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Planning for institutional capacity building in war-torn areas: the case of Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Authors
Journal
Habitat International
0197-3975
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
26
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0197-3975(01)00038-8
Keywords
  • Planning
  • Institutional Capacity Building
  • War-Torn Areas
  • Jaffna
  • Sri Lanka
Disciplines
  • Political Science

Abstract

Abstract This paper examines an attempt to build capacity and empower local institutions in war-torn Jaffna, on the northern tip of Sri Lanka. A participatory approach that is aimed at social empowerment is seen to be possible even under the most restrictive of political environments. However, whether or not the development intervention provides a foundation for longer-term improvement depends on the extent to which institutional capacity is built. Through an examination of the Jaffna Reconstruction Project, it is argued that if any of the ingredients of this institutional capacity are missing, not only will the ‘islands of participation and empowerment’ that are built by the development initiative be short-lived, but there may also be a negligible contribution to building a foundation for longer-term improvement in quality of life.

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