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Child Soldiers: Why have children been recruited into armed groups in 19th-21st Century Africa?

Child Soldiers: Why have children been recruited into armed groups in 19th-21st Century Africa?

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant - £4,680

Dr Stacey Hynd 

University of Exeter

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

Dr Hynd was awarded a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant to investigate historical patterns of child soldiering in Africa from c.1890-2012, showing that child soldiers are not simply products of contemporary profit-seeking ‘new wars’. She investigated how global and local understandings of childhood have shaped African children’s uses in war, and evolving international humanitarian responses to their recruitment.

Outcomes

Dr Hynd’s grant enabled archival research across the UK and at the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross’ in Geneva, allowing her to demonstrate that child soldiering has a long history in Africa, linked to total warfare, structural inequality, and child and youth agency. It is not simply a symptom of contemporary ‘new wars’ as many interventions have assumed. Globalized ideals of child rights and new humanitarianisms however have prompted increased international awareness and response to child soldiers; responses whose effectiveness has been limited by misconceptions of African childhoods.

Her research on child soldiering, forced marriage in armed groups and humanitarian responses has been presented at conferences across Europe and the US.

 

 

 

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