Support former child soldiers in Liberia in establishing daily routines, building self-esteem and increasing employment prospects.
REINTEGRATING FORMER CHILD SOLDIERS IN LIBERIA
We cooperate with The Initiative for the Development of Former Child Soldiers (IDEFOCS) in the social reintegration of former child soldiers in Liberia since 2013.
Action10 supports IDEFOCS in providing trauma counselling, medical treatment, homes, training, and employment opportunities to former child soldiers, women associated with fighting forces, and other war-affected youth living in ghettos.
Many young people under 30 carry deep scars from growing up during the war in Liberia. Numerous children had to quit school, and the rebels captured many. These children became child soldiers and were forced to carry arms and ammunition. They had to kill, commit terrible acts of violence, and witness horrors. Many girls were raped and violated in appalling ways.
After the war, other problems occurred. The child soldiers returned home to their families. However, many were not welcomed back because of the crimes they had committed.
CHALLENGES OF REINTEGRATION
Many of the former child soldiers cannot read or support themselves, and there is a significant risk that they turn back to violence in order to survive.
A high number of former child soldiers lives in ghettos. They suffer from PTSD and drug addiction. That makes them vulnerable to exploitation.
SOLUTION – A VILLAGE FOR FORMER CHILD SOLDIERS REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION
To provide a safe environment for ex-child soldiers rehabilitation, IDEFOCS has constructed a purpose-built center in Little Bassa, supported by Action10 and HR&S. We founded Botanical Reintegration Village to offer former child soldiers a program for recovery from trauma and for obtaining the skills necessary for social reintegration.
The idea was to offer health care and PTSD counselling to the participants of the program. Some of them could gain skills, knowledge, and training in agriculture by working on an adjacent farm. Thus they could establish daily routines, build self-esteem and increase employment prospects.
HOW TO HELP BUILD A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR EX-CHILD SOLDIERS
We want to provide opportunities and knowledge to former child soldiers and women associated with fighting forces who want to start their own business, be employed, or study. As importantly, we support IDEFOCS to be active with reuniting families and assisting the healing process in society.
THE PROGRAM OUTCOME SO FAR
IDEFOCS has been able to reach out to some 1000 former child soldiers with mental support and awareness-raising. Some of this support has been a result of the collaboration with Action10.
However, the program faced challenges when it was time to move potential participants to the village. The challenges were related to Liberian infrastructure and accountability.
In 2020, IDEFOCS performed a COVID-19 awareness campaign among Botanical Reintegration Village beneficiaries, in cooperation with Action10 and HR&S.
PLANS FOR THE NEAR FUTURE
In 2021, supported by Action10 and HR&S, IDEFOCS continues with the program activities but restructured to fit the current circumstances.
We plan to renovate the building of Botanical Reintegration Village, which in the meantime collapsed. Also, there is a plan to restart the production on the farm belonging to the reintegration center. Likewise, we want to establish HR&S Center with satellite internet connection and computers, and let the local community benefit from it. We aim at creating a closer relationship with locals and want to start business cooperation with them.
USER-DRIVEN PROGRAM, ACCOUNTABILITY MANAGEMENT, AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY
All Action10 programs are user-driven. It means that the partners and local social entrepreneurs ideate, initiate, and manage the program.
Accountability management is one of our ActionAreas. We offer this service to our loan takers and partners. Read more about how we work regarding accountability management and sustainable economy on Human Rights & Science website.
With a 200€ donation, one former child soldier can get involved in our program.