The theme of this learning paper emerged from discussions with GTF grantholders and DFID which identified post‐conflict and fragile states as a key priority area for learning. The need for sharper focus on governance in these settings is clear. One billion people, including about 340 million of the world’s extreme poor, are estimated to live in this small group of between 30‐50 ‘fragile’ countries, located mainly in Africa. Indeed, while the fragile states agenda remains highly contested, few dispute the severe impacts this group of states imposes on the security and well‐being of their populations, or that without progress in them, the MDGs are unlikely to be met.
While there can be no one‐size fits all approach to these contexts, it is important to extract and share learning from these efforts to build the evidence base for civil society‐driven interventions in fragile states. This paper aims to do just that by first surveying the literature on fragile states and civil society’s perceived role in engaging in these contexts. The paper then articulates DFID’s “Building Peaceful States and Societies” approach and uses its framework of four objectives to assess the impact civil society as represented by GTF grantholders are having in the fragile states in which they work. These include i) addressing conflict and conflict resolution mechanisms; ii) supporting inclusive political processes; iii) strengthening core state functions; iv) ensuring the state responds to public expectations. Throughout the analysis and presentation of GTF case studies, particular attention is paid to determining where civil societydriven interventions are most effective and offer best value for money.