Child soldiers have long been part of the iconography of armed conflicts in Africa. Nevertheless, scientific research into the phenomenon is still in its infancy. In a project funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, Prof. Dr. Roos van der Haer, a political scientist at Leiden University, researches the impact of acts of war on the socialization of children. In relation to this, she interviews both former child soldiers and adolescents with personal and physical experience of armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. What she is most interested in finding out is why children become soldiers and what they experience or suffer within this context. In this episode Roos van der Haer reports on how she maintains a scientist’s distance in the face of all the horror, and the situation regarding her own safety during her field research.
Prof Dr Roos van der Haer
Series created by
Gisela Graichen and Peter Prestel