Co-investigators: Sarah Collinson (Overseas Development Institute)
Since the 1990s, aid agencies working in war-affected fragile states have been involved in ambitious programmes of social and political transformation. This has raised the political profile of the agencies involved and sometimes increased their security risks. There is little research on how aid agencies are organisationally responding to this situation. What evidence exists suggests a growing risk aversion and increasing restrictions surrounding movement and residence.
This two year research programme, which is managed by the University of Bristol and the Overseas Development Institute, concerns the implications for comprehensive programming in fragile states of risk management among UN agencies and international NGOs, including, how it impacts upon the ambitious policy goals of political transformation. South Sudan and Afghanistan are the case studies. They offer a range of contexts in which the research questions will be explored. The research draws on a number of ethnographic methodologies including interviewing, focus group meetings and multi-stakeholder workshops. The main research sites are the urban gated communities and fortified aid compounds that together constitute an archipelago of international aid.
Field work is supported by local partners and UK recruited research assistants forming teams with a mix of methodological, aid system and area expertise.