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Service delivery and state capacity: findings from the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium

Research reports

Written by Lisa Denney, Richard Mallett

Every year a quarter of all international aid – approximately US$15 billion – is spent on capacity development. However, despite the continued dominance of capacity development, results are frequently disappointing.

Over a period of six years, the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) has conducted a series of studies on state capacity in eight countries, focusing on the ways in which international actors attempt to build the capacity of states in fragile and conflict-affected situations to deliver services – typically considered a ‘core function’ of any modern state. This report synthesises the findings of these studies, drawing out cross-cutting themes that help us understand both the ways in which capacity development in such contexts is currently undertaken, and the assumptions, challenges and trade-offs that underpin this practice.

This report is one of a series produced at the end of SLRC’s first phase. These reports bring together and analyse all relevant material on SLRC’s overarching research questions, with a view to drawing out broader lessons that will be of use to policy makers, practitioners and researchers.

Findings from the first phase of SLRC's research.

Lisa Denney and Richard Mallett with Matthew Benson