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Community Security Research: a participatory event


Research program

To increase security as perceived and experienced by local communities in fragile and conflict-affected environments, Cordaid and the Conflict Research Unit (CRU) of Clingendael have started a joint research program called: “Improving Community Security program design: Better evidence, stronger engagement and deeper learning”. The one-year program has started in January and entails desk research as well as proposed field research in Afghanistan and South Sudan.

This joint effort aspires to further increase the evidence base of community security work, enhance knowledge development and, above all, help local communities to improve their own security situation.

The overall aim of the research is to improve support to local projects that seek to increase security as perceived by local communities. More specifically the aims are:

  • To identify political and socioeconomic factors that influence community security in fragile settings;
  • To identify methods used to gather information on these factors;
  • To develop concrete and practical suggestions to improve the processes through which support packages for local community security programs are selected and developed.

 Participatory validation event


As the core vision of this research is improved community security programming, broader participation and sharing of the research findings, CRU and Cordaid collaborated with the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law (the Platform) in the organization of a participatory validation event on 18 June 2015. The event joined expert practitioners from Afghanistan, South Sudan and other relevant areas.

During the event the first findings of the desk study and underlying assumptions were discussed, validated and further sharpened in two rounds of working groups. The selected participants helped CRU and Cordaid by providing their critical input based on their practical and academic experience.

Participants agreed that security is experienced primarily at the community and local level. However, security is often determined at a political level. This political facet is often under-recognized or under valued. Community security is seen as an entitlement, but this entitlement is distributed unevenly, often to uphold a system of order. The people on the ground are often not being heard at all, and they have no say in their personal security.

The discussions between the participants allowed us to go to the next phase of the research, the field research which will be done in South Sudan and Afghanistan. CRU and Cordaid believe that improving security programming as such is an important step forward in the development world. As one participant put it: “This is truly a courageous undertaking.”

Sharing the findings and getting involved

Cordaid and CRU will create the possibility to share these findings and experiences with the wider Platform community and related development audience. We therefore aspire to hold local and international knowledge sharing events at the end of this year.

If you are interested in receiving more information or if you want to contribute relevant experience, please do so by contacting: Rob Sijstermans, Expert Security & Justice at Cordaid,

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