• Journal Article

Reducing fragility through strengthening local governance in Guinea

Citation

Arandel, C., Brinkerhoff, D., & Bell, M. (2015). Reducing fragility through strengthening local governance in Guinea. Third World Quarterly, 36(5), 985-1006. DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2015.1025741

Abstract

Improving state-citizen relations at the local level is posited as one of the pathways out of fragility towards peace and stability. This article explores this premise by examining the experience of a recent donor-funded project in Guinea that combined improvements in sectoral service delivery with new modes of collaborative governance between local officials and communities. The analysis finds that the project's focus on citizen engagement with local officials, coupled with transparency and mutual accountability, led to better services, changed attitudes and increased trust. Individual agency and leadership emerged as important success factors. Prospects for sustainability of these local reforms are challenged by Guinea's weak state capacities and poverty. Lessons for donors include supporting stability-enhancing governance through incremental interventions that create relationships and coalitions among local actors