This article focuses on the current conflict in Anglophone Cameroon and examines the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in conflict resolution. In doing so, it explores a paradox in the peacebuilding literature. On the one hand, the ‘local turn’ in peacebuilding has emphasised a bottom-up approach that highlights the role of CSOs. On the other hand, the literature on ‘shrinking civic space’ has demonstrated how space for CSOs’ activities has become increasingly restricted, especially in authoritarian contexts like Cameroon. The article investigates the contributions of CSOs to conflict resolution, the constraints faced, and their responses in turn to mitigate such constraints. CSOs’ contribution to conflict resolution is at least three-fold: to engage with most-affected communities and build an evidence base of the conflict’s adverse consequences for civilians; to draw national and international attention to the conflict; and to maintain pressure for a negotiated settlement through public protests and interactions with both government and non-state armed groups. Despite facing intimidation and violence at times, CSOs have responded in innovative ways that demonstrate examples of adaptation and resistance to shrinking civic space.
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FunderCoventry University’s ‘International and Interdisciplinary Pilot Projects’ scheme
- Anglophone conflict
- civil society organisations
- conflict resolution
- shrinking civic space
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations