Children Born of War

Through the research and collaborations over the past four years, the topic of children born of war emerged as a significant concern since it remains understudied. In Rwanda, SEVOTA works with genocide survivors and their children who are now twenty. Based on initial work with survivors of conjugal slavery before, during and after the genocide, it became clear that further research was necessary into parent child dynamics, questions of identity, vulnerability to violence, mental health, and appropriate services for children and youth. In Uganda, ‘children born of war’ has also emerged as a pressing issue. There, mothers are concerned about integration of their children into the paternal clan, access to land, name, and resources. In Sierra Leone, our research revealed that survivors of wartime violence are often ill-equipped to provide education and care for their children. Indeed, some stereotypes exist about children, boys in particular, with “rebel blood”. Thus, building on work of SEVOTA and the new Women’s Advocacy Network in northern Uganda as well as partners in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Mali, South Sudan and DRC, this Partnership will contribute to knowledge about the needs and perspectives of children born of war in each of the countries in the study. This theme will also take a critical masculinities perspective since the ideas about children’s behaviour and bonding are gendered.