African Democracy and Development: Challenges for Post-Conflict African Nations


Veney, Cassandra Rachel, and Dick W. Simpson, ed. 2013. African Democracy and Development: Challenges for Post-Conflict African Nations. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Authors: Cassandra Veney, Dick Simpson


Various African nations have undergone conflict situations since they gained their independence. This book focuses on particular countries that have faced conflict (civil wars and genocide) and are now in the process of rebuilding their political, economic, social, and educational institutions. The countries that are addressed in the book include: Rwanda, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition, there is a chapter that addresses the role of the African Diaspora in conflict and post-conflict countries that include Eritrea, Liberia, and Somalia. The book includes an examination of the various actors who are involved in post-conflict rebuilding and reconstruction that involves internal and external participants. For example, it is clear that the internal actors involve Africans themselves as ordinary citizens, members of local and national governments, and members of non-governmental organizations. This allows the reader to understand the agency and empowerment of Africans in post-conflict reconstruction. Various institutions are addressed within the context of the roles they play in establishing governance organizations such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone, the African Union, chiefs in Liberia, and non-governmental organizations. Furthermore, the external actors who are involved in post-conflict reconstruction are examined such as international non-governmental organizations and the African Diaspora. They both have their own constituents and agendas and can and do play a positive and negative role in post-conflict reconstruction. It is obvious that countries that are addressed in the book are in dire need of financial assistant to rebuild much needed infrastructure that was destroyed during the conflict. All of the countries covered in the book need schools, medical facilities, roads, bridges, airports, ports, and the government does not have the money to provide these. This is where the international non-governmental organizations and the African Diaspora play an important role. The chapters that address these issues are cognizant of their importance and at the same time, the authors realize that sovereignty can be undermined if Africans are not in the forefront of policy and decision making that will determine their future. There are chapters that provide a gendered analysis of post-conflict when it is appropriate. For example, it is clear that women, men, boys, and girls experienced conflict in different ways because of their gender. They all participated in the conflict in various ways. Consequently, the efforts at peace building are given a gendered analysis in terms of what has happened to women and girls in the demobilization and rehabilitation period including an excellent analysis of land reform in Rwanda and how that affects women and members of a certain ethnic group that are often overlooked in the examination of the 1994 genocide. In sum, this book provides a very good contribution to the literature on conflict and post-conflict African countries because of its depth and the vast topics it embraces. It provides an analysis of the internal and external actors, the role of gender in post-conflict decision making, and it provides the voices of ordinary Africans who were affected by the conflict, and who are determined to live productive lives. (Summary from Google Books)
Table of Contents:
1. No Justice, No Peace: The Elusive Search for Justice and Reconciliation in Sierra Leone
Sylvia Macauley
2. The Role of Ex-Combatants in Mozambique
Jessica Schafer
3. Memory Controversies in Post-genocide Rwanda: Implications for Peacebuilding
Elisabeth King
4. Land Reform, Social Justice, and Reconstruction: Challenges for Post-genocide Rwanda
Helen Hintjens
5. Elections as a Stress Test of Democratization in Societies: A Comparison of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
John Yoder
6. Partners or Adversaries?: NGOs and the State in Postwar Sierra Leone
Fredline A.O. M'Cormack-Hale
7. Chieftancy and Reconstruction in Sierra Leone
Arthur Abraham
8. The Role of African Diasporas in Reconstruction
Paul Tiyambe Zeleza
9. The Role of the African Union in Reconstruction in Africa
Thomas Kwasi Tieku
10. Governance Challenges in Sierra Leone
Osman Gbla
11. Challenges of Governance Reform in Liberia
Amos Sawyer
12. Achieving Development and Democracy
Dick Simpson


Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, DDR, Gender, Gender Analysis, Girls, Women, Genocide, Governance, Infrastructure, International Organizations, Justice, NGOs, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia

Year: 2013

Women's Access to Land and Property Rights in Eritrea


Tekle, Tsehainesh. 1998. "Women's Access to Land and Property Rights in Eritrea." Paper presented at Inter-Regional Consultation, Kigali, Rwanda, February. 

Author: Tsehainesh Tekle


"The implications of women’s land inheritance for the position of women are very far-reaching. If land inheritance became a generalised feature of Eritrean society, it would be a powerful agent in the empowerment of women, as it would increase women’s economic independence. It is probable that most women in Eritrea are not yet aware of how the new land laws affect their rights and those of their daughters. It is important, therefore, to make information about land laws and their implications widely available.

At this early stage there is a gap between the legal reforms of the EPLF (now the Government of Eritrea) and on-the-ground realities. The implementation of the new laws is not proving an easy matter. For example, ignorance of the law is, along with cultural preferences for early marriage, one of the factors contributing to the continuing pressure to provide a dowry. Also, in spite of the new laws prohibiting discrimination against women, men are still refusing to give them land to which they are legally entitled.

Customary law dictates most rights and restrictions within the community. The latter often conflict - and will do so increasingly - with the new civil code and the provisions of the newly proclaimed Constitution. The implementation of the new land law is a big challenge. In order to speed up the process, the Land Commission should be made stronger. Women’s awareness of their rights must be strengthened, too. And the means and support to follow through the complex and lengthy legal processes must be provided to women, if they are to improve their condition by legal means. The new Constitution does not negate the value of customary law, but it aims to ensure equality for women" (Tekle 1998, 7-8).

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Post-Conflict, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Eritrea

Year: 1998

A Scoping Review of the Health of Conflict-Induced Internally Displaced Women in Africa


Amodu, Oluwakemi C., Magdalena S. Richter, and Bukola O. Salami. 2020. "A Scoping Review of the Health of Conflict-Induced Internally Displaced Women in Africa." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17 (4): 1-21. 

Authors: Oluwakemi C. Amodu, Magdalena S. Richter, Bukola O. Salami


Armed conflict and internal displacement of persons create new health challenges for women in Africa. To outline the research literature on this population, we conducted a review of studies exploring the health of internally displaced persons (IDP) women in Africa. In collaboration with a health research librarian and a review team, a search strategy was designed that identified 31 primary research studies with relevant evidence. Studies on the health of displaced women have been conducted in South- Central Africa, including Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); and in Eastern, East central Africa, and Western Africa, including Eritrea, Uganda, and Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, and Nigeria. We identified violence, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, and malaria and as key health areas to explore, and observed that socioeconomic power shifts play a crucial role in predisposing women to challenges in all four categories. Access to reproductive health services was influenced by knowledge, geographical proximity to health services, spousal consent, and affordability of care. As well, numerous factors affect the mental health of internally displaced women in Africa: excessive care-giving responsibilities, lack of financial and family support to help them cope, sustained experiences of violence, psychological distress, family dysfunction, and men’s chronic alcoholism. National and regional governments must recommit to institutional restructuring and improved funding allocation to culturally appropriate health interventions for displaced women.

Keywords: internally displaced women, scoping review, women's health, Africa, health

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, IDPs, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, Households, Livelihoods, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Côte D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda

Year: 2020

In War’s Wake: Contextualizing Trauma Experiences and Psychosocial Well-Being Among Eritrean Youth


Farwell, Nancy. 2003. “In War’s Wake: Contextualizing Trauma Experiences and Psychosocial Well-Being Among Eritrean Youth.” International Journal of Mental Health 32 (4): 20–30.

Author: Nancy Farwell


This study examines war trauma experienced by Eritrean youth, their psychological symptoms and contextual actors related to their psychosocial well-being in the postwar environment in Eritrea. The youth offered retrospective accounts of trauma experiences in semi-structured interviews that included open- and closed-ended questions and the administration of the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Among the ninety-seven youth in this school-based sample from four regions of Eritrea, exposure to trauma and economic hardship were significant predictors of psychological distress. Refugee status did not predict lower symptom levels, a factor related to the stressors encountered in exile as well as to the earlier war events that forced the youth and their families to flee their country. For many youth, grief over the loss of parents and close relatives was not resolved. The youth were generally positive about the future, both personally and in the context of a free and independent Eritrea. This article suggests that the intrapsychic post-traumatic stress disorder framework may be too narrow for conceptualizing war trauma, which is essentially psychosocial in nature, and deeply contextualized in a community's socioeconomic and political realities of conflict and its aftermath. Expanding this knowledge base is important order to ensure that practitioners and policy makers can effectively assist youth and their families with the postconflict tasks of healing and reintegration, essential elements of building a lasting peace.

Topics: Age, Youth, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Eritrea

Year: 2003

Eritrean Women Asylum Seekers in Israel: From a Politics of Rescue to Feminist Accountability


Ghebrezghiabher, Habtom M., and Pnina Motzafi-Haller. 2015. “Eritrean Women Asylum Seekers in Israel: From a Politics of Rescue to Feminist Accountability." Journal of Refugee Studies 28 (4): 570-594.

Authors: Habtom M. Ghebrezghiabher, Pnina Motzafi-Haller


Despite acclaimed gender equality during the struggle for liberation and post independence in their country, the entrenched system of gender-based inequality has forced many Eritrean women to flee their country. On their difficult flight and during their journey, Eritrean women were exposed to blackmail, sexual abuse and rape. Those who made it through the difficult journey sought asylum in Israel but have not been able to escape gender violation and discrimination in their host state. This article traces the experience of Eritrean woman asylum seekers in Israel from the moment of their escape from Eritrea, through their torturous journey and after their entry into a state that refuses to consider their right to refugee status. Data were obtained using in-depth interviews with women asylum seekers in Israel, records of radio interviews and Paltalk discussions in the Tigrigna language, and close reading of unpublished reports by human rights activists and of Hebrew-language Israeli newspapers. Analysis of these diverse bodies of data reveals that gender is largely ignored by the few scholars who attempted to document the Eritrean asylum seekers experience in Israel. Drawing on post-colonial feminist Canadian scholar Sherene Razack (1999), who urges us to develop 'a more political understanding of why women flee', we examine here the experience of Eritrean women asylum seekers in Israel within a critical feminist analytical framework that documents their agency within changing historical and political circumstances and forces. We use this larger historically specific framework to disengage from the trope of 'pity and rescue' and offer instead a critical examination of how Eritrean women act as agents from the moment they decide to flee their country and until they settle in Israel. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Violence Regions: East Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Eritrea, Israel

Year: 2015

Women Without Arms: Gendered Fighter Constructions in Eritrea and Southern Sudan


Weber, Annette. 2011. “Women Without Arms: Gendered Fighter Constructions in Eritrea and Southern Sudan.” International Journal of Conflict and Violence 5 (2): 357–70.

Author: Annette Weber


An analysis of gendered fighter constructions in the liberation movements in Eritrea and southern Sudan (EPLF and SPLA/M), examining the question of female access to the sphere of masculine fighter constructs and the relevance of this for influence in peacetime affairs. Empirical research in both countries, in particular interviews with participants, reveals that what keeps women out of the sphere of legitimized violence is not some “inherent peacefulness,” but the exclusivist construct of the masculine fighter, which is supported by society. This makes it hard for women to participate in war, and especially to gain full fighter status. An intrinsic link is found between fighter status and access to power in post-conflict state-building from which women, being unable to gain full fighter status, are largely excluded.

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Post-Conflict, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Eritrea, South Sudan

Year: 2011

The Land Issue in Eritrea’s Reconstruction & Development


Rock, June. 2000. “The Land Issue in Eritrea’s Reconstruction & Development.” Review of African Political Economy 27 (84): 221–34.

Author: June Rock


At the end of the 30 year‐long liberation struggle against Ethiopian overrule, Eritrea was faced with the enormous tasks of political and economic reconstruction, the repair of the country's physical infrastructure, and the need to rebuild and rehabilitate the devastated agricultural sector. These tasks coincided with those of the demobilisation of fighters and the repatriation and reintegration of some 600,000 refugees that had fled to the Sudan during the struggle. High on the agenda of Eritrea's decision‐makers immediately after Independence, was the issue of land. A speedy resolution of the land issue was seen as integral to the government's overall policies for post‐war recovery and reconstruction. This resulted in the introduction, in 1994, of the Eritrea Land Proclamation, which aimed to radically transform the country's tenure systems. Some six years later, with the exception of one or two small pilot projects in the immediate environs of the capital, Asmara, the Proclamation has still to be implemented. This article examines some of the specific provisions of the Land Proclamation in order to explore what would need to be done to initiate it on the ground. It is argued that, while the principles of the Land Proclamation are well intentioned, its implementation would be too complex and costly, and that there are alternative lessons to be learned from the EPLF's own, earlier land reforms of the mid‐1970s and 1980s.

Topics: DDR, Development, Economies, Land Tenure, Governance, Households, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Eritrea

Year: 2000

Gender Conflict and Development Volume II: Case Studies: Cambodia; Rwanda; Kosovo; Algeria; Somalia; Guatemala and Eritrea


Byrne, Bridget, Rachel Marcus, and Tanya Powers-Stevens. 1995. Gender, Conflict and Development Volume II: Case Studies: Cambodia; Rwanda; Kosovo; Algeria; Somalia; Guatemala and Eritrea. 35. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Authors: Bridget Byrne, Rachel Marcus, Tanya Powers-Stevens

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Gender Regions: Africa, MENA, Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Americas, Central America, Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Algeria, Cambodia, Eritrea, Guatemala, Kosovo, Rwanda, Somalia

Year: 1995

Equality to Die For?: Women Guerrilla Fighters and Eritrea’s Cultural Revolution


Bernal, Victoria. 2000. “Equality to Die For?: Women Guerrilla Fighters and Eritrea’s Cultural Revolution.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 23 (2): 61-76.

Author: Victoria Bernal

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Eritrea

Year: 2000

Eritrean Women: Defending National Borders and Challenging Gender Boundaries


Stefanos, Asgedet. 2000. “Eritrean Women: Defending National Borders and Challenging Gender Boundaries.” SAIS Review 20 (2): 167–81.

Author: Asgedet Stefanos

Topics: Gender, Women, Nationalism Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Eritrea

Year: 2000


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