Being young in times of duress. A research collaboration between the ASCL and UNICEF in the Central African Republic

The ASCL receives funding from the Nationale Postcode Loterij (NPL) through UNICEF Netherlands for a research project in the Central African Republic (CAR). The major part of the NPL funding goes to UNICEF for the provision of care and training to children recently liberated by the various armed groups in the CAR. Furthermore, the ASCL will carry out independent research on the outcomes of previous reintegration programmes for children formerly associated with armed groups. Such in-depth research with youth is vital in order to understand the long-term effects of aid and the sustainability of humanitarian programmes in volatile countries.

Over the last decades, the CAR has been plagued by violent mutinies, coups and the political instrumentalization of armed militias; it has a long history of recurring conflict. What are the prospects for children and youth in general in a country where duress is a dominant experience? And what about those, now grown-up, children who have previously been part of armed groups? The ASCL will carry out a cohort study investigating the impact of (UNICEF) reintegration programmes in CAR and the more general situation of youth in times of duress in the Central African Republic.

The programme is carried out by researchers from the Connecting in Times of Duress (CTD) team, notably Professor Mirjam de Bruijn, Jonna Both and Catherina Wilson in close collaboration with researchers and students from the department of Anthropology at the University of Bangui. The aim is to strengthen the capacity of local researchers and disseminate findings amongst a large variety of stakeholders in CAR and abroad.

In order to communicate results and give research participants a voice, we work in close collaboration with UNICEF Netherlands and Voice4Thought.

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(Photo credit: UNICEF Netherlands)