Sylvie Bodineau

Drawing on field research in Congo, Sylvie Bodineau is looking at how the international consensus on children’s rights relates to the experience of child soldiers.

Sylvie Bodineau has been working on youth protection with United Nations agencies and international child protection organizations since 1990. In 2009, she decided to return to university to conceptualize her profession from a new point of view. After her long and diverse field experience, she is exploring the various spheres of humanitarian intervention from an anthropological point of view. She is currently a doctoral student at Laval University in the City of Québec, Canada and a research associate with the Urban Change Observatory at the University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her professional experience includes managing programs for children and teens in France, Guatemala and Madagascar.

For 15 years, she has been providing various forms of technical expertise to leading child protection agencies. She has been involved in efforts ranging from development support to emergency response (such as aid for children affected by conflicts or natural disasters, victims of exploitation, street children, children accused of witchcraft). She has also made cross-cutting contributions to the theory and practice of child protection systems and training programs for social workers and other actors (including security forces).

Sylvie Bodineau is an anthropological researcher specializing in human rights who has been a humanitarian child protection worker for over 25 years.

Her professional experience with various UN agencies and international NGOs has given her the opportunity to work with children and families, civil society groups and government authorities in crisis situations and development projects. As a program manager and as a consultant, she has guided numerous projects from inception onward, including one in West Africa, launched in 2000, to train the military on how to protect children during conflicts and one to teach security forces to combat child trafficking; in Syria, in 2007-2008, to evaluate the national child protection system and set up a family protection unit; in DRC, beginning in 2002, to protect children associated with armed forces and groups, protect children from broken families and provide professional training for social workers. Known in the humanitarian community as an expert on the protection of children in emergencies, she is often asked to contribute to or review framework documents on the demobilization and rehabilitation of children associated with armed forces and groups.
In 2009, after nearly 20 years of professional practice, she turned to the academic world in order to “think through her trade” from a novel angle. After long and varied fieldwork, anthropology has allowed her to explore other aspects of humanitarian intervention and human rights. She is a doctoral student at the Université Laval (Québec City, Canada), a Vanier Scholar and a Trudeau Scholar, as well as research associate at the Urban Change Observatory at the University of Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her doctoral research, inspired by the critical anthropology of human rights, focuses on the praxis of child rights through child soldier protection programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo.