From Combat to Community: Women and Girls of Sierra Leone


Mazurana, Dyan, and Khristopher Carlson. 2004.From Combat to Community: Women and Girls of Sierra Leone. Cambridge, MA: Women Waging Peace Policy Commission.

Authors: Dyan Mazurana, Khristopher Carlson


Wars and internal conflicts do not end simply with the signing of peace agreements. To avoid a resurgence of violence, it is necessary to develop and support measures for strengthening the governance, security, justice, and socioeconomic capacities of a state. This is a complex task in any society, but daunting in post-conflict situations. While the international community can provide assistance and valuable resources, the local population, which has no “exit strategy,” has the greatest commitment to building sustainable peace. It is therefore essential to draw on the assets, experiences, and dedication at the local level and among all sectors of society. One sector often overlooked and underestimated is women. In most post-conflict societies women are more than 50 percent of the population and are actively engaged in peace building while addressing the basic survival needs of their families and communities. Yet they are often portrayed as passive victims, and little regard is given to their actual and potential roles in fostering security. In October 2000, for the first time in its history, the United Nations Security Council acknowledged that women have a key role in promoting international stability by passing Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. It called on all parties to ensure women’s participation in peace processes, from the prevention of conflict to negotiations and post-war reconstruction. The Women Waging Peace Policy Commission was established to examine peace processes with a particular focus on the contributions of women. Drawing on qualitative field-based research and quantitative survey data, “From Combat to Community: Women and Girls of Sierra Leone” assesses how consideration of gender issues can improve disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) processes and documents the contributions of women in official and civil society-based reintegration programs.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict Prevention, DDR, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Mainstreaming, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Justice, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2004

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at