Speech: Conditions for a successful reintegration

Conditions for a successful reintegration: Acceptance of the family and community, and child participation

This is a transcript of a presentation given by Child Soldiers International to a Sub-regional workshop on the treatment of children associated with extremist groups, organised by UNODC in Dakar on 1-3 June 2016.

This presentation is based on research conducted by Child Soldiers International in January-February 2016 in DR Congo, on the obstacles to the reintegration of girls formerly associated with armed groups.

Key points:

  • Community acceptance is the single most critical factor in the successful reintegration of children formerly associated with armed groups, and should be the focus of reintegration programming.
  • Children formerly associated with armed groups must be fully involved in their psychosocial adjustment and reintegration process. Programmes should also consult and involve their families and communities, as they are key to the successful reintegration of the child.
  • Always support other vulnerable children in the community along with the formerly associated children, in order to avoid their stigmatization and encourage the recovery of the entire community.
  • A child is first and foremost a child - not a "child soldier", not a "terrorist" - even if he or she was associated with an armed group and even if the armed group uses ideological indoctrination. Children associated with armed groups go through complex and multiple experiences which should not be simplified into a single category triggering a single, standard response. This simplification and categorization may negatively affect the success of reintegration.

Download this speech here.