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Tetra Tech’s Kalinda Magloire discusses headwinds and opportunities for peacebuilding programing


Considering the challenges and opportunities for locally led peacebuilding programming in Haiti and other fragile settings.

Tetra Tech’s Kalinda Magloire discusses headwinds and opportunities for peacebuilding programing
Kalinda Magloire is a governance specialist with more than 15 years of experience at MSI, part of Tetra Tech's International Development Group. She specializes in contextual analysis, with a focus on programming in rapidly changing transitional environments, strengthening civil society, providing public services, and gender.

Kalinda has led several international development projects, including the Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) Regional Programming Option in Haiti, where she oversaw a rapid grants programing response to the 2021 political crisis. She assisted the USAID/OTI Haiti Recovery Initiative in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, implementing capacity-building and institutional strengthening activities to ensure continuity of government services and later overseeing the program's $30 million grant pool. She has also worked in Côte d'Ivoire and led teams in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Kalinda graduated from the London School of Economics with a master's degree in international development management and the University of Montreal with a master's degree in political science.

What is the likelihood of success in fragile environments, including in priority countries designated by the United States for implementing the Global Fragility Act (GFA)?
The Biden Administration released the long-awaited Global Fragility Act's four priority countries—Haiti, Libya, Mozambique, and Papua New Guinea—and one region, Coastal West Africa, in spring 2022. The release was a welcome and critical step toward putting into effect the bipartisan GFA, which was signed into law in December 2019 and made preventing conflicts and promoting stability in countries prone to widespread violence or conflict a priority of US foreign policy.

For nearly two decades, Tetra Tech has been implementing conflict prevention and peacebuilding programming, including in collaboration with USAID. We are actively assisting the interagency of the United States government in developing GFA country-level implementation strategies.

Haiti will still be in shambles in ten years. However, successful GFA implementation could put the country on a different path toward repairing the state-citizen relationship and completing the mandates of elected officials at all levels. Effective GFA initiatives may also result in a more secure environment conducive to economic activity and job creation, as well as more resilient, optimistic households.

Your take on the challenges faced by Haiti in finding economic stability.
The situation in Haiti has been deteriorating for many years, and multiple factors are perpetuating the cycle of fragility: vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change, "brain drain," eroding social cohesion, and, most importantly, a broken relationship between the state and citizens rooted in hundreds of years of excluding the rural majority of the population.

With the assassination of the sitting president in 2021, the country experienced a profound and concerning deterioration in the socioeconomic, political, and security context. These difficulties were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in August 2021, which affected over 800,000 people. Humanitarian needs have grown, particularly in the country's south.

Tetra Tech has assisted USAID/OTI in Haiti by conducting a perception survey to better understand Haitian public opinion. The survey looked at public perceptions of the political transition as well as the roles and interests of stakeholders in the political process. The survey also sought to determine what Haitian citizens' priorities are, as well as which actors they would like to see lead and facilitate the process. The goal was to identify the issues and attitudes that would boost the political transition's credibility.

How does rapid contextual analysis help to make real-time tweaks for peacebuilding programing?
In a context like Haiti, the situation and actors change quickly, so practitioners must not only have enough information to get started, but also be able to continuously adapt through research and learning embedded in programming as the situation and actors change. We've used this adaptive management approach in places like Bangladesh, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Iraq.

To expand on this approach, Tetra Tech created Solstice, a practitioner assessment tool designed to guide rapid analysis and inform immediate practical application for programming response in fragile and conflict-affected environments. The tool analyses the most critical aspects of the ecosystem that fragility and conflict can perpetuate using a systems approach to conflict and stability. Solstice is intended to collaborate with system actors to define the problem set underlying fragility and conflict, as well as to support the development of locally led programming responses to promote peace and stability.

The proper application of the tool is heavily dependent on local experts on the ground who can reach key interlocutors as well as historically marginalized groups.

Solstice is currently being reviewed by peers. Tetra Tech will pilot the tool in Coastal West Africa and Haiti once this phase is completed.

How does the peacebuilding sector support Haiti in achieving locally led development?
Peacebuilding programming has worked to give beneficiaries a voice over the years through town halls, surveys, interviews, and other methods, and USAID has advanced its focus on localization. However, we must progress from local voice to local agency, which means going beyond simply collecting feedback from local communities and transferring power and decision-making authority to them. This is more difficult than it appears. It is critical to ensure that the transfer of authority does not reinforce exclusionary patterns.

In this regard, a tool like Solstice can be extremely useful. Identifying stakeholders, their interactions, and governance patterns can help localization processes avoid reinforcing harmful patterns. Another aspect of fragility is a lack of capacity, so localization entails extensive capacity building, particularly among civil society organizations that will generate demand for change.

Can Haiti be a model for peace and stability programming for other geographies?
Although no two fragile contexts are alike, certain considerations are universal across geographies, such as ensuring that localization does not reinforce existing patterns of exclusion. Another takeaway from Haiti is that practitioners should always be on the lookout for small windows of opportunity, such as small, credible community organizations or a youth group with a significant social media presence. It is critical for donors and implementing partners to identify local government and civil society champions, especially in the absence of a legitimate national government counterpart.

Furthermore, when programming involves government support, practitioners should try to strengthen civil society sectors and encourage them to set boundaries and counterbalance the power that donor support may give to the existing authorities. Tetra Tech assisted in the implementation of USAID/OTI's Transforma programing Colombia using a collaborative tripartite model. Local stakeholders were involved in the planning, design, and implementation of small-scale infrastructure projects in conflict-affected areas.

The municipal government provided specialized labor, community volunteers provided manual labor, and Transforma provided in-kind materials and equipment to implement the infrastructure projects under this model. The use of the tripartite model increased collaboration among local actors and increased local ownership of projects, all while demonstrating peace dividends and improving community resilience.