Stabilizing communities in conflict zones in Rutshuru territory (North Kivu)
The project aims to build the resilience of communities in the Chieftaincy of BWITO, Rutshuru territory of north Kivu against armed violence and to prevent the recruitment of children and adolescents into armed groups.
RET in DRC is raising the community awareness of key stakeholders and leaders of armed groups and building the capacities of local youth associations and provide a pathway for positive youth engagement through the implementation of peace projects, all with the aim of preventing the recruitment of children and adolescents into armed group. In addition, a comprehensive program of support and rehabilitation for identified ex-combatants is conducted in the “center of Transit and Orientation” CTO to demobilize the adolescent’s combatants through psychosocial support, learning programs, peace-building activities and the development of a life plan.
The final stage of the program provides a sustainable reintegration of the ex-combatants into their communities and promote community stability through cooperative business practices. RET follows up on educational and business integration of the youth and supports them with school fees to prevent risks associated with recurrent recruitment into armed groups.
The project implemented between January 2020 and December 2020, is funded by the Kingdom of Belgium and implemented by RET in DR Congo.
Stabilizing Communities in Conflict Zones of Walikale, Rutshuru and Masisi (North Kivu) – DR Congo
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, errand boys and wives to militia group leaders.
During the fiscal year 2018 – 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.
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 reenter 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.
The six projects implemented since 2012 and until November 2019, were funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, S03 Division and implemented by RET in DR Congo.
Demobilization of adolescents associated with armed forces and groups through provision of rehabilitation and reintegration support in North Kivu, Eastern DRC.
Through provision of rehabilitation and reintegration support to adolescents associated with armed forces and groups, in North Kivu, Eastern DRC, RET in DR Congo implemented a project aimed at reinforcing the capacities and skills of adolescents and youth to mitigate forced recruitment into militia groups, and promoting the demobilization of child/ adolescent soldiers.
The coordination and collaboration with local Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) partners took place, ensuring a channel of dialogue with militia groups with a view of giving them an understanding of the need to release child/ adolescent soldiers. The project provided follow-up and support for demobilized adolescents through life skills trainings including psychosocial support in emergencies, health education and International Human Rights. Coordination mechanisms with local Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) partners as well as collaboration with MONUSCO and “Unité d’Exécution du Programme National de Désarmement, Démobilisation et Réinsertion (UEPN-DDR)” were put in place to influence a more sustainable response.
The project implemented between January 2020 and December 2020, is funded by the Government of the Grand-Duché de Luxembourg and implemented by RET in DR Congo. (six projects implemented since January 2015)