Security Sector Reform, Gender and Local Narratives in Burundi

This paper maps the difficulties with operationalising the gender discourse described in the peace accord and post-conflict documents, which guide Burundi’s peace-building process, through local women’s narratives from the security forces. The author claims that due to limited international and local investment, the local women involved in the security forces initiate small practical changes by referring to their vision of femininity, while theoretically legitimising these demands by linking them to the international human rights discourse in order to survive in an overwhelmingly masculine arena. International organisations and donors’ focus on traditionally feminine and softer areas, such as reconciliation and reintegration programmes, together with local elites’ tendency to view gender as an ‘add-on’ contribute to this development. 

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