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Mapping the Security EnvironmentUnderstanding the perceptions of local communities, peace support operations, and assistance agencies

The data presented and analyzed by the study in three cases-Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Sierra Leone-offers intriguing and provocative look at the wide-ranging security needs of local communities and the uneven extent to which these are understood and responded to by major international institutions. The voices of local communities are not being heard, much less “privileged”, by outside actors. The dominant voices in transition environments instead are those of peace support operations (PSOs) and assistance agencies (AAs). Even the voice of government is often muffled. Such a disconnect has major implications: if the perceptions of local communities were to be the entry point for outside actor engagement or the benchmark for the effectiveness of international assistance and peace support, a major re-thinking of the ways PSOs and AA’s operate would be required.