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War and conflict, while not manifested as economic or natural disaster, often bring the same consequences and damages and require similar capacity building. This article discusses the following four community-based factors, which contributed to the postconflict development of two communities in Sierra Leone, West Africa: (a) the inclusive involvement of community members for development and construction projects, (b) the use of culturally responsive practices in community building, (c) leadership that is directly connected with the community, and (d) the combination of traditional and local development practices with western and governmental practices. These factors were derived from an intensive five-week qualitative and observational field study seven years after the cessation of a brutal 11-year civil war in the country. In addition, the article demonstrates several ways that these community-based factors may influence other communities struggling to move forward after facing similar destruction from war, conflict, and disaster.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, volume 43, issue 5, in 2012, available online:

Peer Reviewed



Taylor & Francis



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