In armed conflicts around the world, children and adolescents are subjected to egregious violations, such as sexual violence, killing and maiming, abduction, and recruitment and use as child soldiers. The day-to-day lives of these children are further disrupted by attacks on their schools and hospitals, and by the denial of humanitarian assistance.

Although tangible progress has been made in recent years to hold perpetrators accountable and to prevent future violations, there remains an urgent need for more effective programs and policies to address the needs of children affected by armed conflict.

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict strives to end violations against children in armed conflicts and to guarantee their rights. As a global network, the Watchlist builds partnerships among local, national, and international nongovernmental organizations, enhancing mutual capacities and strengths. Working together, we collect and disseminate information on violations against children in conflicts in order to influence key decision-makers to create and implement programs and policies that effectively protect children.

Watchlist’s work follows three main program areas:

History and Governance

Watchlist was formed in 2001 by a group of leading human rights and humanitarian organizations in response to the need for improved monitoring and reporting on violations against children in war. Watchlist is known for its work on children and human rights, boasting – through its members – both a solid expertise on child protection and a wealth of information and experiences coming directly from the ground.

Watchlist’s programmatic content is set by an Advisory Board composed of six international NGOs. Its network further includes five Associate Member organizations who share our commitment to protect the security and rights of children affected by armed conflict.

Annual Reports

Staff

Eva Smets, Executive Director

Eva manages the overall work of Watchlist, with support from the Advisory Board. Eva joined Watchlist in 2009, after six years working for leading humanitarian agencies in Central and East Africa. Eva was based in Kinshasa (DR Congo) as Oxfam International’s Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, and in Nairobi (Kenya) as Care International’s Regional Advocacy Adviser. In these roles, she advised country programs on humanitarian advocacy issues encountered in the field, supported the development of organization-wide advocacy strategies, and authored several articles, reports, and related materials. She also has extensive lobby experience in global humanitarian capitals such as New York, Brussels, and Geneva. Eva holds an MA in human rights and democratization from the University of Padova, Italy, and a degree in history from the University of Brussels in Belgium. Eva is Belgian and is based in New York.

Bonnie Berry, Program Manager

Bonnie is responsible for supporting Watchlist’s programmatic work, grants management, and communications. Bonnie previously served as Watchlist’s Research and Communications Intern, supporting the development of the 2014 Field Monitor Who Will Care for Us: Grave Violations against Children in Northeast Nigeria. Bonnie worked as a teacher in China, and was employed in education administration with a public charter school in Washington, DC. Bonnie holds an MA in international affairs from the New School and a BA in international affairs, with a minor in Mandarin, from the George Washington University. She is based in New York.

Christine Monaghan, Research Officer

Christine is responsible for preparing the organization’s “Field Monitors,” which aim to provide regular updates and policy advice, based on information from the field, to improve national and global policy responses for children affected by armed conflict. Christine previously served as a Program Officer at the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, where she coordinated activities designed to develop an evidence-base on programmatic measures to protect education from attack and conducted research for Education Under Attack 2018. She has carried out multiple research projects in countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including an evaluation of UNICEF’s Peacebuilding, Education, and Advocacy (PBEA) program in Ethiopia and Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp. She has also taught courses in International Education at the University of Virginia and New York University. Christine holds a PhD focused on international relations and refugee education and a BA in History, both from the University of Virginia. She is based in New York.

Dragica Mikavica, Advocacy Officer

Dragica leads the design and implementation of Watchlist’s advocacy strategies in New York in order to advance its priorities with the UN Security Council, permanent missions, agencies, and other relevant bodies. Previously, Dragica served as Watchlist’s Program Manager from 2013 to early 2015. Prior to that, Dragica worked alongside UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery performing UN-based policy research on conflict prevention from 2010 to 2013. She also conducted human rights field-work in Nepal in 2010. She was educated at Cornell University (BA 2006) and The New School (MA 2011). Dragica’s innate passion for advocating for children’s rights in conflict springs from her firsthand experience of growing up in a war-affected country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the early 1990s. She is based in New York.

Adrianne Lapar, Partnerships Officer

Adrianne is responsible for managing Watchlist’s Partnerships Program, which supports nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and networks in conflict-affected countries to monitor and report on grave violations against children, and advocate on their behalf at the local and global levels. Prior to joining Watchlist, Adrianne served as an Associate Protection Officer with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Colombia, where her work focused on strengthening State institutions’ response to victims of the armed conflict, managing individual protection cases, and coordinating international response at the regional level. Her prior experience includes over two years of field work in human rights and humanitarian protection in South Sudan, as well as four years of international advocacy experience with Human Rights Watch in New York. Adrianne has an MA in Political Science and a BA in International Studies and Spanish Language and Literature, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is based in New York.

Katie Tyrrell, Development Officer

Katie works to advance the organization’s fundraising and outreach efforts. Prior to working at Watchlist, Katie served as a Program Officer at the Open Society Foundations (OSF), focusing on women’s rights issues, including violence against women, access to justice for women and women’s participation in the public sphere, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq. She also worked as a Senior Grants Officer across a number of the organization’s programs. Before joining OSF, Katie worked as a Contracts Manager for international development organizations in New York and Washington, DC, focusing on the implementation of current projects and the pursuit of new funding opportunities. Katie holds an MA in global affairs with a focus on human rights and humanitarian assistance from New York University and a BA in international affairs from the George Washington University with minors in economics and Russian language and literature. She is based in New York.