The effect of funding conditionality on peace NGOs in Kenya 1995-2005
Gichuhi, Hellen A
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This study is an investigation of the effect of conditionalities on peace NGO's, using Kenya as a case study. With the conflicts surrounding Kenya, there has been an unprecedented proliferation of Peace NGOs in Kenya to complement the government's effort to manage conflicts and build sustainable peace regionally. Unlike unconditional assistance, the failure to demonstrate progress towards or to meet set conditionalities may lead to changes in donor behaviour. Conditionalities vary in terms of their content (why they are applied), the process through which aid is conditioned (how they are applied), and the target of the conditions (who they are aimed at). The argument that that external accountability mechanisms (conditionalities) can be both positive and negative is investigated in this project. The positive include increased planning and implementation requirements, with tighter appraisal mechanisms and reporting and budgeting requirements; while the negative include 'cessation of cooperation from society which implies a loss of social legitimacy i.e. consistency with cultural traditions and other social customs standards. Four rationales for conditionality are identified and analysed in this paper. The first rationale is that the donor offers funding as an incentive to change or adopt policies. The second is that the donor believes they know what is best for the recipient's welfare. The third is that the recipient needs to make a commitment for a particular policy and conditionality as viewed as credible threat to avoid reversal of such a policy. The last one is signaling to other donors that the policies of the recipient will improve in the face of the funding conditionalities. The debates that revolve around conditionalities are attempts made analysing the effectiveness of foreign funding in achieving better results in the delivery of services to the intended beneficiaries. The literature examined gives a detailed account of funding conditionalities and their failure; as well as schools of thought that support conditionalities against the backdrop of structural violence, the school of thought against conditionalities with reference to peace research paradigm and the school of thought that seeks the rationale between the two extreme was viewed from the human needs theory. A case study is made of the effects of funding conditionalities to peace NGO's in Kenya. Lessons learned from the past experiences of foreign funding are that foreign aid is effective when it compliments local initiatives rather than substituting them. Effectiveness of projects and programs depend on local ownership, local involvement, and adaptation to local conditions. When aid is responsive to local ownership, local involvement and local conditions it can playa critical role in achieving effective support to the local communities and countries. Therefore, for foreign funding to work effectively, the recipient must be at the driver's seat and this is analysed from the impartiality debate in the mediation school of thought. Finally, the findings of the case study are critically analysed based on conflict management theories and schools of thought.