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Before my time? Addressing the intergenerational legacies of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda


1 PhD: Senior Researcher at Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR), The Netherlands
2 PhD: Senior Researcher at Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR); Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit (VU), The Netherlands
3 PhD: Researcher at Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4 PhD: Emeritus Professor at Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
Veroni Eichelsheim,
PhD: Senior Researcher at Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, Amsterdam
The Netherlands
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1571-8883.239711

This study aims to (i) understand how the legacies of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and its aftermath are transmitted to the next generation within Rwandan families and (ii) explore how institutional support plays a role in the pathways of intergenerational transmission. Through an in-depth analysis of qualitative interviews with 41 mothers and one of their adolescent children, we identified direct and indirect pathways through which the legacies of the genocide are transmitted to the second generation. Direct pathways concern the ways in which the genocide and its aftermath are reflected upon, reconstructed and explicitly communicated or silenced to the second generation. Indirect pathways are ways in which the genocide and its aftermath affect the life circumstances of the children, and through that, the child. Many of the included households had access to at least some kind of support. In general, our results indicate that organisations providing support to families and individuals in post-conflict settings might want to consider focusing explicitly on the identified pathways of intergenerational transmission to improve the living conditions of the next generation(s).
Key Implications For Practice
  • Development organisations that provide support to families in post-conflict settings could specifically address parenting, family relations and family communication and interactions to help participants secure a safe environment for the next generations to grow up in
  • Development organisations in post-conflict settings could specifically facilitate and encourage the interactions of participants with the broader social environment and the community to stimulate cooperation and social support
  • Stimulating the development of economic cooperation among the participants of support programs in post-conflict settings as well as within their communities may be helpful in reducing intergenerational poverty.


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    -  Eichelsheim V
    -  Berckmoes L
    -  Hola B
    -  Rutayisire T
    -  Richters A
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