Civil society, peacebuilding from below and shrinking civic space: the case of Cameroon’s ‘Anglophone’ conflict

Nancy Annan, Maurice Beseng, Gordon Crawford, James Kiven Kewir

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    74 Downloads (Pure)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)697-725
    Number of pages29
    JournalConflict, Security & Development
    Issue number6
    Early online date26 Nov 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
    Attribution License (, which permits
    unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


    Coventry University’s ‘International and Interdisciplinary Pilot Projects’ scheme


    • Anglophone conflict
    • Cameroon
    • civil society organisations
    • conflict resolution
    • shrinking civic space

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


    Dive into the research topics of 'Civil society, peacebuilding from below and shrinking civic space: the case of Cameroon’s ‘Anglophone’ conflict'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this