NGOs in peace-keeping operations: their role in Mozambique

Non-governmental organisations now play prominent role in UN peace-keeping operations, mainly in the areas of humanitarian relief, demobilisation and resettlement, support for elections, and mine-clearance. This reflects the preference of major donors to use NGO channels for their own aid. This article examines the challenges this expansion poses both to the agencies involved and to the government of the country in question, with particular reference to the 1992-95 peace-keeping process in Mozambique. The author describes the many practical difficulties facing NGOs in a politically charged post-war environment, and concludes that there is a need for a sharper definition of appropriate roles and minimum operational standards if NGOs are to implement such programmes in ways that neither compromise their integrity nor jeopardise the longer-term reconstruction process.