Children in armed conflict and prolonged displacement
Researcher(s): Dawn Chatty
Collaborator(s): Jo Boyden, Gina Crivello, Randa Farah and Jason Hart
Donors: Andrew Mellon (1999–2005), Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) (2000), and the Arumagam Trust (2005–2009)
This participatory programme of research, involving local researchers and international researchers as well as local practitioners and practitioners from the major IGOs and NGOs in the region (UNICEF, UNRWA and Save the Children Fund), commenced in 1999 with a three-year project specifically addressing children and adolescents in situations of prolonged conflict and forced migration in the Middle East region – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine (West Bank and Gaza).
It examined what happened in children’s and adolescents’ lives when they and the households they belong to are uprooted and forced to move. It examined child and adolescent lives in the context of the family group, the community and the wider social, economic and political area. It looked into the ways in which children and adolescents within households are changed by past and current episodes of forced migration. These include:
- Alterations to individual rites of passage from childhood to adult status
- Transformations of family organisation and structure
- Changes in informal and formal education and access to labour markets
- Transformations in community cohesion and social institutions such as marriage, employment and care of the elderly
In 2002 this programme commenced a second three-year study of Sahrawi refugee youth in Algeria and Spain as well as Afghan refugee youth in Iran.
This large-scale multidisciplinary ten-year programme aimed to integrate research with a practical agenda to improve delivery, policy and programmes, including through the training of practitioners providing services to children and youth in situations of armed conflict and protracted forced migration.
Activities and impacts
The project produced transferable lessons learned and good practice guides for those working with refugee children and adolescents not only in the Middle East but in other regions of the world. In the long-term this led to improved policy and programming delivery.
This work has been presented and discussed at various events engaging academic, practitioner and policy representatives:
- Presented at a consultation on ‘Children and Armed Conflict: Research methods and ethics’, organised by the Office for the Special United Nations Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Italy, 2001
- Topic of a panel discussion on ‘Palestinian Children in the Middle East: Coping with the Effects of Forced Migration and Prolonged Conflict’ at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, 2011
- Promoted through a workshop on children and armed conflict at the Innocenti Centre, UNICEF Florence, Italy
- Presented at a workshop for policymakers and practitioners with UNICEF New York and the Migration Policy Institute, Washington, D.C., US (2002), Spain (2003), Iran (2003), Syria (2004), Cyprus (2005)
- Represented on a panel on ‘Agency of Youth’ at an UNRWA donors meeting, Jordan, 2009, and at a regional UNICEF meeting to discuss ‘Agency of Youth’ in 2010
- ‘Protection of Palestinian Children’, RSC Policy Briefing, was presented at events in London and Jerusalem involving key policymakers and practioners; the briefing reportedly influenced the way some actors operated in the oPt.
Chatty, D. (ed.) (2010), ‘Deterritorialized Youth: Afghan and Sahrawi Refugee Young People at the Margins of the Middle East’, Oxford and New York: Berghahn Press
Hart, J. and Lo Forte, C. (2010), ‘Protecting Palestinian children from political violence: The role of the international community’ Forced Migration Policy Briefing 5, Refugee Studies Centre. Download the paper (347KB PDF)
Chatty, D. (2009), ‘Palestinian Refugee Youth: Resilience, Coping and Aspirations’ in Refugee Studies Quarterly No. 28
Hart, J. (ed.) (2010) ‘Years of Conflict: Adolescence, Political Violence and Displacement’, Oxford and New York: Berghahn Press
Chatty, D. (2007), ‘Researching Refugee Youth in the Middle East: Reflections on the Importance of Comparative Research’, Journal of Refugee Studies Volume 19(2)
Chatty, D. and Lewando Hundt, G. (eds.) (2005) ‘Children of Palestine: Experiencing Forced Migration in the Middle East’, Oxford and New York: Berghahn Press
Crivello, G., Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Chatty, D. (2005) ‘The Transnationalisation of Care: Sahrawi Refugee Children in a Spanish Host Programme’, Lessons Learned Report, Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. View at Forced Migration Online
Chatty, D. and Crivello, G. (2005) ‘Children and Adolescents in Sahrawi and Afghan Refugee Households: Living with the Effects of Prolonged Armed Conflict and Forced Migration’, Lessons Learned Report, Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. View at Forced Migration Online
Chatty, D. (2002) ‘Disseminating findings from research with Palestinian children and adolescents’, Forced Migration Review 15. Download the issue from Forced Migration Review (1.30MB PDF)
Chatty, D. and Lewando Hundt, G. (2001) ‘Children and Adolescents in Palestinian Households in the Middle East: Living with Prolonged Conflict and Forced Migration’, Lesson Learned Report, Oxford and Beirut: Refugee Studies Centre and Action for the Rights of Children (ARC). View at Forced Migration Online