The case of Somaliland is a good example of how a fragile society can become an effective state through the participation of its own citizens. Somaliland is unique in that, unlike southern Somalia, it has restored law and order and become one of the most democratic parts of the Muslim world. Othieno calls for strategies to support peaceful, local state-building processes in fragile societies. The purpose would be two-fold: to give donors ‘entry points’ to engage effectively with these types of societies in areas where they could actually make a positive impact; and to move away from their comfort zone to focus on local ownership as the key ingredient. It is vital to shift the focus of donors to processes that have had either little or no donor support in the past, including traditional forms of state-building.
6 July 2008