The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Role of Funders in Conflict

Published: November 2014

In 2014, the Peace and Security Funders Group (PSFG) hosted three panel discussions that brought together funders and practitioners to discuss how funders can more effectively contribute to conflict prevention, conflict mitigation, and peacebuilding in conflict and post-conflict settings. Borne from a collective interest in identifying practical tools for positive funder engagement in light of continued conflicts around the world, including Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and the Central African Republic, the panel discussions aimed to spark dialogue and draw out lessons learned.

This white paper reviews the key takeaways and recommends next steps for advancing the conversation to further improve the efficacy of funders working in these challenging conflict and post-conflict settings. Next steps include forming the Conflict and Atrocities Prevention Working Group; including multi-lateral donors in these conversations; hosting a series of off-the-record dialogues on failure; and exploring a workshop to offer best practices for new funders in this space.

In addition to the whitepaper described above, this document also includes a chart comparing discussions among funders, and tips for funders working in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Key Findings

  • Peacebuilding work is long-term and requires a long-term commitment; flexbility is also critical.
  • Overall, funders acknowledged that funding in conflict and post-conflict settings is inherently risky. Funders must be willing to assume some degree of risk when engaging in these settings.
  • To minimize the potential for failure, or worse, the potential to inflict harm, an in-depth knowledge of the context is fundamental.
  • More resources need to be devoted to conflict prevention.
  • There was a great emphasis on supporting locally-led initiatives.
  • Establishing relationships and partnerships with grantees and other key stakeholders is also important.

Populations Adolescent Girls, Women

Complementary Outcomes Women's Rights

Publishers Peace and Security Funders Group