How Can Building Relationships with Communities Enhance Sound Security Sector Governance?

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies and the Centre des Hautes Études de Défense et de Sécurité convened an academic webinar that analyzed the complex relationships between security providers and the citizens they serve.

Establishing and maintaining rule of law in the security sector depends significantly on the relationships that security sector leaders build with different individuals and groups in the communities they serve. The quality of security sector governance is shaped by ways that state security officials decide to work with these entities, keeping in mind their range of different strengths and weaknesses in contributing to the provision and oversight of security through the rule of law. Everyday practices that security officials exercise with citizens to build community relationships and strengthen trust are critical to good security sector governance. So are the roles of civil society organizations, customary and traditional authorities, youth groups, and women’s organizations. Neighborhood watch and self-defense groups have also had a range of cooperative and conflictual relationships with state security institutions and civil society that affect the just and equitable delivery of security for all citizens.

This webinar provided a forum for African experts to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the contributions that a range of non-state actors make to security provision and oversight. The discussion brought together practical analysis of each of these actors’ potential contributions to security governance, as well as the complexities of the relationships between state security officials and various types of non-state actors that can shape citizen security.


Ms. ‘Kemi Okenyodo
(Executive Director, Partners West Africa Nigeria)

Dr. Abdou Ndao
(Professor of Sociology)

Dr. Catherine Lena Kelly
(Associate Professor of Justice and Rule of Law, Africa Center for Strategic Studies)

Click here for the Program webpage, with recommended readings and panelist biographies:

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