While business-NGO partnerships have received much attention in recent years, insights have been obtained from research in ‘stable’ contexts, not from conflict-ridden countries where such collaboration may be even more crucial in building trust and capacity and in addressing governance problems given the absence of a reliable state. This paper aims to shed light on business-NGOs collaboration in a conflict setting, exploring partnership activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most partnerships found are philanthropic, and deal with ‘traditional’ issues such as health and education in a donor-recipient mode with limited community involvement. There are only a few real transformative partnerships, which address aspects directly related to the conflict from a wider community focus; these involve extractive companies most exposed via mineral development/production. We also found so-called ‘engagement’ collaboration which can be divided into activities including the transfer of funds (and characterised by service delivery), and those without funds, focusing on knowledge exchange that furthers companies’ awareness of conflict-sensitive issues into their operations. Peculiarities of the different types of partnerships are discussed as well as implications for research and practice.

Research Paper