Experience from Africa (and the rest of the world) has given many examples of a Civil society not necessarily good in itself. In some cases civil society has contributed towards destruction of societies and played a negative role in conflicts and peace building.
Foreign support to civil society in fragile state has often failed. Sometimes the donors have not understood the internal conflict of a country. Lack of knowledge, little insight in local culture and power structures have proved to be obstacles to good results.
Donors are often attracted to groups within the country who share their values and views on development, but who have limited support and no outreach in their own country. In many countries in Africa this kind of artificial civil society is mushrooming as a response to donor funding. Donors should seriously rethink their ideology and be more willing to trade ideology for pragmatism.
In many fragile states civil society is polarized, reflecting existing conflicts within society. Civil society has sometimes contributed to the history of conflicts. In such a context it may be more important to support cooperation and reconciliation in order to facilitate trust among key fractions within society.
A civil society organisation should avoid playing a role similar to that of a political party.