, Volume 60, Issue 3–4, pp 190–196 | Cite as

Tipping the Scales: Shifting from Projects to Scalable Solutions in Fragile States

  • Larry CooleyEmail author
  • Jonathan Papoulidis


This article proposes a new paradigm and management framework for programming in fragile states. Confronted by the root causes of fragility and the pressing needs of hundreds of millions of the world’s most vulnerable persons, it argues for focusing on both problems simultaneously. The article singles out four features that distinguish scaling strategies in fragile states and suggests that the most promising interventions for tackling fragility and building resilience only ‘kick-in’ at scale because of the higher degree of functioning social capital they require. The article cites a number of examples to support the view that scaling-up approaches provide a valuable organizing framework for integrating a focus on social capital into programming and overcoming the piecemeal, one-off and non-strategic character of aid programmes in fragile states.


Scaling Fragile states Social contract Social capital Resilience Wave sequence 


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Copyright information

© Society for International Development 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management Systems InternationalArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Society for International DevelopmentWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Global Community of Practice on Scaling Development OutcomesArlingtonUSA
  4. 4.World VisionWashingtonUSA
  5. 5.Freeman Spogli Institute for International StudiesStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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