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The Cowardly Man Raises his Children: Refugee Gang Violence and Masculine Norms in Cairo

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Analysis
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PAUL MIRANDA and KAREN JACOBSEN

Introduction

This report analyzes the gang violence affecting some refugee communities in Cairo and the ways in which young people’s conceptions of masculinity fuel the problem. We assess the potential for using the Cure Violence (CV) model for violence reduction and explore developing a prevention program based on transforming the masculine norms that support violence and gangs.

The report begins by exploring the sources and drivers of gang conflict across Nuba Sudanese and South Sudanese neighborhood groups and crews and how revenge and retaliation lead to cycles of violence. First, we review the multiple types of violence that Sudanese and South Sudanese youth experience throughout their life and how these experiences lead to gang violence. In particular, we focus on how hypermasculine and patriarchal norms reproduce violence. The next section explains the CV model and assesses its applicability in Cairo. We also highlight refugee communities’ grassroots efforts to reduce violence and show how these efforts, while fragmented due to a lack of support, have had tangible positive effects. The community efforts demonstrate the need to combine external support and meaningful participation of communities in efforts to address these issues. We end with recommendations for how to implement the CV and masculinity approaches in Cairo’s refugee-hosting neighborhoods and other pathways to consider for violence prevention.