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Rebuilding livelihoods of the poor affected by conflict through donor-led market-based approaches: the case of Liberia

Rebuilding livelihoods of the poor affected by conflict through donor-led market-based approaches: the case of Liberia

Butterworth, Ruth Rutendo (2015) Rebuilding livelihoods of the poor affected by conflict through donor-led market-based approaches: the case of Liberia. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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A pro-poor market-based approach has increasingly been adopted by INGOs as a livelihoods rebuilding strategy following destructive armed-conflicts. However, there remains a gap in knowledge of the feasibility of such an approach in post-conflict contexts. This research seeks to address this gap. It questions whether pro-poor and donor-led market-based approaches work within post-conflict environments and, if so, under what conditions? The results are from an analysis of case study-based data collected from twenty-one microenterprise groups from three diverse counties of Liberia, six years after the armed conflict.

The research reveals that local context in post-conflict environments play an important role in the extent to which a market-based approach might achieve its underlying objectives of broad-based, sustainability and growth enterprises. On one hand, the losses and changes in the entitlement systems of the poor restrict their ability to both operate and to potentially sustain market-based livelihoods promoted through donor-led initiatives beyond the period of direct support. On the other, the extent to which conflict affects local market-systems also shapes outcomes of a post-conflict market-based approach. Shortcomings within the private and government sectors hinder application of market-based principles by increasing the role of the INGO to more than a facilitating role, thus further compromising sustainability of microenterprises. Positively, results suggest that, in spite of low income gains, a market based approach holds potential to empower direct beneficiaries through skills gains, improve their self-esteem and contribute towards peacebuilding within local communities.

To further advance this field of research, future donor-led programme design and implementation needs to balance the post-conflict reconstruction urgency with context-specificity, not only that related to the target groups, but also the extent to which the wider and immediate market environment are able to support a market-based approach. Hurried actions risk exclusion of the most vulnerable groups in society through both direct and indirect factors arising from conflict. Yet, a broad-based economic development is essential in a post-conflict environment to reduce both underdevelopment and the risk to return to war.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: armed conflict, economic recovery, Africa, Liberia, microenterprise, post-conflict,
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2018 10:39
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None

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