Category Archives: Moving away from childhood as icon: an ethical and operational requirement

Children as agents in crises: re-assessing adult-child power dynamics in humanitarian action

S. L. Stoffel

K. Kreyscher

Sofie Lilli Stoffel • Research associate at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin (Germany)

Kirstin Kreyscher • PhD candidate at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University (Australia)

The humanitarian sector is not spared from the adultcentrism governing our societies. Taking this notion and its practical implications as a starting point, the two authors deconstruct this doxa and explore what might be achieved if children’s voices and expertise were taken into account. Continue reading

Management of the suffering child: a medical and operational challenge

E. Rahmouni

O. Guillard

Elba Rahmouni and Olivier Guillard • Médecins Sans Frontières

This article presents a troubling example of the effects of adultcentrism. While the treatment of pain in adults and children in rich countries has made remarkable progress, its application to children in fragile countries is severely lagging. It is a credit to the authors’ that they raise this issue in light of their NGO’s work. But it is a concern that should be of interest to many others in the sector. Continue reading

The resilient child: an alternative approach to suffering child icons

S. Nakueira

Sophie Nakueira • Senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Germany)

Can the image of the resilient child permanently counterbalance that of the suffering child? This is the hope the author shares with us, based on her fieldwork in Uganda. To support her argument, she refers to the experiences of NGOs and international organisations that have not only changed their image policy but also enabled children to emerge from their situation as victims. Continue reading

Critical perspectives on child protection in the Democratic Republic of Congo

C. Maubert

Camille Maubert • PhD candidate in international development at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland)

In light of a violence prevention programme for children and young people, the author challenges the traditional notions of victimhood and vulnerability. Agentivity and capacity for initiative are valued in order to remove children from categories that can, ironically, turn them into “bad victims”. Continue reading

Advancing the participatory rights of Haitian children and youth in the context of migration

D. Ciufo

Dustin Ciufo • Assistant Professor, Trent University Durham (Canada)

Young Haitians who wish to leave their environment to go to Port-au-Prince or further afield should be supported in their endeavour and helped in their choice. Reversing the “protective” and “incapacitating” perspective, the author argues for humanitarian actors taking into consideration the voices and aspirations of young people. Continue reading