Risk, Resilience, and Response

Ronak B. Patel, David Alejandro Schoeller-Diaz, Victoria-Alicia Lopez, and John Joseph “Ian” Kelly IV. 6/2012. Hope in the Face of Displacement and Rapid Urbanization.Abstract
This study seeks to offer a practical examination of resilience in complex urban landscapes for the academic community and humanitarian actors at the local and international levels. Distrito de Aguablanca (Cali, Colombia), a complex settlement area with some 600,000 residents, functions as a case study in human security and resilience that can inform public policy and community level decision making in especially difficult humanitarian environments, with sociopolitical volatility, large populations of internally displaced persons, and high crime and violence rates.
Jocelyn Kelly and Lindsay Branham. 3/2012. “Engaging African Voices on Kony .” The New York TImes.Abstract

A critical perspective has been missing from the conversation resulting from the Kony 2012 campaign: that of those currently living in Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) affected areas.The voices of affected individuals and communities should be at the center of this swelling chorus of opinions . If they were, perhaps the clamor of criticism could quiet long enough to hear what is being asked of humanitarians, academics, policy makers, and global citizens.

Jocelyn Kelly and Lindsay Branham. 3/2012. “Engaging African Voices on Kony .” The New York TImes.Abstract

A critical perspective has been missing from the conversation resulting from the Kony 2012 campaign: that of those currently living in Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) affected areas.The voices of affected individuals and communities should be at the center of this swelling chorus of opinions . If they were, perhaps the clamor of criticism could quiet long enough to hear what is being asked of humanitarians, academics, policy makers, and global citizens.

Phuong Pham and Patrick Vinck. 7/2014. Fragile Peace, Elusive Justice: Population-Based Survey on Perceptions and Attitudes about Security and Justice in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Read PublicationAbstract

This report presents the results of a mixed-methods study conducted in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, to assess the population’s perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes about security and justice. The study included a survey of 1,000 randomly selected adult residents, to provide results that are representative of the population of the city of Abidjan. The specific objectives of this study were to:

  1. Assess the overall exposure to violence among the population in Abidjan.
  2. Document attitudes and opinions about transitional justice mechanisms.
  3. Examine how the population gathers information about the International Criminal Court (ICC), what factors influence Ivorians’ knowledge of the Court, and what correlation exists between information sources and perceptions.

Detailed results provided in the report outline the challenges of rebuilding peace and achieving justice after a decade of conflict, and just two years after a dramatic post-election crisis. The report reveals a population that has little or no trust in its government and in each other, concerned with its economic well-being, and somewhat divided about holding accountable the perpetrators of serious crimes during the postelection violence.

Jocelyn Kelly. 6/2014. “"This mine has become our farmland": Critical perspectives on the coevolution of artisanal mining and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo .” Resources Policy, 40, Pp. 100-108. Read PublicationAbstract

The debate on conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been widely documented by the international media, government and non-governmental agencies and academics. In recent years, a variety of international initiatives have been launched to curb the flow of funding from conflict minerals to armed groups. Many of these initiatives, however, have led to the loss of livelihoods for millions of small-scale miners.

Drawing on interviews with key informants and focus group discussions in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities in South Kivu Province of the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), this paper examines the ways in which the national army, as well as an array of armed groups, have exerted control of mining towns.

Jocelyn Kelly, Alexandria King-Close, and Rachel Perks. 10/2014. “Resources and resourcefulness: Roles, opportunities and risks for women working at artisanal mines in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo .” Futures, 62, Pp. 95-105. Read PublicationAbstract

Two dominant narratives have characterized the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): (1) the horrific abuse of women through sexual violence and (2) the use of “conflict minerals” to fuel the fighting. These two advocacy narratives intersect uniquely in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) towns and can lead to flawed understandings of the true dynamics of women's experiences in these contexts. Mining areas are important centers of economic activity for women, but also pose distinct risks. A simplistic portrayal of women's victimization in mining towns suppress discussion of their participation in non-conflict political and social processes. Yet, these processes are among the most important to ensure that women secure opportunities for long-term, substantive engagement in mining activities. This paper draws on systematically collected qualitative data from two territories in South Kivu, Walungu and Kalehe, to examine how women negotiate these complex social and economic mining landscapes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Their accounts compel a re-examination of development efforts to remove women from the mines altogether, and to look more closely at the measures available to help them realize their legal rights to work safely and fairly in these contexts.

Jocelyn Kelly, Alexandria King-Close, and Rachel Perks. 10/2014. “Resources and resourcefulness: Roles, opportunities and risks for women working at artisanal mines in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo .” Futures, 62, Pp. 95-105. Read PublicationAbstract

Two dominant narratives have characterized the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): (1) the horrific abuse of women through sexual violence and (2) the use of “conflict minerals” to fuel the fighting. These two advocacy narratives intersect uniquely in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) towns and can lead to flawed understandings of the true dynamics of women's experiences in these contexts. Mining areas are important centers of economic activity for women, but also pose distinct risks. A simplistic portrayal of women's victimization in mining towns suppress discussion of their participation in non-conflict political and social processes. Yet, these processes are among the most important to ensure that women secure opportunities for long-term, substantive engagement in mining activities. This paper draws on systematically collected qualitative data from two territories in South Kivu, Walungu and Kalehe, to examine how women negotiate these complex social and economic mining landscapes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Their accounts compel a re-examination of development efforts to remove women from the mines altogether, and to look more closely at the measures available to help them realize their legal rights to work safely and fairly in these contexts.

Patrick Vinck and Phuong Pham. 7/2014. Searching for Lasting Peace: Population-Based Survey on Perceptions and Attitudes about Peace, Security and Justice in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo .Abstract

This report presents the results of a mixed-methods study conducted in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between November and December 2013, to assess the population’s perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes about peace, security and justice. The study included a survey of 5,166 randomly selected adult residents, to provide results that are representative of the adult population of territories and major urban areas in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu, and the district of Ituri.

Beth Maclin, Jocelyn Kelly, Justin Kabanga, and Michael VanRooyen. 9/2014. “They have embraced a different behaviour': transactional sex and family dynamics in eastern Congo's Conflict.” Culture, Health & Sexuality. Read PublicationAbstract

The decades-long conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has resulted in major changes to local economies, strained social networks and insecurity. This environment forces many to pursue unconventional and, at times, socially stigmatised avenues for income. This paper explores the ways in which individuals in eastern DRC engage in, and are affected by, the commoditisation of sex within the context of decades of violent conflict.

Rights Resilience and Program on Gender. 1/2013. "We Came Back with Empty Hands": Understanding the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Children Formerly Associated with Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo .Abstract

This report documents the experiences and attitudes of former underage combatants in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who went through the reintegration process, the families and communities who received them and the organizations that funded and implemented reintegration programming. Despite increasing attention to the scope and importance of child soldiering globally, there is still limited systematic research on the successes and challenges of reintegration programming for former underage combatants. This project, a collaboration between the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Eastern Congo Initiative, used DRC as a case study to examine the community experiences and attitudes around Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programming to generate lessons learned for improving future programming for former underage combatants and at-risk youth.

Jocelyn Kelly and Lindsay Branham. 1/2013. "We Suffer From War and More War": An Assessment of the Impact of the Lord's Resistance Army on Formerly Abducted Children and their Communities in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo .Abstract

This study highlights the voices of individuals currently affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army to detail the extensive and systematic devastation felt specifically by formerly abducted children and their communities in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Respondents stressed that the international community must assist with providing essential services through long-term engagement, including life-saving health services; improving water and sanitation access; and providing psychosocial and educational interventions to formerly abducted children and adults. While these communities are facing emergency-level challenges now, the need for solutions that will last into the future.

Jennifer Scott, Sarah Averbach, Anna Merport Modest, Michele Hacker, Sarah Cornish, Danielle Spencer, Maureen Murphy, and Parveen Parmar. 11/2013. “An Assessment of Attitudes Toward Gender Inequitable Sexual and Reproductive Health Norms in South Sudan: a Community-based Participatory Research Approach.” Conflict and Health. Read PublicationAbstract

Communities in South Sudan have endured decades of conflict. Protracted conflict exacerbated reproductive health disparities and gender inequities. This study, conducted prior to the country’s 2011 independence, aimed to assess attitudes toward gender inequitable norms related to sexual relationships and reproductive health and the effects of sex, age, and education on these attitudes.

Jocelyn Kelly and Beth Maclin. 4/2014. Assessing the Impact of Programming to Reduce the Stigmatization of Survivors of Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.Abstract

This project rigorously evaluated programming that addresses stigma against survivors. In this program evaluation, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Women in War program worked with the Congolese NGO, Centre d’Assistance Medico-Psychosociale (CAMPS) to assess which parts of their programming are most effective and how to continue to improve services related to reducing stigma. 

Katherine Albutt, Jocelyn Kelly, Justin Kabanga, and Michael VanRooyen. 4/2017. “Stigmatisation and rejection of survivors of sexual violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Disasters, 41, 2, Pp. 211-227. Read PublicationAbstract
Studies report that between 6 per cent and 29 per cent of survivors of sexual violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are rejected by their families and communities. This research project was designed to provide insights into survivors' experiences of stigmatisation and rejection. Surveys were conducted with 310 women as they sought psychosocial services in eastern DRC. In total, 44.3 per cent of women reported suffering rejection after sexual violence. The majority of women felt that their status in the household (58.0 per cent) and community (54.9 per cent) diminished after rape. The odds of rejection were greater among women reporting ongoing displacement, pregnancy owing to sexual violence, worsening family relations, and diminished community status. This work highlights the extremely high levels of loss associated with the war in eastern DRC, particularly among survivors of sexual violence. The rejection of a survivor of rape has concrete and devastating psychosocial consequences.
Tilly Alcayna. 1/2016. “Slum socio-ecology: an exploratory characterisation of vulnerability to climate-change related disasters in the urban context”.Abstract

As cities, especially coastal megacities, continue to grow often through rapid unplanned urbanization, populations are increasingly concentrated in climate change-affected hazard-prone spaces. How these populations interact with their environments will ultimately influence their vulnerability to climate-related disaster. Yet the interdependence between human and environmental systems, especially in the urban slum context, is under-researched and represents an important gap in our understanding. Using a socio-ecological system approach provides a holistic framework to understand vulnerability.

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