Risk, Resilience, and Response

Phuong Pham, Patrick Vinck, Eric Stover, Andrew Moss, Marieke Wierda, and Richard Bailey. 12/2007. When the War Ends: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Peace, Justice, and Social Reconstruction in Northern Uganda.Abstract

Ravaged by 21 years of war and destruction, Northern Uganda faces serious obstacles in achieving reconciliation and accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. While security in the region has improved since the migration of the Lord’s Resistance Army to the Congo, Ugandans continue to struggle with the aftereffects of an era of violence. This study relays Ugandans’ views on peace, mechanisms for justice, and reintegration, and consequently recommends that the Ugandan government and international community act in concert to develop a strategy for peace-building, justice, socioeconomic development, and poverty reduction in the North.

Ronak B. Patel and Thomas F. Burke. 8/2009. “Urbanization - An Emerging Humanitarian Disaster.” The New England Journal of Medicine, 361, 8, Pp. 741-743.Abstract

This paper describes the current rates of urbanization and the developing health consequences framed as a humanitarian crisis. The authors go on to analyze the current state of knowledge and policy on urban health. They lay out the priorities for future research and work and the role for academics, governments and international agencies to prevent the impending deterioration in global health due to rapid urbanization.

Phuong Pham, Patrick Vinck, Mychelle Balthazard, Sokhom Hean, and Eric Stover. 1/2009. So We Will Never Forget: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes About Social Reconstruction and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.Abstract

30 years after the end of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia, citizens of the country continue to see themselves as victims of the regime and desire some form of reparations. Nonetheless, citizens wish that the country prioritize problems that Cambodians face in their everyday lives rather than concentrate on punishing crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge. This study presents the views and experiences of Cambodians regarding exposure to violence, overall priorities, and the national criminal justice system. Additionally, the study reveals that citizens desire more knowledge of the regime, feel hatred toward the Khmer Rouge, and demand accountability. Furthermore, the study calls for changes in the structure and governance of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) so that Cambodians’ faith in their criminal justice system may be restored.

Physicians Human for Rights and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 5/2009. Nowhere to Turn: Failure to Protect, Support and Assure Justice for Darfuri Women.Abstract

Nowhere to Turn is a report documenting the scope and long-term impact of rape and other sexual violence experienced by women who fled attacks on their villages in Darfur and are now refugees in neighboring Chad. The report is based on a scientific study, conducted in partnership with Physicians for Human Rights, of women's accounts of rape and other crimes against humanity that they have experienced in Darfur, as well as rape and deprivations of basic needs in refugee camps in Chad.

Patrick Vinck, Phuong Pham, Suliman Baldo, and Rachel Shigekane. 8/2008. Living With Fear: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes About Peace, Justice, and Social Reconstruction in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.Abstract

After years of armed conflict, instability, and human rights violations, in 2006 the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held its first elections since independence. Despite this success, eastern DRC grapples with major challenges in achieving security, social reconstruction, and transitional justice. This study presents the needs and priorities of the Congolese population in light of prevailing social and political instability, and recommends that the Congolese government and international community take steps to monitor and implement peace negotiations, security, and good governance as the country moves forward.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 8/2009. Characterizing Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Profiles of Violence, Community Responses, and Implications for the Protection of Women.Abstract

This report uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Results from this report show the sexual violence perpetrated by armed actors in the DRC has features that indicate rape is being used as a weapon of war. The violence in DRC embodies a new kind of war emerging in the 21st century - one that occurs in villages more than battlefields and affects more civilians than armed combatants.

More reciprocal, cohesive local collaborations needed for disaster risk reduction in the Philippines

Massachusetts, USA — For the Philippine disaster risk reduction (DRR) system to further strengthen and be sustainable, local humanitarian actors need to conduct more cohesive and reciprocal collaborations with each other, researchers from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) have recommended based on their recent study.

“Local organizations are best placed to prepare for and respond disasters. Our research suggests that international aid agencies continue to play a large role in the network of Philippines disaster agencies, pointing to the need to build greater ties...

Read more about More reciprocal, cohesive local collaborations needed for disaster risk reduction in the Philippines
Phuong Pham, Patrick Vinck, and Tino Kreutzer. 6/2011. Talking Peace: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Security, Dispute Resolution, and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Liberia.Abstract

Liberia has made progress in peacebuilding and reconstruction in the aftermath of a 14-year long civil war, but the country continues to face challenges in overcoming the results of a legacy of violence. This study, undertaken in November and December 2010, provides insight into Liberians’ current priorities for peacebuilding, their perceptions of post-conflict security, and existing dispute and dispute resolution mechanisms.  The findings suggest that while Liberians are generally positive about the country’s prospects for peace and security, the fears and inequalities perpetuated by years of civil strife continue to reverberate throughout the country. This study provides recommendations to address the existing problems of gaping socioeconomic disparities, limited access to information, a weakened security sector, and the diminished quality of current dispute resolution systems. It also supports inter-ethnic national dialogue on truth, reconciliation, and the underlying causes of the war.

Neel Butala, Ronak B. Patel, and Michael VanRooyen. 9/2010. “Improved health outcomes in urban slums through infrastructure upgrading.” Social Science & Medicine, 71, 5, Pp. 935-940. Read PublicationAbstract

This study evaluated the health impact of a public private partnership using microfinance to upgrade slum infrastructure in Ahmedabad, India. The authors show a statistically significant reduction in waterborne illness as a result of the intervention and point to further unmeasured benefits from the upgrade. This is an example of the data driven projects HHI is conducting to lend evidence with operational research on interventions.

Reference: Soc Sci Med. 2010 Sep;71(5):935-40.

Jocelyn Kelly. 6/2010. Rape in War: Motives of Militia in DRC.Abstract
"Rape in War: Motives of Militia in the DRC" is a special report commissioned by United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on sexual and gender-based violence, which uniquely examines the experiences of armed combatants in this conflict. The report is a qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with the Mai Mai militia in the DRC and looks at the experiences of armed combatants with the aim of revealing potential avenues for intervention.
Jocelyn Kelly, Beth Maclin, Michael VanRooyen, Justin Kabanga, Katherine Albutt, Sunkyo Im, and Michelle Kissenkoetter. 4/2011. A Patient Heart: Stigma, Acceptance and rejection around Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Abstract

This report identifies factors – societal, financial and health-related – that influence men’s behaviors towards survivors of sexual violence and the barriers towards acceptance and reintegration of survivors into their families and communities after rape. This investigation, through interviews, focus group discussions, and a survey, looked at how to more effectively prevent and address rejection of survivors by their families and communities. This project was based in eastern DRC and funded by the World Bank.

Jocelyn Kelly. 1/2011. “Opinion: Rape Traumatizes All Congolese, Not Just Women ”.Abstract

Many programs exist in eastern DRC today that assist with the medical and psychological needs of survivors – these programs can be live saving and are desperately important. But women here do not live in a void. They deeply affect those around them and are affected by those people in turn. Ignoring the needs of the family and community networks in which these women work and live means that the international community is ignoring the holistic needs of the women they are trying to serve.

Michael VanRooyen, Susan Bartels, Jennifer Leaning, Jocelyn Kelly, and Jennifer Scott. 4/2010. Now, The World Is Without Me: An Investigation of Sexual Violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.Abstract
‘Now, The World Is Without Me', is an in-depth report commissioned by Oxfam America and carried out by HHI.  The study analyzes data from female rape survivors who were treated in Panzi Hospital in South Kivu Province over a five-year period.  The analysis revealed an alarming increase in civilian perpetrators of rape.
Jocelyn Kelly, Michael VanRooyen, Beth Maclin, Justin Kabanga, and Colleen Mullen. 4/2011. Hope for the Future Again: Tracing the effects of sexual violence and conflict on families and communities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo .Abstract

This report outlines how violence in general, and sexual violence in particular, has changed the family foundations, economies and community structures of those touched by it in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Analyzing data from focus group discussions with a range of community members in the area, it suggests recommendations for serving the holistic needs of regions affected by sexual violence.