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Rebuilding Societies After Civil War: Critical Roles for International Assistance

Krishna Kumar, editor
Rebuilding Societies After Civil War: Critical Roles for International Assistance
ISBN: 978-1-55587-652-4
1997/329 pages/LC: 96-25508

"The subsequent challenges faced, achievements gained, and hurdles to be overcome to achieve a lasting peace in deeply divided societies are well presented in Rebuilding Societies After Civil War. Krishna Kumar and the other authors of this volume clearly highlight how the needs, demands and pressures faced by those recuperating from civil wars center on fundamental issues that in turn determine if the peace achieved would be a temporary or lasting one.... recommended to all those involved in peacemaking efforts and to all those interested in understanding the opportunities and constraints post-civil war societies are likely to present."—Neil DeVotta, Journal of Third World Studies

"What Kumar and his authors have produced is a very significant—and one suspects highly original—contribution both to scholarship and to the NGO sector."—Anthony Egan, Journal of Contemporary African Studies

"Development and conflict prevention practitioners alike ... will find plenty to think over in this useful volume."—New Routes

"A highly recommendable work."—NOD and Conversion


With civil wars and internal violence on the rise over the past two decades, bilateral donor agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs have been playing an increasingly critical role in rehabilitation efforts once an acute conflict is over. In this process, it has become clear that the traditional aid focus on the economic sector, though essential, is not sufficient; the political and social institutions of war-torn societies must also be reconstructed.

This collection addresses three questions fundamental to international aid to war-torn societies: What are the sectors that require assistance to promote political stability and economic growth? What lessons can be learned from past experience? And how, together with the leadership of the affected societies, can more effective policies and programs be designed and implemented?

Drawing on case studies, the authors focus particularly on issues of food security, health services, human rights, military demobilization, resettlement, and reconciliation at the local level.


Krishna Kumar is senior evaluation adviser in the Office of Foreign Assistance Resources, US Department of State.  His recent publications include Rebuilding Post-War Rwanda: An Assessment of Donor Experiences.


  • Foreword—J.B. Atwood.
  • The Nature and Focus of International Assistance for Rebuilding War-Torn Societies—K. Kumar.
  • Reconciliation Elections: A Post-Cold War Experience—R. López-Pintor.
  • Protecting Human Rights in Rwanda—P.M. Manikas and K. Kumar.
  • Demobilizing and Reintegrating Soldiers: Lessons from Africa—N. Ball.
  • Building a New Civilian Police Force in El Salvador—W. Stanley and C.T. Call.
  • Decentralization and "Ethnic Federalism" in Post-Civil War Ethiopia—J.M. Cohen.
  • Reintegrating Returning Refugees in Central America—B.N. Stein.
  • Dilemmas of Legitimacy, Sustainability, and Coherence: Rehabilitating the Health Sector—J. Macrae.
  • Rebuilding Community: Psychosocial Healing, Reintegration, and Reconciliation at the Grassroots Level—K.A. Maynard.
  • Postwar Social Reconstruction in Mozambique: Reframing Children's Experiences of Trauma and Healing—S. Gibbs.
  • Mines and Unexploded Ordinance in Cambodia and Laos: Understanding the Costs—P. Davies.
  • Rehabilitating Household Food Production After War: The Rwandan Experience—D. Tardif–Douglin.
  • Macroeconomic Policy and Peace Building in El Salvador—J.K. Boyce and M. Pastor, Jr.