Reintegration of young mothers

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Worthen, Miranda
McKay, Susan
Veale, Angela
Wessells, Mike
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Forced Migration Review
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In Liberia, Sierra Leone and northern Uganda, young women’s lives were greatly disrupted by civil war. Part of this disruption was a fracturing in traditionally supportive relationships with family members, elders and peers. This article describes the findings of a three-year community-based participatory action research (PAR) study undertaken in 2006-09 with young women who are mothers in these three countries.[1] Two-thirds of the 658 participants were formerly associated with fighting forces or armed groups, while a third were identified by community members as highly vulnerable for a variety of reasons including being orphaned or disabled. The study also included over 1,200 children of these young mothers. The purpose of the study – which took place in 20 communities ranging from remote villages to urban centres – was to learn what ‘reintegration’ meant to these young women. Girls and young women who were formerly associated with fighting forces or armed groups and who had become pregnant or had children during armed conflict have been excluded from the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes developed by the international community. This exclusion is for numerous reasons, including gender discrimination and a perception that girls and young women are not a threat to the durability of peace accords and can thus be ignored.
Child soldiers , Gender , Social reintegration , Sierra Leone , Liberia , Uganda
Worthen, M., McKay, S., Veale, A. and Wessells, M. (2012) 'Reintegration of young mothers', Forced Migration Review, 40, pp. 25-26.