We want to see local organisations treated as equal partners with ‘outsiders’ such as international NGOs, or multilateral agencies such as the UN. While most people engaged in peace building and conflict resolution do too, it’s not happening often enough in reality. One of the most common reasons given by ‘outsiders’ for not forming such equal partnerships is the difficulty of knowing who to work with – how to find the genuine and effective organisations – when many countries have spawned a whole industry of ‘briefcase NGOs’ with no substance behind them.
This collection of interviews with people who’ve gone through the process, or observed others doing so, is intended to show how people have found the right partners, and the way that working with these partners enables a wholly different kind of peacebuilding work to develop. What comes through in all these perspectives is that there is no “right” way, but there are common elements – a judicious mix of instinct and due diligence, flexibility, humility, patience and pragmatism.