Conflict and its Impact on Civilians

Today, large and long-term crises dominate humanitarian funding and activity and have a major impact on civilians—those who flee and those who stay. 

We engage in research involving conflict analysis, stabilization, transition, conflict mitigation, protection, and peacebuilding. We aim to improve policies and interventions that support stabilization and transitions from war to peace, working closely with survivors and at-risk populations.

This work focuses on the Horn of Africa, East Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. We plan to expand this work into West Africa.

The Currency of Connections: Why Do Social Connections Matter for Household Resilience in South Sudan?

This study looked at how social connections during times of crisis enable populations to manage shocks and stresses in South Sudan.

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Localization across contexts: Lessons learned from four case studies

This brief highlights similarities and differences between two studies on localization of humanitarian action and identifies lessons learned that may reach beyond specific emergencies in Indonesia and the Horn of Africa.

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Household Resilience During Conflict: Qualitative Comparative Analysis for the Case of Syria
By Kimberly Howe, Tyson Patros | June 2020

This paper contributes to the dialogue on methodological options by exploring the utility of applying Qualitative Comparative Analysis using fuzzy sets (fsQCA) for understanding complex causality and the conditions that support resilience in humanitarian contexts.

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Currency of Connections: The role of social connectedness among South Sudanese refugees in West Nile, Uganda
Currency of Connections Report Thumbnail
By Elizabeth Stites, Alex Humphrey | January 2020

This briefing paper examines how South Sudanese refugees in settlements in West Nile, Uganda establish and leverage their social connectedness throughout the process of displacement and settlement.

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Recovery in Northern Uganda: Findings from a panel study in Acholi and Lango sub-regions
recovery in northern Uganda

This report describes household recovery in northern Uganda from the 20 years of conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GoU) by following the same…

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The Currency of Connections: The impact of weddings and rituals on social connections in Bentiu, South Sudan
Weddings and Rituals

This briefing paper examines changes to wedding rituals and the nature of marriages in the Bentiu Protection of Civilians site and adjacent areas of Rubkona and Bentiu towns.

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The Currency of Connections: The establishment and reconfiguration of informal livelihood groups in Bentiu, South Sudan

This briefing paper explores the establishment and reconfiguration of informal livelihood groups and associations as a form of socioeconomic connectedness in Bentiu, South Sudan.

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The Currency of Connections: The evolution of pre-displacement connections in Bentiu, South Sudan
Currency of Connections Cover

This briefing paper examines changes in social connectedness in the Bentiu Protection of Civilians site and surrounding town.

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Schools out: Why northern Uganda’s girls and boys are not getting an education and what to do about it
education dropout in Uganda

This working paper presents findings from research examining the sharp decrease in girls and boys school attendance that was witnessed between 2013–2018 in northern Uganda.

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The state of the war-wounded in northern Uganda

This large-scale study from northern Uganda investigates how experiences of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity relate to victims’ disability and how these experiences affect food security, wealth and access to basic services, including their access to basic and therapeutic healthcare over time.

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The Currency of Connections: Why local support systems are integral to helping people recover in South Sudan
support systems

This paper provides aid actors insights into localized social protection and support systems in South Sudan and the ways in which humanitarian aid, including cash transfer programming, can both complement…

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The Effect of the Lord’s Resistance Army’s Violence on Victims from Northern Uganda in Prosecutor V. Dominic Ongwen

This is an independent, in-depth assessment of the victims’ experiences before, during, and after the attacks at three internally displaced camps in northern Uganda. These attacks are at the heart of the International Criminal Court case against Dominic Ongwen, a former commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army. In May 2018, the report was submitted as evidence, presented, and defended before the ICC.

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Conflict and Resilience: A Synthesis of Feinstein International Center Work on Building Resilience and Protecting Livelihoods in Conflict-Related Crises
conflict and resilience synthesis

Resilience is defined as the ability of people to mitigate, weather, and “bounce back” from shocks or adversity. This definition is framed in terms of understanding capacities and risk—often particularly…

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Tracking change in livelihoods, service delivery, and governance: evidence from a 2013-2015 panel survey in Uganda
livelihood recovery in Uganda

This report presents a series of challenges to conventional thinking around livelihood recovery for war-affected populations.

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STOP the Sexual Assault Against Humanitarian and Development Aid Workers
Sexual Assault Against Aid Workers

This report contributes to understanding, preventing, and responding to sexual assault against aid workers. It presents findings on: who the survivors of sexual harassment and assault are who the perpetrators…

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Executive Summary: STOP the Sexual Assault Against Humanitarian and Development Aid Workers
Sexual Assault Against Aid Workers

This is the Executive Summary of the report: STOP the Sexual Assault Against Humanitarian and Development Aid Workers. The report contributes to understanding, preventing, and responding to sexual harassment and…

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Briefing Paper: Sexual Assault Against Humanitarian and Development Aid Workers
sexual assault against aid workers
By Dyan Mazurana, Phoebe Donnelly | February 2017

This briefing paper summarizes the findings from a review of scholarly and grey literature, as well as interviews, on the topic of sexual assault against aid workers. The overall study goal is…

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Change the context not the girls: Improving efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone
reduce teenage pregnancy

In 2013 Sierra Leone ranked among the ten nations with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world. If the Government of Sierra Leone’s renewed National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy is to succeed, a more contextually tailored approach is needed. This report makes five recommendations.

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The impact of mental health and psychosocial support programs for populations affected by humanitarian emergencies: A systematic review protocol
mental health support

This protocol details the methodology for an evidence synthesis on psychosocial and mental health support in humanitarian crises. The evidence synthesis asks “What are the effects of mental health and…

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Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy: Implications for Humanitarian Response
Sweden's feminist foreign policy
By Dyan Mazurana, Daniel Maxwell | January 2016

This policy brief presents the implications of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy for the people they strive to assist, Sweden’s own humanitarian policy and operations, and more broadly the whole humanitarian…

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The Return to Violence in South Sudan
violence in South Sudan
By Daniel Maxwell, Phoebe Donnelly | August 2015

South Sudan became the world’s newest country in July 2011, but internal political struggles resulted in renewed violent conflict in December 2013, affecting nearly half the country’s population and displacing some…

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Inhumanity and Humanitarian Action
humanitarian action
By Norah Niland | September 2014

The divisive and discriminatory policies that have disfigured Sri Lankan society and its political culture for much of its contemporary history did not disappear when the Tamil Tigers and civilians,…

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Engaging Male Youth in Karamoja, Uganda An examination of the factors driving the perpetration of violence and crime by young men in Karamoja and the applicability of a communications and relationships program to address related behavior

This report presents new data on insecurity and changing livelihoods from the perspective of male youth in southern Karamoja, Uganda, and includes an evaluation of a pilot communication and relationship…

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Briefing Paper: Making Gender-Just Remedy and Reparations Possible Upholding the Rights of Women and Girls in Uganda's Greater North
gender-just reparations

Victims of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law have a clearly established right to remedy and reparation. This right must be recognized without discrimination of…

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Making Gender-Just Remedy and Reparation Possible Upholding the Rights of Women and Girls in the Greater North of Uganda

Victims of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law have a clearly established right to remedy and reparation. This right must be recognized without discrimination of…

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Modern Challenges to Traditional Justice The Struggle to Deliver Remedy and Reparation in War-Affected Lango
By Teddy Atim, Keith Proctor | June 2013

This report is part of a series by Feinstein International Center that examines the impact of armed conflict on civilian populations in northern Uganda and struggles for redress and remedy.

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They Were Just Thrown Away, and Now the World is Spoiled Mass Killing and Cultural Rites in Barlonyo
By Keith Proctor | March 2013

In the aftermath of violence, proper treatment of the dead provides a vital consolation for survivors and their communities.

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Understanding Breast “Ironing” A Study of the Methods, Motivations, and Outcomes of Breast Flattening Practices in Cameroon
By Rebecca Tapscott | May 2012

Breast “ironing” or “flattening” is a practice that impacts 1:4 Cameroonian girls and women, in which a heated object such as a grinding stone or pestle is used to massage…

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Livelihoods, Basic Services and Social Protection in Northern Uganda and Karamoja

This paper synthesizes current evidence on how people are recovering their livelihoods and accessing basic services and social protection interventions in the conflict-affected regions of Uganda’s Greater North.

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The Dust Has Not Yet Settled: Victims’ Views on The Right to Remedy and Reparation A Report from the Greater North of Uganda
By Dyan Mazurana | March 2012

This report outlines the views and priorities of victims of serious violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law which resulted from the conflict between the Government of Uganda and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army,

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Towards a “Great Transformation”? The Maoist Insurgency and Local Perceptions of Social Transformation in Nepal

This report presents the findings of a two-year field research project on local perceptions of social transformation in rural Nepal. The findings, and our interpretations of them, are presented in…

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Assessing Uganda’s cross-border pursuit of the Lord’s Resistance Army
| February 2009

Since 2002 the Ugandan army – the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) – has been operating inside South Sudan in pursuit of rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Joint…

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Forced Marriage within the Lord’s Resistance Army, Uganda

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)—a rebel movement fighting the government of Uganda—is estimated to have kidnapped over 60,000 Ugandan children and youth. Those abducted include one in three male adolescents…

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The State of Female Youth in Northern Uganda Findings from the Survey of War-Affected Youth

Youth are simultaneously the primary victims and the primary actors in the two-decade long war in northern Uganda. While we know that youth have suffered (and continue to do so),…

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Beyond men pikin: improving understanding of post-conflict child fostering in Sierra Leone
By Lacey Andrews Gale | April 2008

There is growing agreement that separated children are best cared for in community settings, rather than in institutions. However, even in a community setting, there is a need for standards…

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Movement on the Margins Livelihoods and Security in Kitgum District, Northern Uganda

The protracted conflict in northern Uganda has created profound insecurity, brought the widespread loss of agrarian livelihoods, and pushed nearly two million people into internal displacement camps. With the current…

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Review of WFP Food Assistance Programming Practices in Southern Sudan

The World Food Programme has been providing humanitarian food assistance to vulnerable communities and groups in Southern Sudan for over twenty years, but circumstances have changed following the signing of…

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In Search of Security A Regional Analysis of Armed Conflict in Northern Uganda, Eastern Uganda, and Southern Sudan
By Dyan Mazurana | November 2005

The war and humanitarian crises engulfing northern Uganda are intricately linked with the armed conflict and unrest in eastern Uganda and southern Sudan. As a result of the links between…

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Gender, Sex, Age, and Disability in Humanitarian Response

This page brings together multiple projects related to gender, sex, and age in humanitarian response.

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Social Connectedness, Livelihoods, and Resilience in Complex Emergencies

In this partnership with Mercy Corps, the Feinstein International Center team investigates the nature of social networks and social connectedness, and explores how humanitarian assistance can strengthen these as a key aspect of resilience, recovery and relief interventions in complex humanitarian emergencies.

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Justice and Accountability in Northern Uganda

This project seeks to provide timely, precise, and insightful documentary evidence and analysis, drawing on our investigation into how victims and survivors view and experience these justice mechanisms. We aim to inform the processes as well as policies and responses that emerge as the processes unfold.

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Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium Generating stronger evidence on conflict situations

The Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium aims to generate a stronger evidence base on how people in conflict-affected situations make a living, access basic services like health care, education and water, and perceive and engage with governance at local and national levels.

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Sexual Assault and Humanitarian Workers Project

This study examines the issue of sexual assault against humanitarian and development aid workers.

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The Humanitarian Evidence Program

The Humanitarian Evidence Program produces a series of evidence syntheses to distill humanitarian evidence and communicate it to key stakeholders in order to enable better decision-making and improve humanitarian policy and practice.

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Customary Law, Livelihoods Change, and Conflict Mitigation in the Karamoja Cluster The Case of Uganda

Under a two-year research project with funding from Irish Aid/Kampala, FIC researchers are studying how groups are using customary mechanisms to respond to the changing social, political and economic environment in Karamoja.

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Crisis and Social Transformation in Nepal

How does the work of aid agencies during and after conflict affect people’s perceptions of change? What can we learn from recent experience? Our work in Nepal has uncovered a number of interesting issues around the humanitarian-development relationship and the challenges of social transformation in a (hopefully) post-conflict environment that we feel are important to research both because they are largely unexplored and because of their potential policy implications.

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Our academic courses at Tufts and other institutions are a key part of our research and our mission. Our faculty teach the following courses at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy:

  • Conflict Resolution Theory at Fletcher (DHP D223), taught by Kimberly Howe
  • Gender and Human Security in Transitional States and Societies (DHP D231), Spring Term, taught by Dyan Mazurana and Elizabeth Stites.

Go to Humanitarian Education Courses at Tufts on our Education page for more related courses.