsKlem, B, Douma, P, Gompelman, G, van Laar, S, Frerks, G
Number of Pages45 pp.
Accession Number1183

(The following text has been taken from the introduction:)
There has been a dramatic rise in the past twenty years of comprehensive programmes aimed at the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR) in countries trying to recover from war. It has come to be well-recognised that effective DDR is crucial for building durable peace and preventing a relapse into conflict. It has also become clear that DDR is difficult and that it is intertwined with other war to peace transitions, such as establishing security and legitimate governance, rehabilitation, the return of refugees, economic recovery, and transitional justice.
Academic and policy-oriented analysis of DDR has also grown in recent years. Many experiences, outcomes, shortcomings and lessons learned with regard to DDR have been documented. The bulk of these efforts have focused on the required context and the desired design of DDR as well as on specific issues and target groups. Building on numerous policy papers of the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, and bilateral donor agencies, the Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS) have emerged as the dominant, comprehensive framework for DDR. However, these standards have not yet been applied to recent and present DDR processes. These detailed guidelines and the papers that preceded them acknowledge the crucial role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Policies and academic publications do not go much beyond that basic recognition, however. NGOs are either identified as useful implementing agents or as valuable representatives of society.
The wider literature on developmental and humanitarian practice spells out that it is a mistake to view NGOs as mere executers of donor-funded projects. Particularly in countries emerging from war, civil society dynamics and 'development politics' tend to be complicated. The lack of strong local agencies and the massive influx of foreign NGOs and other actors often compound an already complex transition. The NGO scene thus becomes interrelated with pre-existing processes and problems, while adding its own dynamics and dilemmas.
This is why Cordaid, a Dutch multi-mandate NGO that works with partner organisations across the globe, has commissioned a study into this area of relative analytical neglect: the role of NGOs in DDR processes. The project is a continuation of Cordaid's efforts to explore the interface between political, military and development actors in contemporary efforts to overcome armed conflict and to consider reconfiguring its role as an NGO in relation to military interventions and state-building efforts.
The present study aims to assist Cordaid in developing its views and policy in relation to DDR by informing it about the theoretical underpinnings of DDR and about the role of NGOs - including Cordaid's partners - in DDR processes in the field. More broadly, the study aims to inform a wider audience of academics, policymakers and practitioners about the activities, strengths and weaknesses of NGOs in DDR processes. In line with this, it aims to examine how NGOs can collaborate with parties that normally play a leading role in DDR processes, such as the military and UN agencies.
The main research question of this study is thus: what is the role of NGOs - and Cordaid's partners in particular - in DDR processes in relation to military and other actors involved with such processes? Three case studies were carried out for this study: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) and Sierra Leone. This report synthesizes the findings of these case studies, puts them in broader context and draws wider conclusions and lessons.

Full Text