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Forgotten Warriors: The Reintegration of Girl Soldiers in Sierra Leone

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Abstract:

My research examines the response of UNICEF to its "lessons learned" from the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) process. The motivation for this project came from the observation that, although there has been an increased focus on the existence and of girl soldiers in international conflicts, there is still a lucana of research representing the experiences of girl soldiers and their needs post-conflict. Further, despite the fact that ‘gender mainstreaming’ and gender training have increasingly been put on the agenda of both government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), there has been little extensive research on the extent to which gender is being prioritised in their practices. For my doctoral research, the central problems driving the research is the inadequate attention paid to the interests, impacts, and needs of former girl soldiers post-conflict.
Using the “Girls Left Behind” project- a UNICEF program directed at girls who participated in Sierra Leone's civil war but who did not go through the DDR- in Makeni as a case study, I aim to explore how programs designed to respond to the "lessons learned"-particularly with respect to the underrepresentation of girl soldiers in the process- from the DDR in Sierra Leone actually meet the needs of women and girls. The research questions that I seek to answer require fieldwork in Sierra Leone. Thus, the opportunity provided by an IDRC award will allow me to complete an essential component of my dissertation. The result of my work will be a much needed assessment of the ability of programs designed to assist former girl soldiers to mainstream gender and to meet the needs and expectations of former girl soldiers. Further, my work will also provide policy recommendations aimed at improving the capacity of organisations and governments, including the Canadian government, who has identified gender as a foreign policy priority, to incorporate gender into their practices.      

Most Common Document Word Stems:

women (163), girl (113), ddr (100), victim (70), process (42), program (41), unicef (36), soldier (35), conflict (33), sierra (31), left (31), leon (30), forc (28), associ (27), behind (25), femin (25), critic (24), children (23), post (22), post-conflict (21), feminist (21),

Author's Keywords:

post-conflict, gender, development, Sierra Leone, child soldiers, disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration
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Association:
Name: International Studies Association
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http://www.isanet.org


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MLA Citation:

MacKenzie, Megan. "Forgotten Warriors: The Reintegration of Girl Soldiers in Sierra Leone" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA, Mar 22, 2006 <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p100165_index.html>

APA Citation:

MacKenzie, M. H. , 2006-03-22 "Forgotten Warriors: The Reintegration of Girl Soldiers in Sierra Leone" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA Online <PDF>. 2013-12-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p100165_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: My research examines the response of UNICEF to its "lessons learned" from the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) process. The motivation for this project came from the observation that, although there has been an increased focus on the existence and of girl soldiers in international conflicts, there is still a lucana of research representing the experiences of girl soldiers and their needs post-conflict. Further, despite the fact that ‘gender mainstreaming’ and gender training have increasingly been put on the agenda of both government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), there has been little extensive research on the extent to which gender is being prioritised in their practices. For my doctoral research, the central problems driving the research is the inadequate attention paid to the interests, impacts, and needs of former girl soldiers post-conflict.
Using the “Girls Left Behind” project- a UNICEF program directed at girls who participated in Sierra Leone's civil war but who did not go through the DDR- in Makeni as a case study, I aim to explore how programs designed to respond to the "lessons learned"-particularly with respect to the underrepresentation of girl soldiers in the process- from the DDR in Sierra Leone actually meet the needs of women and girls. The research questions that I seek to answer require fieldwork in Sierra Leone. Thus, the opportunity provided by an IDRC award will allow me to complete an essential component of my dissertation. The result of my work will be a much needed assessment of the ability of programs designed to assist former girl soldiers to mainstream gender and to meet the needs and expectations of former girl soldiers. Further, my work will also provide policy recommendations aimed at improving the capacity of organisations and governments, including the Canadian government, who has identified gender as a foreign policy priority, to incorporate gender into their practices.      

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Document Type: PDF
Page count: 20
Word count: 6677
Text sample:
Forgotten Warriors: The Reintegration of Girl Soldiers in Sierra Leone Megan MacKenzie University of Alberta megan.mackenzie@ualberta.ca Draft only- Please do not cite without permission Sierra Leone is at a unique stage in its post-conflict development. Organizations and programs designed for the “emergency phase” after the war have either moved on to more pressing areas in the region or in the world or have altered their mandate from a post-conflict focus to a development focus. There is criticism that this
“The Girls Left Behind” provides its own answer to the question of why girls were underrepresented at the DDR. By answering for them this program silences women and girls and inhibits critical examination of the program. Women and girls in post-conflict Sierra Leone are not victims as a result of being left behind any DDR process; rather they are victims of programs that serve to silence their voices and limit their empowerment. Just as it is naive to assume


Similar Titles:
Sex and Security in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone

Internationalizing Post-Conflict Justice: The "Hybrid" Special Court for Sierra Leone

From Soldiers to Citizens, or Soldiers to Seamstresses: Reintegrating Girl and Women Soldiers in Sierra Leone


 
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