Youth livelihoods and the local conflict in North Kivu : a case study in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Pankakoski, Iiro (2018)
Master's Programme in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research
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North Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has long been a hotbed of ethnic tensions, conflicts over minerals, as well as struggles over land and power. Multiple humanitarian and development actors, including Finn Church Aid who exited in March 2016, have been active in the region, due to it constituting a protracted humanitarian challenge, with forced displacement, violence and other human rights abuses taking place regularly. This thesis identifies the relations between youth livelihoods and the local conflict in North Kivu based on project narrative reports and staff interviews from Finn Church Aid. It uses Grounded Theory methodology to code the data, and scientific literature on youth, livelihoods and conflict to place the data into context, and to assist locating and conceptualising the relations between youth livelihoods and the local conflict. The conclusion is that the relations are complex. Youth under-employment is related to the local level conflict through various social processes with the involvement of other factors. Conflict generally is destructive to livelihoods, and it creates and exacerbates vulnerability through various ways, such as displacement or trauma. Livelihood development can be used to mitigate and address conflict drivers, although at worst it can also drive conflict itself, which means that interventions must be conflict-sensitive. In general, the thesis demonstrates the complexity of the relations as well as highlights how challenging it is to successfully design and implement development interventions in fragile contexts.