Strengthening institutions or institutionalising weaknesses? Interactions between aid and institutions in Huíla Province, Angola

Maliana Serrano examined the interaction between aid interventions and local institutions during the conflict and reconstruction in Angola. Focusing on the governance and provision of basic services as a key area of social assistance, it analyses aid and institutions transform one another and become mutually constitutive, producing both intended and unintended outcomes.


This study consists of a historical ethnography of aid interventions and local institutions, based on the case of Huíla province and on the specific experiences of the two municipalities of Chipindo and Matala. In contexts of conflict, multiple institutional arrangements coexist and compete in addressing local needs, given that legitimate state institutions are often absent. Rather than a clear division between war and post-war contexts, continuities and reordering processes occur between them, both in terms of needs and of aid practices. The thesis concludes that aid interventions despite intentions to strengthen local institutional capacity, often fail to do so and actually contribute to their erosion.

Promotor: Dorothea Hilhorst