The article "Building meaningful participation in reintegration among war-effected young mothers" is written by Susan McKay, Angela Veale, Miranda Worthen & Michael Wessells.
When young mothers, formerly associated with armed groups, return to communities, they are typically social isolated, stigmatized, and marginalized. This creates reintegration challenges for themselves, and their communities. Their children face child protection problems such as neglect, rejection and abuse. In this paper, the authors describe an innovative field practice - community based, participatory action research (PAR)- that meaningfully involved formerly associated young mothers, and other vulnerable young mothers, in their communities.
The project took place in 20 field sites in three countries: Liberia, northern Uganda and Sierra Leone. It was implemented through an academic, nongovernmental organization (NGO) partnership. The participants were 658 young mothers, both formerly associated with armed groups and other mothers seen to be vulnerable. Within the context of caring psychosocial support, these young mothers organized themselves into groups, defined their problems, and developed social actions to address and change their situations. Some project outcomes included: young mothers and their children experiencing improved social reintegration evidenced by greater family and community acceptance; more positive coping skills; and decreased participation in sex work for economic survival.
The full article is published in issue 9.2 of ‘Intervention, the international journal of mental health, psychosocial work and counseling in areas of armed conflict’. The journal is a publication of the War Trauma Foundation, and financially supported by HealthNet TPO. Editor in Chief is Peter Ventevogel, psychiatrist and technical advisor with HealthNet TPO.