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Accepted paper:

Who got the power? Civil Society interactions in Kenya between partnership and power imbalance


Samantha Ruppel

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

It is quite common that local and global or international civil society organisations work together towards peace and development in constrained settings. How this "together" is defined varies with every interaction and with the actors involved. Further there is an identified need for a reflection of the power and knowledge-imbalances and the promotion of a localization of civil society.

This paper focuses on the German Civil Peace Service (CPS), working worldwide in (post-)conflict countries with the aim to involve and work together with local actors in local peace processes. On a theoretical level, the paper outlies the basics of criticism on liberal peace and identifies new theories like hybrid-peace and the local turn that try to answer the question what type of partnerships are needed to empower local actors. Looking into the CPS the paper gives insides on 1) the self-understanding of global civil society organizations working with local approaches, 2) the dynamics of civil society actors in conflict affected societies, 3) on practical challenges and benefits occurring due to local-global interactions. The paper uses background information from organizations in Germany and Kenya.

By focusing on empirical data the paper provides examples how power- and knowledge- imbalances can occur but also how they can be tackled and used in a positive way.

panel C14
Sustainable diplomacy between Africa and Europe: what knowledge capabilities should be developed?