This article documents lessons learned from a study of aid partnerships in post-conflict development and peace building in Bougainville. It examines how donor agencies, in this case the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), contributed to the successes and failures of the Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency (LNWDA). Although the donors contributed to the organisational development and capacity of the LNWDA, the balance of power remains unequal. Furthermore, the deployment of an intermediary body in the partnership exerts considerable pressure on the LNWDA, because it has to deal with multiple demands for accountability, which affect the impact of its own work on the ground. It is argued that in order to enhance the impact of their assistance, donor agencies need to develop a framework in which partnerships are sustained through mutual and less demanding accountabilities.
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