Our strategy aims to safeguard children from recruitment, use and exploitation by armed forces and groups as effectively as possible within the resources we have available. Four priorities guide our planning:

1. Reducing and ending violations by non-state armed groups

The exploitation of children by armed groups outside government control is a matter of profound concern. Ending this practice is possible, but only when communities, local and national organisations, and international institutions work vigorously and cooperate effectively for change. We are committed to developing and supporting initiatives to meet this challenge.

2. Increasing local and national capacity to end the military recruitment and use of children

The most effective resistance to the military exploitation of children is found in the communities most affected. We are refocusing our work to support initiatives and partners in affected communities as they work at local and national levels. We can offer our independence and our own knowledge of the issues and law, and we can help to link affected communities with national and international institutions.

3. Promoting a global ‘Straight 18’ ban on child recruitment

We are working to build universal acceptance that children should never be used in war. Around two-thirds of governments have established in law that no child under the age of 18 may be recruited. Our ‘Straight 18’ campaign is helping to establish 18 as the minimum age for military recruitment in all countries worldwide.

4. Addressing neglected and emerging challenges to the safeguarding of children from military exploitation

We aim to take a lead in responding to emerging or neglected issues that affect children in situations of armed conflict. This work so far has included, for example, challenging incidents of sexual violence against children by foreign troop contributors and peacekeepers.

As a small international human rights organisation and a former coalition with a longstanding focus on children and armed conflict, we are uniquely positioned to foster alliances and mobilise parties to action. To see how our activities all lead towards an end to the military exploitation of children, please see our theory of change.

We are committed to a set of core values, which guide all our work. 

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