Engendering DDR : A case study for the Democratic Republic of Congo

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This study analyses the situation of female ex-combatants and women associated with the fighting forces (WAFF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In particular, this study seeks to describe the role of different actors directly involved in the DDR programme and the role of Dutch nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on gender mainstreaming in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme in the DRC and what efforts these actors and NGOs should make to better address the needs and concerns of female ex-combatants and women associated with the fighting forces. Furthermore, it tries to explain the importance of a gender perspective on DDR by means of lessons learned from this particular case study. This study combines literature review on gender, gender and conflict, and women in DDR programmes with secondary data and in-depth interviews with three Dutch NGOs; Cordaid, ICCO and Oxfam Novib. Although the fighting forces in the conflict in the DRC consisted of around twenty percent women, little attention has been paid to this group during the National DDR programme (PN-DDR). Due to a lack of funding, exclusive eligibility criteria, coordination problems, political constraints, complex reintegration, a gender perspective was hardly integrated and only around 3,5 percent of the former female fighters and WAFF were included in the DDR programme. The DDR programme in the DRC was not adapted to the needs and interests of female ex-combatants and WAFF. Especially their security, health and social needs were not taken into account.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen