March 6, 2014
Plan “Caught in the Crossfire: Conflict”
• Looks at the effects of violent conflict on the health, education, and wellbeing of girls
when the attention of the world is focused on war and not those affected. Also examines
some of the new possibilities that are created for girls out of chaos, such as forcing girls
into unfamiliar and non-traditional gender roles.
o A third of all child soldiers are girls and this number is increasing.
• Girls remain invisible during violent conflict, either ignored in humanitarian responses or
treated as simple victims of sexual and other types of violence. A lack of focus increases
vulnerability to violence and reduces their access to the services/support they need.
o Why are girls vulnerable?
Power imbalance before girls and boys prior to conflict is exacerbated
—‘enemy girls’ raped, captured, enslaved in conflict. Young women have
also participated in conflicts as soldiers, camp supporters, cooks,
messengers, medical assistants, and sex workers.
• Or, by taking over men’s jobs while men are off to war.
Nature of war has changed dramatically in the last two decades;
• Violent conflicts are lasting longer with varying levels of overt
violence and little certainty of lasting peace.
o Greater poverty and vulnerability and increasing people
• Sexual violence and rape has become a deliberate tactic to
destroy another’s culture and change its future population.
o Ie. In Sudan, girls targeted in inter-ethnic conflicts to
humiliate a group.
• What do young people want?
o Education and health services
If a girl has not been to school before the conflict, she is more likely to
see it as a priority once the fighting stops and she needs to build her own
Comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare.
• Education the key to success; o Girls are particularly vulnerable to abuse and unequal access to schooling in
fragile states. States can be fragile for a range of reasons, including conflict and
lack of resources.
Failure to deliver core functions of government; security, managing the
economy, and delivering basic services.
• In Somalia, only 11% of primary school-aged children have
access to formal education. Most Somali schools concentrated in
urban areas and exclude rural children, specifically nomadic
o Conflict may also have some positive impacts on girls;
First chance to attend school for some girls, such as those in refugee
situations where schooling is supported by the UN High Commission of
Education often prioritised by conflict-affected populations as a future-
oriented activity that will help individuals.
Children keen to attend schools to apply their minds on something other
than the conflict and girls can play and socialise with siblings (previously
unable to due to security concerns and household responsibility).
• Why do girls miss out on education? Demand and Supply factors
Pre-mature drop out likely to occur because
parents fear their child’s safety both in school and
the journey to and from school. Early marriage may
be adopted as a strategy to protect daughters, but
one that results in premature school drop-out.
There may not be a school to go to; may be
destroyed by fighting. Ie. 80% of schools in Libya
prior to 1989 destroyed during the civil war.
Schools may be damaged, not maintained, or
without sanitary facilities and girls may miss school
Boys also might miss out as they may be forced to
recruit by fighting forces.
School may also reinforce ethnic, religi