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The Voices of Girl Child Soldiers Colombia


Keairns, Yvonne E. 2003. The Voices of Girl Child Soldiers Colombia. New York: Quaker United Nations Office; Geneva: Quaker United Nations Office.

Author: Yvonne E. Keairns



"This report on the voices of girl child soldiers in Colombia is part of a larger study that carried out in-depth interviews with 23 girl soldiers from four different conflict areas around the world. The voices of these girls provide important insights into becoming a child soldier, the experience of being a child soldier and their view of the future. Among the key conclusions were the messages that:

• Becoming a child soldier is very dependent on a combination of the local environment and the personal circumstances surrounding the girl’s life.

• Living in poverty was important in girls joining a movement or being abducted.

• The girls are not searching for ways to retaliate and bring harm to those who had used and misused them. They were looking for ways to make a contribution, to do something meaningful and productive with their life and to make up for the harm they have delivered upon others" (Keairns 2003, 1).


Table of Contents:


i Acknowledgments


1 Summary


2 Introduction


2 Why listen to the voices of the girl soldier?


3 Methodology


5 Analysis of the Data


6 What Were the Important Themes


6 The Voices of Girl Soldiers from Colombia


15 Colombia Distinctives


16 What are Key Risk Factors in the Choice to Become a Child Soldier?


17 Lessons Learned from the Girl Soldiers on the Interview Process


19 References




21 I. Affirmation of Informed Consent

for Interviewee


22 II. Ethical Guidelines for Interviewers


23 III. Interviewer Actions and Responsibilities


25 IV. APA Code of Ethics


26 V. Team Leader Actions and Responsibilities


27 VI. Interviewer Training / Dialogue Agenda


29 VII. Role Play


30 VIII. The Voices of Girl Soldiers from Colombia

Topics: Age, Youth, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Gender, Girls Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2003

Making the Clean Available: Escaping India’s Chulha Trap


Smith, Kirk R., and Ambuj D. Sagar. 2014. “Making the Clean Available: Escaping India’s Chulha Trap.” Energy Policy 75: 410–4.

Authors: Kirk R. Smith, Ambuj D. Sagar


Solid cookfuel pollution is the largest energy-related health risk globally and most important cause of ill-health for Indian women and girls. At 700 million cooking with open biomass chulhas, the Indian population exposed has not changed in several decades, in spite of hundreds of programs to make the “available clean”, i.e. to burn biomass cleanly in advanced stoves. While such efforts continue, there is need to open up another front to attack this health hazard. Gas and electric cooking, which are clean at the household, are already the choice for one-third of Indians. Needed is a new agenda to make the “clean available”, i.e., to vigorously extend these clean fuels into populations that are caught in the Chulha Trap. This will require engaging new actors including the power and petroleum ministries as well as the ministry of health, which have not to date been directly engaged in addressing this problem. It will have implications for LPG imports, distribution networks, and electric and gas user technologies, as well as setting new priorities for electrification and biofuels, but at heart needs to be addressed as a health problem, not one of energy access, if it is to be solved effectively.

Keywords: household energy ladder, cooking fuel, household air pollution, energy access, LPG, biomass stoves

Topics: Development, Economies, Environment, Women, Girls, Health, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2014

Liberia’s Women Veterans: War, Roles and Reintegration


Vastapuu, Leena. 2018. Liberia's Women Veterans: War, Roles and Reintegration. London: Zed Books.

Author: Leena Vastapuu


The Liberian civil wars of the 1990s and 2000s were notorious for their atrocities, and for the widespread use of child soldiers by both sides. Young girls accounted for up to forty percent of these combatants, but their unique perspective and experiences have largely been excluded from accounts of the conflict.
In Liberia’s Woman Veterans, Leena Vastapuu uses an innovative “auto-photographic” methodology to tell the story of two of Africa’s most brutal civil wars through the eyes of 133 former female child soldiers. It allows the book to provide a palpable account of these women’s experiences of trauma and stigma. It also illustrates the challenges of reintegration into postwar society, as well as the women’s hopes and aspirations for the future. Vastapuu argues that these women, too often perceived merely as passive victims of the conflict, can in fact play an important role in postwar reconciliation and peace building. In the process, the work overturns gendered perceptions of warfare and militarism, and provides an exceptional take on postconflict societies. (Summary from Zed Books)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Child Soldiers, DDR, Gender, Girls, Health, Trauma, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2018

Health Services for Women, Children and Adolescents in Conflict Affected Settings: Experience from North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo


Altare, Chiara, Espoir Bwenge Malembaka, Maphie Tosha, Christopher Hook, Hamady Ba, Stéphane Muzindusi Bikoro, Thea Scognamiglio, Hannah Tappis, Jerome Pfaffmann, Ghislain Bisimwa Balaluka, Ties Boerma, and Paul Spiegel. 2020. "Health Services for Women, Children and Adolescents in Conflict Affected Settings: Experience from North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo." Conflict and Health 14.

Authors: Chiara Altare, Espoir Bwenge Malembaka, Maphie Tosha, Christopher Hook, Hamady Ba, Stéphane Muzindusi Bikoro, Thea Scognamiglio, Hannah Tappis, Jerome Pfaffmann, Ghislain Bisimwa Balaluka, Ties Boerma, Paul Spiegel


Background: Insecurity has characterized the Eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo for decades. Providing health services to sustain women’s and children’s health during protracted conflict is challenging. This mixed-methods case study aimed to describe how reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent health and nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services have been offered in North and South Kivu since 2000 and how successful they were. 
Methods: We conducted a case study using a desk review of publicly available literature, secondary analysis of survey and health information system data, and primary qualitative interviews. The qualitative component provides insights on factors shaping RMNCAH+N design and implementation. We conducted 49 interviews with government officials, humanitarian agency staff and facility-based healthcare providers, and focus group discussions with community health workers in four health zones (Minova, Walungu, Ruanguba, Mweso). We applied framework analysis to investigate key themes across informants. The quantitative component used secondary data from nationwide surveys and the national health facility information system to estimate coverage of RMNCAH+N interventions at provincial and sub-provincial level. The association between insecurity on service provision was examined with random effects generalized least square models using health facility data from South Kivu. 
Results: Coverage of selected preventive RMNCAH+N interventions seems high in North and South Kivu, often higher than the national level. Health facility data show a small negative association of insecurity and preventive service coverage within provinces. However, health outcomes are poorer in conflict-affected territories than in stable ones. The main challenges to service provisions identified by study respondents are the availability and retention of skilled personnel, the lack of basic materials and equipment as well as the insufficient financial resources to ensure health workers’ regular payment, medicaments’ availability and facilities’ running costs. Insecurity exacerbates pre-existing challenges, but do not seem to represent the main barrier to service provision in North and South Kivu. 
Conclusions: Provision of preventive schedulable RMNCAH+N services has continued during intermittent conflict in North and South Kivu. The prolonged effort by non-governmental organizations and UN agencies to respond to humanitarian needs was likely key in maintaining intervention coverage despite conflict. Health actors and communities appear to have adapted to changing levels and nature of insecurity and developed strategies to ensure preventive services are provided and accessed. However, emergency non-schedulable RMNCAH+N interventions do not appear to be readily accessible. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will require increased access to life-saving interventions, especially for newborn and pregnant women.

Keywords: health services, health system, conflict, population displacement, North Kivu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, maternal, newborn, child, reproductive health

Topics: Age, Youth, Conflict, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Health, Reproductive Health, International Organizations, NGOs, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2020

Delivering Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Interventions to Women and Children in Conflict Settings: A Systematic Review


Als, Daina, Sarah Meteke, Marianne Stefopulos, Michelle F. Gaffey, Mahdis Kamali, Mariella Munyuzangabo, Shailja Shah, Reena P. Jain, Amruta Radhakrishnan, Fahad J. Siddiqui, Anushka Ataullahjan, and Zulfiqar A. Bhutta. 2020. "Delivering Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Interventions to Women and Children in Conflict Settings: A Systematic Review." BMJ Global Health 5 (Suppl 1).

Authors: Daina Als, Sarah Meteke, Marianne Stefopulos, Michelle F. Gaffey, Mahdis Kamali, Mariella Munyuzangabo, Shailja Shah, Reena P. Jain, Amruta Radhakrishnan, Fahad J. Siddiqui, Anushka Ataullahjan, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta


Background: Access to safe water and sanitation facilities and the adoption of effective hygiene practices are fundamental to reducing maternal and child morbidity and mortality globally. In armed conflict settings, inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure poses major health risks for women and children. This review aimed to synthesise the existing information on WASH interventions being delivered to women and children in conflict settings in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) and to identify the personnel, sites and platforms being used to deliver such interventions. 
Methods: We conducted a systematic search for publications indexed in four databases, and grey literature was searched through the websites of humanitarian agencies and organisations. Eligible publications reported WASH interventions delivered to conflict-affected women or children. We extracted and synthesised information on intervention delivery characteristics, as well as barriers and facilitators. 
Results: We identified 58 eligible publications reporting on the delivery of WASH interventions, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)/United Nations (UN) agency staff were reported to be involved in delivering interventions in 62% of publications, with the most commonly reported delivery site being community spaces (50%). Only one publication reported quantitative data on intervention effectiveness among women or children. 
Discussion: This review revealed gaps in the current evidence on WASH intervention delivery in conflict settings. Little information is available on the delivery of water treatment or environmental hygiene interventions, or about the sites and personnel used to deliver WASH interventions. Limited quantitative data on WASH intervention coverage or effectiveness with respect to women or children are important gaps, as multiple factors can affect how WASH services are accessed differently by women and men, and the hygiene needs of adolescent girls and boys differ; these factors must be taken into account when delivering interventions in conflict settings.

Keywords: hygiene, maternal health, public health, treatment, systematic review

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Health, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, International Organizations, NGOs Regions: Africa

Year: 2020

A Systematic Literature Review of Factors Affecting the Timing of Menarche: The Potential for Climate Change to Impact Women’s Health


Canelón, Silvia P., and Mary Regina Boland. 2020. "A Systematic Literature Review of Factors Affecting the Timing of Menarche: The Potential for Climate Change to Impact Women’s Health." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17 (5).

Authors: Silvia P. Canelón, Mary Regina Boland


Menarche is the first occurrence of a woman’s menstruation, an event that symbolizes reproductive capacity and the transition from childhood into womanhood. The global average age for menarche is 12 years and this has been declining in recent years. Many factors that affect the timing menarche in girls could be affected by climate change. A systematic literature review was performed regarding the timing of menarche and four publication databases were interrogated: EMBASE, SCOPUS, PubMed, and Cochrane Reviews. Themes were identified from 112 articles and related to environmental causes of perturbations in menarche (either early or late), disease causes and consequences of perturbations, and social causes and consequences. Research from climatology was incorporated to describe how climate change events, including increased hurricanes, avalanches/mudslides/landslides, and extreme weather events could alter the age of menarche by disrupting food availability or via increased toxin/pollutant release. Overall, our review revealed that these perturbations in the timing of menarche are likely to increase the disease burden for women in four key areas: mental health, fertility-related conditions, cardiovascular disease, and bone health. In summary, the climate does have the potential to impact women’s health through perturbation in the timing of menarche and this, in turn, will affect women’s risk of disease in future.

Keywords: climate change, timing of menarche, women's health

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Girls, Health, Mental Health, Reproductive Health

Year: 2020

Violence against Women and Girls with Disabilities during and after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake: Thematic Analysis of Qualitative Data


Bista, Sapana Basnet, and Shaurabh Sharma. 2019. "Violence against Women and Girls with Disabilities during and after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake: Thematic Analysis of Qualitative Data." Lancet Global Health 7 (S45).

Authors: Sapana Basnet Bista, Shaurabh Sharma


Background: Disasters affect people with disabilities disproportionately. Violence against women and girls, including sexual and psychological violence, has been reported to increase during and after natural disasters. Despite worldwide attention on the devastation caused by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, the risk of violence against women and girls with disabilities and their experiences during the crisis and recovery phases remain under-researched. In this study, we aim to explore the experiences of violence against disabled women and girls immediately after the earthquake and during the post-earthquake recovery period. 
Methods: We undertook a thematic analysis of qualitative data collected through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with women and girls with disabilities from the districts worst affected by the 2015 Nepal earthquake: Kathmandu valley (n=16), Dhading (n=8), Sindhupalchok (n=8), and Gorkha (n=8). These qualitative data were a part of two larger studies; one that explored the experiences of people with disabilities during the 2015 Nepal earthquake and another that studied the effect of post-earthquake mental health and psychosocial support in women with disabilities. All participants for this part of the study were recruited through a snowball sampling technique. 
Findings: We analysed data from interviews with 40 participants conducted between May, 2015, and February, 2018. Five focus group discussions each with eight participants lasted between 1 h and 1·5 h. Semi-structured interviews lasted between 30 mins and 45 mins. By comparison with their pre-earthquake experiences, women and girls with disabilities reported increased psychological, physical, and sexual violence immediately after the earthquake mostly in and around temporary shelters. Physical and psychological violence were reported to be committed by partners, family members, relatives, and sometimes by people who lived in the same community; sexual violence against girls with disabilities were reported to be committed by close relatives, family members, or an opportunist stranger. 
Interpretation: Our findings highlight that being female with a disability, having limited rights and independence, and having limited access to financial resources lead to increased longer-term violence, even during the recovery and reconstruction phase of a natural disaster. We recommend that emergency responders undertake gender and disability sensitisation training to remove barriers and stigma against women and girls with disabilities. Government, national, and international humanitarian agencies should work together with local-level organisations to strengthen gender and disability-inclusive preventative, reporting, and justice mechanisms.

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Health, Mental Health, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2019

Gendered Vulnerabilities in Times of Natural Disasters: Male-to-Female Violence in the Philippines in the Aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan


Nguyen, Huong Thu. 2019. "Gendered Vulnerabilities in Times of Natural Disasters: Male-to-Female Violence in the Philippines in the Aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan." Violence Against Women 25 (4): 421-40.

Author: Huong Thu Nguyen


The precarious situation faced by women and girls in the wake of climate-related disasters is illustrated through fieldwork conducted in Eastern Visayas in the Philippines, one of the regions most affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. However, this article illustrates that these heightened levels of gendered violence faced by women and girls are not a result of the disaster alone; rather, they are rooted in the inequalities inherent in the social construction of gender prior to the catastrophe, which then become sharpened as efforts to survive become more urgent.

Keywords: violence against women and girls, natural disasters, vulnerabilities

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Philippines

Year: 2019

Women in a Climate Changing World. The Need of a Policy Solution for Cross-Border Displacement


del Corral, Beatriz López-Fanjul Díez. 2020. "Women in a Climate Changing World. The Need of a Policy Solution for Cross-Border Displacement." In Climate Change, Hazards and Adaptation Options, edited by Walter Leal Filho, Gustavo J. Nagy, Marco Borga, and Pastor David Chávez Muñoz, 523-43. Cham: Springer, Cham.

Author: Beatriz López-Fanjul Díez del Corral


An international framework that addresses displacement across borders due to sudden events does not exist, and a policy embracing a gender perspective on the topic is lacking. This absence of specific regulations on the matter leaves women in a vulnerable situation. The purpose of this work is to advance knowledge in order to identify international policy conventions and agreements that consider climate change disasters, gender and migration, to provide support for women and girls of developing countries when a sudden disaster strikes their communities, a situation where cross border displacement is the only option. This report strives to clarify the importance of having an equity perspective to create equality between genders in a migration process. This is not equivalent to favor one gender upon the other, but simply stresses the fact that the “starting line” for women and girls is not the same as that for men. It is important to consider this positive discrimination of women as a first step to create gender equality by building empowerment through resilience and coping capacity.

Keywords: displacement, gender, women, sudden disaster, vulnerability assessment, climate change

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Girls, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Governance

Year: 2020

Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy and “Gender Cosmopolitanism”


Rosamond, Annika Bergman. 2020. "Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy and “Gender Cosmopolitanism.” Foreign Policy Analysis 16 (2): 217-35.

Author: Annika Bergman Rosamond


Gender justice and equality have risen to prominence in the constitution of foreign and security policy. This article locates the analysis of feminist foreign policy (FFP) within the wider context of Sweden’s state feminist tradition as well as its pursuit of “gender cosmopolitanism” in global politics. Both “gender cosmopolitanism” and Sweden’s state feminist tradition provided fertile ground for the formal adoption of FFP in 2014. The article employs poststructural discursive techniques that enable the identification of the statist feminist and cosmopolitan foundations of feminist foreign policy. More specifically, the article provides a discursive analysis of the ethical and feminist ambitions, normative contents, and pitfalls of FFP. Though FFP is grounded in other-regarding cosmopolitan care for vulnerable women and girls beyond borders, it exhibits a range of pitfalls and inconsistencies, such as equating gender with women and, at times, privileging results-oriented strategies over thoroughgoing gender analysis of structural injustices such as gendered violence. The article ends with a discussion of Sweden’s attempts to translate the feminist and cosmopolitan contents of FFP commitments into policy practice, with a focus on the eradication of gender-based violence.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Analysis, Gender-Based Violence, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2020


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