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Political Research Exchange

Ethical and Methodological Issues: Research and Training with Survivors of Conflict and Post-Conflict Sexual Violence and Torture in Africa

Africa
 
Conflict
 
Development
 
Methods
 
Presenter
Helen Liebling
Coventry University
Authors
Helen Liebling
Coventry University

Abstract
This presentation highlights key ethical and methodological issues arising during applied research and training carried out with women, men and child survivors of conflict and post-conflict sexual violence and torture in Luwero, northern Uganda, Liberia, and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. All of the qualitative research projects also addressed the health and justice needs of survivors and the services provided. In 2001, through an ESRC-funded research project, 99 interviews were carried out in Luwero District with women and men survivors of conflict and key informants; whilst in Liberia EU-funded training was carried out with multi-disciplinary professionals to support survivors of conflict together with Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange, Kampala, in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender and Development in Harper. Following this a health intervention was organised, and the impact of the training and treatment for war survivors was evaluated. British Academy-funded research examined the governance of sexual violence in Kitgum and Orom, northern Uganda through interviews with 200 young men and women former abductees and key informants. Further British Academy/Leverhulme-funded research carried out in August 2011 examined women’s and girls’ experiences of bearing children from rape and the health and justice service responses for survivors in Goma, eastern DRC. The researchers’ listened to over 110 people in individual interviews and focus groups carried out in Goma town and Bweremana, a rural area. The current presentation brings together the main ethical and methodological issues arising from these applied research and consultancy activities and outlines strategies for dealing with these. The author also provides an ethical framework and strategy for carrying out applied research with survivors of sexual violence and torture and service providers in conflict and post-conflict settings.
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