Conflict

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.

Brittany Card, Justine MacKinnon, and Patrick Meier. 11/2013. #Westgate Tweets: A Detailed Study of Information Forensics.Abstract

Al Shabaab's horrific attack of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi generated over 730,000 tweets during the four-day siege in Spetember 2013. The purpose of this study is to analyze the authors, content and frequency of these tweets in the hour leading up to the attacks and during the two hours after the onslaught began. The Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) partnered with GNIP to collect the 730,000+ tweets within hours of the attack unfolding. QCRI Research Assistants Ms. Brittany Card and Ms. Justine MacKinnon carried out the subsequent categorization and analysis of tweets under the guidance of QCRI's Director of Social Innovation, Dr. Patrick Meier.

Brittany Card, Ziad Al Achkar, Nathaniel A. Raymond, Benjamin I. Davies, and Isaac L. Baker. 7/2013. “While We Watched: Assessing the Impact of the Satellite Sentinel Project.” The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.Abstract

The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs published an article authored by Signal Program staff in which they detail the technology, perceived impact and lessons learned from running operations for the Satellite Sentinel Project. This inside assessment of the Satellite Sentinel Project has been offered open source by the journal in order to inform humanitarian practitioners, scholars and the public.

Rob Grace. 12/2014. “From Design to Implementation: The Interpretation of Fact-finding Mandates .” Journal of Conflict and Security Law, 20, 1, Pp. 27-60. Read PublicationAbstract

The mandate interpretation process is crucial to the implementation of fact-finding missions geared toward investigating alleged violations of international law, including human rights, international criminal law, and international humanitarian law. However, many disagreements exist about how fact-finding practitioners should weigh different factors in their mandate interpretation processes. This article—based in part on extensive interviews conducted by the author with fact-finding practitioners—examines areas of methodological agreement and disagreement, trends of professional decision making, and normative perceptions that practitioners hold about best practices regarding the interpretation of fact-finding mandates. Overall, the article aims to highlight points of convergence and divergence between past professional experiences and to illuminate the benefits and risks of different methodological choices.

Rob Grace. 12/2013. The Design and Planning of Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Missions . Read PublicationAbstract

The design and planning process is crucial to the implementation of monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) mechanisms geared toward investigating violations of international law, including human rights, international criminal law, and international humanitarian law. However, many disagreements exist about how MRF actors should weigh different factors in their design and planning decision-making processes. This paper — to provide a point of reference indicating the implications of different methodological choices — examines areas of methodological agreement and disagreement, trends of professional decision-making, and normative perceptions that practitioners hold about best practices regarding the design and planning of MRF mechanisms. Based on an assessment of fifteen MRF missions implemented over the past decade, this paper analyzes how commissioners on these missions interpreted the mission’s investigative scope, examines the factors that guided decisions about the activities that the mission would undertake, and offers an overview of common staffing dilemmas. Overall, the paper aims to present a portrait of the state of MRF practice, in terms of how practitioners approach fulfilling their mandates.

Rob Grace. 7/2014. Communication and Report Drafting in Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Mechanisms . Read PublicationAbstract

This working paper examines how monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) missions have responded to challenges regarding public communication and report drafting. Overall, the paper aims to present a portrait of the views and practices of the MRF community — as well as the implications of different approaches — regarding transparency. What should MRF practitioners communicate publicly? What information should be kept private? When a mission does communicate publicly, how should practitioners do so? What factors should shape practitioners’ communications strategies? How should these factors influence the ways that practitioners approach drafting MRF reports? This paper examines these questions, which — given that the effectiveness of an MRF mission hinges on the ability of commissioners to foster positive public perceptions of the mission’s credibility — are crucial to the overall success of the domain of MRF.

Jr. Frederick M. Burkle, P. Gregg Greenough, and Gerald Martone. 1/2014. “The Changing Face of Humanitarian Crises .” Brown Journal of World Affairs, 20, 2, Pp. 19-36.Abstract

The scale and cadence of crises that demand international humanitarian response is increasing. The cumulative frequency and severity of climate change on large populations, rapid and unsustainable urbanization, decreasing biodiversity, and the impending realities of resource scarcities and the armed conflicts they might catalyze are only some of the challenges that loom ahead. It is ironic that while human civilization today possesses the most advanced technologies, global prosperity, and abundance, we face the greatest absolute number of people lacking access to clean water, food, shelter, and basic healthcare.

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. 

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