FOCUS ON: Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC
Stabilizing Communities in Conflict Zones of Walikale, Rutshuru and Masisi (North Kivu)
The Democratic Republic of Congo faces an entrenched problem of militarization of vulnerable adolescents and youth through their recruitment to illegal, armed groups. Specifically, in North Kivu an Eastern region of DRC, there are an estimated one hundred militia groups. Children as young as 10 have been found in these groups working as child soldiers, porters and wives to militia group leaders.
During the fiscal year 2019, RET implemented two projects focusing on adolescents and youth below the age of eighteen, already conscripted into the militia groups with a view to demobilizing, rehabilitating and reintegrating them into their communities.
These projects revolved around four main components: Prevention, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration.
The prevention components provide life skills trainings to local vulnerable youth and local youth associations, which include elements such as psychosocial support in emergencies, health education (such as HIV/AIDS or maternal care) or training on the rights of children and adolescents. Key socio-political and military stakeholders, community leaders and members, civil servants, and where possible, the armed group commanders are also sensitized on the national and international legal frameworks for the rights of children, and against the involvement of children and adolescents in armed groups.
Demobilization & Rehabilitation
Through the demobilization component children and adolescents under 18 years are drawn from armed groups. Once they arrive at RET’s Centre for Transit and Orientation, they enter the Rehabilitation stage and receive psychosocial support, health care and coaching to decide on what they will want to do when they get back to their communities: either re-integrate in the educational system or enter an income generating activity. Those who decide to go back to school receive remedial classes, whereas those who choose to enter a trade receive training on livelihood opportunities such as tailoring, baking or soap-making as well as basic entrepreneur training to equip them with the requisite skills to run a successful business.
Finally, the reintegration components start when the demobilized adolescents re-enter their communities. Those who wish to continue their education are supported in doing so through relationship building with the schools so they are accepted as students, and provided school kits and tuition fees. For those who choose livelihoods and trade skills learning, they are supported in starting their own business or a cooperative-like business through reintegration kits and training.
FOCUS ON: Afghanistan
Stabilizing Communities in Areas of
High Migrant Return
The projects aim to prevent economic migration by providing short-term solutions to empower youth and adult returnees, while facilitating the social reintegration of young returnees and reduce socio-cultural inequalities between young people and young adults affected by the crisis. In addition, the projects promote community stability and prevent future crises through the application of a conflict and community-sensitive approach.
The project provides interventions across the
Humanitarian – Development – Peace nexus focusing on:
Responding to protection needs and risks in fragile settings through life skills training, basic healthcare and psychosocial counselling.
Social cohesion/restoring the social fabric of Afghan communities composed of IDPs, returnees and host community members through Focused Group Discussion, Community Social Events & Sports Activities.
Sustainable Development intervention:
Increasing the self-reliance of community members to enhance re-integration through Educational Programs (different levels), Small Business Training, Entrepreneurial Skills, Financial Literacy and Micro-Credit Training & Job Counselling.
The projects tackled the root causes of economic migration and provided short-term self-employment programs primarily targeted at young and adult returnees. In addition to strengthen the social resilience of Afghans affected by the crisis, RET provided trainings in entrepreneurial skills and knowledge on how to get a job, facilitated access to microfinance as a means to improve self-employment and implemented programs for socio-economic reintegration.
The socio-cultural inequalities are reduced by providing young returnees access to education, and by strengthening the Afghan Ministry of Education to provide basic services in remote areas, such as small-scale infrastructure renovation, provision of equipment, etc. Access to education helps facilitate access to employment opportunities for returnees and internally displaced persons, promote social inclusion and youth empowerment and stabilize the community.