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Patronage or Partnership: Local Capacity Building in Humanitarian Crises

Ian Smillie, editor
Patronage or Partnership: Local Capacity Building in Humanitarian Crises
ISBN: 978-1-56549-130-4
ISBN: 978-1-56549-129-8
2001/212 pages/LC: 2001023031
A Kumarian Press Book
"Ian Smillie and company tell some hard truths—from a distinctively local perspective—about the international community's efforts to build local capacity in humanitarian crises."—Peter D. Bell, CARE USA

"Patronage or Partnership is compelling in the rich and wide variety of its case study material and overall analysis.... The book exposes the widespread failure of the international humanitarian and development community rhetoric, while simultaneously highlighting the complexities that militate against long-term sustainable solutions. While wisely desisting from offering blueprints for the future, it provides serious food for thought and reinforces existing misgivings about whether current North-South relationships and institutional arrangements can ever hope to be an appropriate and viable basis for resolving humanitarian crises."—Kamal Mahotra, UN Development Programme


Patronage or Partnership brings a new perspective to the subject of building local capacities in emergency and postemergency situations. Recognizing the real trade-offs that exist between aid workers acting quickly in the midst of an emergency, on the one hand, and working to build longer-term local skills, on the other—and critically examining this dilemma from local perspectives drawn from Bosnia, Haiti, Guatemala, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka—they authors find hope and possibilities amidst the prevailing rhetoric and confusion.


Ian Smillie is, among numerous other projects, associated with the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University and research coordinator for Partnership Africa Canada's Diamonds and Human Security Project.


  •  Introduction—I. Smillie.
  • Capacity Building and the Humanitarian Enterprise—I. Smillie.
  • Reconstructing Bosnia, Constructing Civil Society: Disjuncture and Convergence—I. Smillie and G. Todorović.
  • Alternative Food Aid Strategies and Local Capacity Building in Haiti—K. Mangones.
  • Rebuilding Local Capacities in Mozambique: The National Health System and Civil Society—S.C. Lubkemann.
  • Means Without End: Humanitarian Assistance in Sri Lanka—A. Parakrama.
  • Women’s Organizations in Guatemalan Refugee and Returnee Populations—M. Leffert.
  • Sierra Leone: Peacebuilding in Purgatory—T.M. Turay.
  • From Patrons to Partners?—I. Smillie.
Published in association with the Humanitarianism and War Project