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  • 1.
    Bråberg, Johanna
    Växjö University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Social Sciences.
    Reintegration of Female Child Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo: a Journey from a Deprived Childhood2016Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Abstract 

    The severe situation of female child soldiers worldwide continues, and the harsh reality they stand in front of once returning back to their communities is often concealed. By the time former female child soldiers begin their journey back to civilian life and a life of dignity, they face various difficulties. Females are often exposed to marginalisation, stigmatisation, discrimination and isolation, and their livelihood and safety tend to be jeopardised. Females are often disregarded and are desperately fighting a battle to become accepted and to receive needed assistance. Since gender roles and gender identities vary around the world and between regions, communities tend to treat females and males very differently. Expectations of females vary depending on structures in communities and therefore communities tend to treat females in a certain way. This study seeks to explore national reintegration strategies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and how the gap between these strategies and traditional cultural and social expectations of females affect reintegration processes in the country. The complex situation of female child soldiers in the DRC in terms of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), with particular focus on reintegration is addressed in this thesis.

    The objective of this study is to analyse to what extent national reintegration strategies in the DRC are adapted to meet the needs of females and their home community. The findings indicate that the national program of DDR in the DRC, the PNDDR, is not aligned with existing cultural and social expectations of females, which have major consequences in reintegration processes. The findings demonstrate that there are many systems which are vital and have to be considered for reintegration to be effective. These systems have to be considered by the PNDDR on a broader level since there are shortcomings in these systems. It is significant to have knowledge about females to be able to streamline DDR processes and once designing programs of DDR. If reintegration of females is unsuccessful, this has negative effects for peace. This study draws on qualitative approaches and a desk study is performed. A created analytical framework taking surrounding environments, child development and social and cultural components into account is used.

    Keywords: DDR, DRC, Females, Reintegration, Traditional Social Expectations, Traditional Cultural Expectations

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