Countries with ongoing conflict or those which experienced a long drawn out war are beset with social problems and economic slowdown. Armed conflict disrupts family life and governance. Local conflict adversely affects the provision of health services, schooling, and public utilities in the immediate vicinity. Relationships among residents are fractured, and existing power structure loses or diminishes its authority.
Several studies worldwide have documented the effects of armed conflict on the communities where they occur. It seems, however, that the direct consequences of war in terms of deaths, injuries, and damage to physical infrastructures prove to be much easier to measure than the long-term impact of exposure to violence on people’s mental health. The prevalence of mental health problems can rise significantly after natural disasters and conflict (Whiteford, 2005).
Marcelino, et al. (2000) recorded that since 1986, poverty, human rights violations, evacuations, and terrorism, among others, affected mostly children eight years old and below. A body of literature on children and war documented the travails the young suffer — the trauma and physical violence they experienced. In particular, it is indicated that conflict implicates their ability to learn in school and threatens their chances for long-term psychosocial stability (Machel, 1996).