Afua Twum-Danso




MSc in the Faculty of Economics

(Development Studies)



Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree. 


Title: The Limits of Individualism: What Constitutes an Effective Form of the Reintegration and Rehabilitation of Child Soldiers into Society after Civil War?




Word Count: 9,480 words excluding bibliography.












Introduction                                                                                                        3


Chapter 1: Deconstructing the Phenomenon of Child Soldiers           10


1.1 Child Soldiers: A Historical and Global Phenomenon         10


1.2 Child Soldiers in the African Context                                  12



Chapter 2: Afflicted Individuals Vs Afflicted Communities? Or Both       21


        2.1 The Individual-Centred Approach to Rehabilitation

                    and Reintegration of Child Soldiers                                       21


        2.2 The Community-Based Approach to Rehabilitation and

            Reintegration of Child Soldiers                                             26


        2.3 Incorporating Nation-Wide Strategies into Rehabilitation

            and Reintegration Approaches                                              33


Conclusion                                                                                                   38


Bibliography                                                                                                41






The foundation for successful reintegration is synonymous with family reunification and a productive involvement in community life

(McCallin, 1995:15).


The situation of child soldiers, of the generation of the future, will not be resolved until the problems that generated the massive use of under-aged soldiers in conflict is resolved – and that is the crisis in the post colonial politics of power, identity, ethnicity and access to resources….Therefore, community mechanisms of healing, social rebuilding and conflict resolution are important but on their own they cannot  be a solution to the problem

(Honwana, 1999:12).


As the old adage goes, ‘war is unhealthy for children and other living things.’ There is no doubt that this has always been the case but as humanity moves into the twenty-first century, the meaning of this old adage gains renewed importance. Since the end of the Cold War, the nature of armed conflict has changed. Today’s conflicts can be described as internal, fought within the boundaries of a state with its main targets being the civilian population. Approximately 90% of victims are non-combatants – mainly women and children. Furthermore, the main sphere of violence tends to be the village or the town centre rather than a far-flung battlefield typical of traditional warfare.


In fact, it can be said that the line between combatants and civilians has now become blurred as whole communities are drawn into the conflict. Moreover, although atrocities have always been committed in wars, the horrors of the atrocities carried out in modern wars are emphasised by the fact that very often, they are being committed by former neighbours or fellow village members. Increasingly in our modern day conflicts, light weapons such as the Soviet AK-47 and the G-3 play prominent roles. This facilitates the incorporation of children into war. Given its widespread character and the deep consequences it holds for the future of these societies and the stability of the world in general, the phenomenon of child soldiers merits careful attention and study.


It is estimated that there are approximately 300,000 children under the age of eighteen (male and female) participating in conflicts around the world either as combatants or as auxiliaries. However, the exact number is difficult to assess. This is because most of them [the children] are ‘invisible’ since armed groups tend to deny their existence, which is often not difficult to do, as reliable documentation is scarce. It is important to note that two-thirds of the child soldiers accounted for are in Africa alone. Many of the children are under the age of ten. Whilst some are used as porters, messengers or spies, others, drugged on a potent mixture of gunpowder and marijuana and fearing for their own lives, find themselves on the frontline of the ‘battlefield’ committing atrocities against civilians, some of whom, as mentioned previously, are their own relatives or members of their communities. The impact on the child – both as an individual and as a member of a community – is great. Thus, the task confronting communities and organisations working towards the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers into society after contemporary civil wars is indeed challenging.



The notions of ‘child’, ‘reintegration’ and ‘rehabilitation’ and how they will be used in this study need to be clearly defined. Establishing a universal standard for the concepts ‘child’ and ‘childhood’ is difficult. Although the United Nations (UN) has attempted to do so through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which was ratified in 1989 by all countries except the USA and Somalia, such actions have met with strong criticism. Postmodernists such as Dasberg (1989) and Veerman (1992) have led the ‘cultural relativist call’ for acknowledging the importance of ‘difference’ between peoples and societies and the need to respect and maintain these differences. They argue that childhood is a relative concept that changes 'according to historical time, geographical environment, local culture, and socio-economic conditions’ (Kuper, 1997: 13). This argument is indeed valid especially as it emphasises the dangers of a Eurocentric perspective. Others argue that a universal standard is indeed possible and use the UNCRC, a convention ratified by 191 countries, to support their view. The debate over the definitions of child and childhood continues but for the purpose of this paper, the definition of a child will be in concordance with Article 1 of the UNCRC which stipulates that a child is ‘every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier’ (Ibid.). Since the focus of the dissertation is Africa, it is important to note that the definition of a child recognised by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) is consistent with that of the UNCRC.


‘Rehabilitation’ and ‘Reintegration’ are also problematic words and NGOs working in this field emphasise different definitions. Some commentators and practitioners favour the so-called western ‘medicalised’ model of therapy and trauma counselling focused on the individual. Others stress the importance of community-based traditional initiatives in which the child is viewed as part of a wider community and therefore, to ‘reintegrate’ the child into society, it is necessary to ‘rehabilitate’ the community as a whole. An alternative view emphasises the benefits of both approaches. In this way, the psychological (individual) and social (community) aspects of rehabilitation are brought together and formed into one integrated approach. This dissertation seeks to argue that the latter, more holistic option will prove likely to be the more ‘effective’ form of rehabilitation and reintegration. This approach, outlined in the Cape Town Annotated Principles, can be called the ‘psychosocial approach’, which is described as thus:

The term ‘psycho-social’ underlines the close relationship between the psychological effects of armed conflict, the one type of effect continually influencing the other.  ‘Psychological effects’ are those which affect emotions, behaviour, thoughts, memory and learning ability and how a situation may be perceived and understood. ‘Social effects’ refers to altered relationships due to death, separation, estrangement and other losses, family and community break down, damage to social values and customary practices and the destruction of social facilities and services. ‘Social effects’ may be extended to include an economic dimension, many individuals and families becoming destitute through the material and economic devastation of war, thus losing their social status and place in their familiar network (Cape Town Annotated Principles and Best Practice on the Prevention of Recruitment of Children into the Armed Forces and Demobilisation and Social Reintegration of Child Soldiers in Africa adopted on 30th April 1997). 


Thus, it is necessary to state from the outset that this dissertation is not necessarily expressing the point of view of a cultural relativist. Rather, it attempts to show that there is indeed a need to go beyond the level of the individual in rehabilitation programmes but that does not mean dismissing the level of the individual altogether. Moreover, this study goes further by seeking to incorporate the need for a national level model into the definition of the notions of ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘reintegration’.


Theoretical Framework

This dissertation will analyse the question of what constitutes an effective form of the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers on three different levels: the individual; the local community; and the wider society/nation. In order to reach a satisfactory conclusion certain key questions must be kept in mind throughout the paper: is it right to reintegrate these children into the society that bred the war in the first place? Where else can they be rehabilitated? Is it worthwhile and feasible to rehabilitate individuals without looking at the immediate community to which they belong and issues of social acceptance and reconciliation? Can it be argued that it is illogical, and even dangerous, to reintegrate an individual and put them back into a community that does not want them? How does the nature of contemporary conflicts, in which warring factions are determined to break all the bonds between the young recruits and their communities by forcing them to commit atrocities against their families, neighbours and chiefs, affect the process of social reintegration? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both individual- and community-focused rehabilitation approaches? And finally, how significant can either of these be without wider/national level reconstruction/ rehabilitation?


These are indeed valid questions and have been the topic of numerous academic works, conferences and reports, illustrating the large extent to which the role of child soldiers has been pushed into the international arena since the ratification of the UNCRC in 1989.  Summerfield (1996) criticises the notion of ‘trauma’ in a non-western                               context and argues for rehabilitation to be community–wide and to centre on social development rather than on the individual. However, it can also be said that Summerfield is too dismissive of the argument in favour of the individual western model. Honwana, (1999) in her discussion on Angola and Mozambique, also criticises the use of western                               models of healing in non-western societies and rather, focuses on cultural and local approaches to healing and reintegration. Although Reichenberg and Friedman (1996) acknowledge the presence of war trauma in all war-affected children including child soldiers, they also believe that healing must take place in the context of the family and community. Dodge and Raundalen (1991) follow this line of argument by not only pointing to the existence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) in children but also, emphasising the importance of traditional cultural and societal values in helping children to recover. McCallin’s (1995, 1998) analyses unequivocally illustrates the necessity of community involvement in the social rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers.


These works are among others which were reviewed that provide the student of conflict issues with the necessary tools to analyse and comprehend the complex relationships between the psychological (and individual) and the social (and community-wide) dimensions to rehabilitation. By bringing both elements together to form one approach to rehabilitation this dissertation hopes to add to the existing literature.


Empirical and Methodological Framework

Sensitive topics such as the rehabilitation of child soldiers require a qualitative approach. Therefore, this study will be an explorative, descriptive as well as analytical account based on literature reviews, programme and conference reports as well as interviews with Dr. Rhona Keen from Amnesty International (AI), Ms. Sarah Uppard and Mr. Krijn Peters from Save the Children’s Fund UK (SCF-UK).  It is hoped that the evidence collected will demonstrate that the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers cannot be analysed separately from wider societal changes. Furthermore, it will be shown that for rehabilitation to be effective, programmes will need to consider the values that are important to that specific culture and community and combine them with western models which can also be useful. Both the empirical and methodological framework used will hopefully allow this work to offer further insight into this crucial subject of child soldiers.


In order to fully comprehend the topic being discussed Chapter 1 will deconstruct the phenomenon of child soldiers by setting it in a historical and universal context before analysing the use of children (both male and female) in modern day African conflicts. Chapter 2 will set up the debate around individual-centred, community-based and nation-wide approaches to reintegration and rehabilitation. It is only when this has been done that a satisfactory conclusion can be reached.










Deconstructing the Child Soldier Phenomenon

The issue of child soldiers first attracted attention in the 1980s. However, it is important to realise that the phenomenon of child soldiers needs to be situated in both a historical and universal context in order to be fully appreciated.


Child Soldiers – A Historical and Global Phenomenon

It is necessary to make clear that the use of children in conflicts is not a new trend occurring in the last decades of the twentieth century. History records that there are numerous examples of ‘child soldiers’ in the conflicts of previous centuries. Alcinda Honwana supplies evidence of this when she illustrates that the Children’s Crusade of 1212 featured many children. Napoleon’s army in the early nineteenth century also consisted of twelve-year old boys who were combatants (Honwana, 1999: 4). In addition Brett and McCallin argue that in Europe during the Middle Ages, ‘a boy who wished to become a knight would, from the age of about fourteen, serve as a squire, cleaning his master’s armour and standing guard while his master slept’ (Brett and McCallin, 1998: 20). Despite this historical precedent, the post World War II period has been described as the ‘era of the child soldier’. This is due to the radical changes that have taken place in the nature of armed conflict. These have not only caused the numbers of children involved in conflict to increase, but has also altered the nature of their contribution [to the conflict]. Brett and McCallin refer to what are arguably the two most important changes in the nature of contemporary conflict. Firstly, most wars are now internal within boundaries of a state rather than between states.  This change has created a blurring distinction between the combatants and the civilian and thus, whole communities are drawn into the conflict either as aggressors or victims or both at different times. It is also important to note that these conflicts tend to linger with escalations and de-escalations thereby prolonging the conflict with increased casualty in adult men. This factor encourages the recruitment of children into military roles.


Secondly, there have been fundamental changes in the weaponry used. In modern conflicts, light weapons such as the AK-47 are the primary means of war. The expansion of the light weapons trade, and the conflicts it feeds facilitates the enforcement of children into combat. As Brett and McCallin argue, ‘this development takes the child soldier from the margins to the very heart of modern conflicts’ (Ibid.). Rachel Brett emphasises this point further when she states that ‘an AK-47 or M16 makes a 10 or 12 year old boy (or girl) an effective instrument of destruction’ (Brett, 1999:58). This is because an AK-47, for example, which fires thirty bullets per trigger pull, is light enough for a ten-year old to handle and costs no more than a goat, chicken or bread in some parts of Africa.


Although the issue of child combatants is often seen as ‘an African problem’ by the western media, this is not so in reality. The UN study on the ‘Impact of Armed Conflict on Children’ led by Graca Machel concluded that ‘child soldiering is a global problem that occurs more systematically than most analysts have previously suspected’ (Wessels, 1997). Evidence of this is abundant. In Sri Lanka, the rebel Tamil Tigers have used thousands of children to fight their war with the government troops since 1983. In Thailand, earlier this year, commandos killed ten Burmese rebels who had taken hostages at a Bangkok hospital; it was later reported that the dead were members of God’s Army, an insurgent group led by twelve-year old twin brothers, Luther and Johnny Htoo. In addition to this, children have been used by both government and opposition forces in armed conflicts in Colombia, Bhutan, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cambodia, Burma, Afghanistan, Palestine, Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland – to name but a few. It is important to note that many western countries are among those who recruit under-eighteens (albeit voluntarily and with parental consent) into their regular forces. According to Amnesty International (AI), the UK not only recruits sixteen-year-olds, but also routinely deploys under-eighteens (Brett, 1999: 57). An example of this was seen during the Gulf War. Thus, from the evidence given above, it can clearly be seen that no region or era is/has been free from the so-called ‘child soldier problem’.


Child Soldiers in the African Context

However, it has to be acknowledged that a large proportion of child combatants are indeed to be found in Africa. This is probably due to the fact that Africa is not only the world’s poorest continent, but also its youngest (Peters and Richards, 1998: 76). Whilst in Europe and North America five to twenty-four year olds account for only 25% of the population, and in Asia for 35%, in Africa they comprise an overwhelming 45% of the population.


To further understand the extent to which child soldiers have become a dominant feature on the African landscape, it is necessary to consider the statistics. In Liberia UNICEF estimated that 10% of the 60,000 combatants (i.e. 6,000) in their civil war which began in 1989 were children (Human Rights Watch, 1994: 2). With regards to Sierra Leone, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflicts, Olara Otunnu, after a visit to that country in September 1999, said that ‘more than 10,000 children have been serving as child soldiers in various fighting groups’ (Amnesty International, 2000: 1). Moreover, in Angola 9,000 children were used in the war whilst in Mozambique the figure was approximately 8-10,000 (Honwana, 1999: 6 ).


Who are the child soldiers?

Certain groups of children are particularly vulnerable to recruitment. According to Brett and McCallin they can be divided into three categories: those from poor or otherwise disadvantaged sectors of society; those from the actual conflict zones themselves; and those from disrupted or non-existent family backgrounds (Brett and McCallin, 1998: 69).  The last group are said to be the most prone to recruitment by armed groups because the family is supposed to provide ‘a measure of physical protection and assistance in strategies for avoiding recruitment’ (Ibid: 80). Once the family structure breaks down, this level of protection and assistance becomes more difficult to maintain. Other writers such as Isobel McConnan have reached the same conclusion (McConnan, 2000: 5). 


Methods of recruitment

After having identified the children most vulnerable to recruitment, it is now possible to examine the methods of recruitment. Most of the evidence shows that compulsory recruitment is the most common way of becoming involved in the conflict. Both government forces and rebels use this method. Children have been abducted from their homes at night or from school or the fields during the day. In Liberia, boys were threatened with death either to themselves or their families. One armed group threatened to beat a thirteen-year old boy with a cartridge belt (Human Rights Watch, 1994: 25).


According to the Machel study, forced abductions are commonly one element in a larger campaign to intimidate communities (Wessels, 1997). Furthermore, it is vital to realise that in order to seal off the possible avenues of resistance from the children’s communities or the return of the children to their communities, recruiters deliberately destroy the bonds of trust between child and community. For example in Mozambique RENAMO soldiers forced new recruits to kill someone from their own village (Ibid.). In Angola some children were forced to kill their relatives and neighbours or to raid and loot their own villages. As Honwana demonstrates, this was ‘done to cut links and eliminate the desire to escape and join family and community’ (Honwana, 1999: 8). The children were even given new war names and forbidden to use their birth names, traditional names or nicknames that were related to their past experience with family, relatives and neighbours (Ibid.). These new names were chosen to enhance their combative performance; for example Rambo, the Russian, the Invincible. This practice has also been used in Sierra Leone and elsewhere (Richards, 1996:58-59).


At the same time there is substantial evidence showing that many children ‘volunteer’ for war. The reasons why some children make an active decision to join the conflict are numerous. A number of children become involved in the conflict due to peer pressure, or simply because their friends have joined. In some cases (for example Liberia and Sierra Leone) children joined the war for the ‘adventure’, ‘attracted by the sheer fun of belonging’ or in order to become ‘famous and admired’ (Brett and McCallin, 1998: 60). Moreover, desire for revenge can motivate the volunteers; in Liberia this was often the case. As Brett and McCallin argue, very often the incentive for volunteering may be to find some means for survival or support. The alternative to enlisting may be unemployment (Ibid: 66). This is a very important point to note and will be revisited in Chapter 2 – that is, it is necessary to rehabilitate/restructure the wider society in order for the rehabilitation/ reintegration of child soldiers (or any other war-affected group) to be effective.


Winston Ojukutu-Macaulay, staff writer at QUILL, a Sierra Leone newspaper, writes that ‘some older RUF combatants have said that many of the child soldiers joined the RUF voluntarily, because they had no other means of survival’ (QUILL, Wednesday 30th July  1997: 2). In fact, in Liberia, Human Rights Watch (HRW) discovered that although warring factions forcibly recruited children, most children joined voluntarily, again for survival. According to HRW only a small percentage of children reported being forced to join. One UN official in Liberia told HRW, ‘children went to fight because their economic situation was so bad.’ (Human Rights Watch, 1994: 27).


Isobel McConnan makes an interesting point when she states that,

Social exclusion, lack of opportunity and lack of access to adequate education are important factors which contribute to recruitment in the first place and which, if not addressed when young ex-combatants are returning their communities, increase the likelihood and their return to armed groups’ (McConnan, 2000:5). 


Thus, it is possible to agree with McConnan who argues that it is wrong to view child combatants as ‘victims’ or ‘barbarians.’ She found that in Sierra Leone young ex-combatants had ‘clear rational reasons for joining a militia force….these are neither dupes or victims’ (Ibid: 5). Krijn Peters refers to this view as a third way  - seeing the children as ‘knowledgeable agents’ (Interview with Krijn Peters on 20th August 2000).  However, Brett and McCallin question the whole concept of ‘voluntary’ recruitment. They argue that “too great an implication of freedom of choice should not be associated with the term ‘voluntary’ in this context” (Brett and McCallin, 1998: 57). Dr. Rhona Keen of Amnesty International adds to this when she says that ‘where the militias were the only source of food and protection, Amnesty would not consider their [the children’s] choices to be free and fair’ (Interview with Dr. Rhona Keen on 14th May 2000).


Thus, at this point it is necessary to raise the following questions: what is the agency of these children? Are they merely passive agents? Some were indeed forced to participate in the war and to commit atrocities; but others exercised their own agency and consciously decided to commit atrocities and even go beyond what they had been ordered to do. At the same time, it is also important to ask: when a person is under the influence of drugs and has been denied an opportunity to fulfil his/her basic needs in society, exactly how much agency can one accredit to him/her?


It can be seen that the reasons why children ‘volunteer’ to participate in the conflict are situated within the socio-economic contexts within which wars emerge. For example with regards to Sierra Leone, Paul Richards argues that

the crisis of patrimonialism has had a devastating effect on schooling, social services, jobs and national communications infrastructure –which had blighted the hopes of most young people for meaningful life in the cities’ (Yussuf Bangura, 1997: 118). 

In such conditions, it is no wonder that many children ‘volunteered’ to join the RUF.


Why are children used?

The reasons behind children’s recruitment into war must be taken into account. This has partly been discussed already (See above, p.8). Rhona Keen from AI sums up the reasons:

Amnesty points to the easy availability of small, lightweight weaponry these days. Additional (and old) reasons are that they are vulnerable and easier to control than adults; and they can be misled into thinking they are invulnerable (Interview on 14th May 2000).


Many writers point to the shortage of manpower as a reason for children’s recruitment. Mwizi Mthali of the TransAfrica Forum argues that

long-running regional conflicts, poverty and an AIDS epidemic that has depleted the number of young men available to fight have made children and the military the strangest of bedfellows (Macklin, 2000).


McConnan adds to this when she claims that the comparative agility of children and their small size, and the ease with which they can be physically and psychologically controlled, are regarded as an advantage by military commanders (McConnan, 2000: 4).

Furthermore, a relief worker in Liberia told HRW that

I think they use children because the children don’t understand the risks. And children are easier to control and manipulate. If the commanding officer tells a child to do something, he does it. In this society, children are raised to follow instruction (Human Rights Watch, 2000: 23).


How are child soldiers used?

The utility of children as described above allowed them to be used in numerous roles by warring factions which have been mentioned earlier (See above, p.2). Moreover, once recruited into the violence the treatment of children by armed groups has been described as ‘inhuman’. There is substantial evidence to show that drugs and alcohol are frequently given to children especially before battles to boost their courage and prepare them for war. 


The treatment of child soldiers by warring parties in Liberia is a good case study to consider. As HRW illustrates, child recruits were frequently beaten, flogged and ‘subjected to a form of torture called tabay – in which a person’s elbows are tied together behind his back, causing severe pain and often leading to nerve damage in the arms’ (Human Rights Watch, 1994: 4). In addition children claimed to have been subjected to cruel initiation rites in which they were forced to kill or to commit an atrocity as a test of their allegiance. Moreover, former child combatants reported being drugged on a mixture of cane juice and gun powder or with ‘bubbles’, an amphetamine which is supposed to make them ‘strong and brave’ for fighting at the front (Ibid: 4). Many were beaten if they spoke up and tortured if they disobeyed orders. Children were forced to have sex with women (mainly upper-class women in order to humiliate them), especially at checkpoints. Some children were also sodomized by older children or adults (Human Rights Watch, 1994: 36-37).


Honwana argues that hallucinogenic agents were also used in both Mozambique and Angola. In Angola children not only reported being given ‘liamba’ (marijuana), eating bullet powder to be strong, but, also being compelled to drink their victims’ blood in order to become both strong and fearless (Honwana, 1999: 8).


Girl soldiers

It is necessary to realise that the term ‘child soldiers’ includes girls. As Krijn Peters emphasies, girl combatants are ‘still often out of the picture’ and more research needs to be done about their particular circumstances (Interview with Krijn Peters on 20th August  2000). Girls are not only used as support and ancillary workers; they are very often to be found fighting alongside their boy colleagues at the front line. However, in addition to sharing the experience of boys, girls tend to suffer from sexual abuse more [than boys do] which makes their specific needs for reintegration different. They are often raped and used as sex slaves. Examples of this can be seen in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Uganda - to name but a few countries. As Maggie Black shows, “in Northern Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has made a practice of abducting girls and forcing them to become their ‘wives’” (Black, 1998: 8). This type of treatment often results in unwanted pregnancies, abortions and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS (Herdal, 2000: 5). These experiences unique to girl soldiers create added challenges to reintegration and rehabilitation.


After having deconstructed the phenomenon of child soldiers, it is clear to see that ‘the child soldier problem’ is both historical and contemporary. It is also both a global and African issue. From the evidence gathered, one can appreciate the complexities of the topic as expressed in the following statement:

Embedded in the nature of today’s armed conflicts is an onslaught on childhood itself’ (Maggie Black, 1998:1).































Afflicted Individuals Vs Afflicted Communities?

or Both?


Children’s experiences in combatant roles during wars in Africa (and elsewhere) have profound consequences for both the individual child and for the wider society to which he/she belongs that need to be addressed in subsequent rehabilitation and reintegration interventions. In the past the debate was focused on individual-centred reintegration versus community-based rehabilitation. However, this dissertation aims to prove that it is not a matter of choosing between the two approaches, but rather, it is a question of combining them and thus producing a holistic approach which will have a greater chance of success. Therefore, this chapter will analyse the above issue on three levels: the individual, the community and the nation.


The Individual-Centred Approach to the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Child Soldiers into Society after Civil War.


Although the individual-centred approach has been criticised for its inherent limitations, it is necessary to consider this strategy because one argument advanced by Dodge and  Raundalen is that ‘[p]sychological wounds and trauma suffered in childhood may affect the individual child and, as a consequence, the society for decades (Dodge and Raundalen, 1991: 21). To appreciate this view, it is important to examine the supporting evidence. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was recognised in the 1980s in relation to the war-induced trauma of American soldiers returning to ‘normal’ life in the U.S. from the ‘very bloody war’ in Vietnam. PTSD is defined by its symptoms: recurrent distressing recollections (flashbacks and nightmares), dissociative signs (being in a daze, absent-minded feelings of detachment and amnesia), persistent hyperarousal (nervousness, sleeping problems, bouts of anger /aggression and concentration problems), loss of future perspective and physical problems without medical cause.


According to Annelies Thiele,

underlying the concept of PTSD is the assumption that the essence of human experience of war and atrocity can be captured by negative psychological effects as they are understood and categorised in the West, to be elicited in the mental life of each individual victim’ (Thiele, 1999:16).


This view of trauma as an individual-centred event is in concordance with the traditional twentieth century analytical framework in both western biomedicine and psychoanalysis. In this framework, ‘the individual is seen as the basic and autonomous unit of society, and our psychological nature thought to be closer to our essence than our social and religious ones’ (Summerfield, 1996: 6). This concept has been widely accepted and been used to describe reactions to trauma including work with both civilian and military casualties. As a result, in recent years, the response by western aid agencies during periods of war has been to fly out psychologists and psychiatrists to provide trauma counselling to war-affected populations. Such programmes have been established in Uganda, Mozambique, Liberia, Rwanda and many other countries both within and outside Africa.


Recently the use of PTSD as a diagnostic tool and the subsequent intervention that follows was extended to the experience of children in war including that of child soldiers.  Dodge and Raundalen who have identified PTSD in children, argue that the psychological effects of war on children is described ‘in terms of known psychological reaction patterns ranging from aggression and revenge (an aspect which we think is exaggerated) to anxiety, fear, grief and depression’ (Dodge and Raundalen, 1991). It is necessary to note that many western experts such as Winkelmann (1997) believe that children’s psycho-social responses to violence have universal features since the psycho- dynamic process is the same in all humans, regardless of age, culture and country of origin of the individual.


Due to this analytical framework, the most commonly used intervention for war-affected children are counselling and psychotherapy. The argument for this method of intervention is that counselling has the intention to give trauma survivors the opportunity to share experiences in a safe and understanding environment. The disclosure of individual thoughts, feelings and actions is believed ‘to facilitate emotional expressions, understandings, problem-solving and normalisation and to allow for the reconstruction of social networks’ (Rahman et al, 1999: 11). Proponents of this view point to cases where this individual model is seen to have been effective. UNICEF, an organisation which believes that counselling must be the cornerstone of rehabilitation, partly funds a centre in northern Uganda which rehabilitates the Acholi children abducted by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The centre, which provides a safe environment for children to talk and receive psychological support, is staffed by local social workers who believe that if they do not work with these children, they [the children] will not be accepted by their communities and will thus, return to the LRA (Litherand, 25th February 1998). Another example is Liberia where counsellors and social workers claimed to identify symptoms of PTSD in former child soldiers. Therefore, one of the groups that attempted to reintegrate former child soldiers in society  - the Children’s Assistance Programme (CAP) - ran three residences in which children received counselling. According to the Child Protection Committees of Sierra Leone, in the urban areas of Liberia, the input from ‘trauma counsellors’ did indeed prove to be beneficial (Child Protection Committees of Sierra Leone, March 1998: 4).


Thus, it can be seen that the level of the individual cannot be dismissed when considering rehabilitation strategies. However, it is necessary to be aware of the limitations of such an approach – the limits of individualism. The arguments against the individual-centred approach are numerous. The tendency of many experts to apply western diagnostic methods in non-western conflict settings, without understanding a child’s cultural and social context has been criticised. Derek Summerfield captures the sentiment against this approach when he says, ‘most trauma counselling is nonsense’ (quoted in Susan Litherand,  25th February 1998). Sarah Uppard from Save the Children’s Fund UK argues that SCF-UK does not use the individual model because they find it inappropriate; they prefer to concentrate on the community.  She went on to add that

SCF-UK does not favour individual trauma counselling because western                               psychiatrists can’t understand the experience of the children and what they need to be reintegrated into the society. It is also unsustainable because it can’t give every child individual attention. In addition it takes years’ (Interview with Sarah Uppard on 3rd   August 2000).


Thiele argues that western-style psychotherapy can have the effect of ‘individualising’ the suffering of the person involved and hence, is inappropriate and even harmful in more ‘socio-centric societies where the individual’s recovery is intimately bound up with the recovery of the wider community’ (Thiele, 1999: 17). Another objection to the application of the western models of psychiatry and psychology to the developing world, according to David Tolfree, is that they tend to see individual reactions to ‘traumatic’ events in isolation from the broader context in which they occur (Tolfree, 1996: 13). This method puts the responsibility on the individual rather than focusing on the need to rebuild an entire society damaged by war (Rahman et al., 1999:14).


In order to further understand the limitations of the individual model, it is necessary to consider examples where it was seen to be ineffective. Summerfield refers to Boothby (1992) who demonstrates that in Mozambique, interventions based on ‘western                               talk therapies’ were unsuccessful in that particular cultural, political, social and economic context (Summerfield, 1996: 18). Honwana, who provides further evidence to support this point, illustrates that the first group of child soldiers that came from the RENAMO camps was placed in a recuperation centre staffed by many child psychologists who went on to treat them. However, as Honwana shows, the experience proved to be unsuccessful ‘as the children were completely removed from their community and were asked to talk about their painful memories, as a way of healing’ (Honwana, 1999: 9). Traditional healers and local rituals involving the entire community (including the ancestors) were found to be more effective. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that Rahman et al refer to Parker (1996) whose study on the psychoanalytic and psychiatric approaches in individual responses to trauma led her to emphasise the limitations, ‘namely the danger of medicalising awful social problems and deflecting attention from national and international responsibilities’ (in Rahman et al., 1999:14).


The Community-Based Approach to Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Child Soldiers into Society


The reservations surrounding the utility of the western model of rehabilitation focusing on the individual in non-western contexts are indeed valid. Therefore, it is vital to go further and broaden the outlook and scope of interventions in this area. This means considering the merits of an approach centred on the community, rather than the individual. 


To fully appreciate the argument, it is necessary to take into account the values of ‘non-western’ peoples and the meanings they attach to events in their lives. According to Summerfield, people in developing countries have different notions of the ‘self’ in relation to others and the maintenance of harmonious relations within a family and community is generally given more significance than an individual’s own thoughts, emotions and aspirations (Summerfield, 1996: 6). Thus, it can be seen that, as Tolfree argues, such societies do indeed have a ‘collectivist quality’ and value such characteristics as co-operation, sharing and conformity (Tolfree, 1996: 12).


In such societies events such as conflicts may be experienced in shared rather than individualistic terms – a ‘we’ rather than an ‘I’ perception of events and experiences. According to Summerfield,

war is a collective experience and perhaps its primary impact on victims is through their witnessing the destruction of a social world embodying their history, identity and living values…….This is not a ‘private’ injury, being carried by a private individual’ (Summerfield, 1996: 19). 

He also refers to the Salvadoran psychologist Martin-Barro (1996) who wrote that after his country’s civil war, what remained traumatised was not just Salvadoran individuals, but Salvadoran society.


In the African context, Liberia presents a good case study. During the seven years of civil strife in that country no Liberian was left unscathed. Thousands were forced to flee their homes and very often, their country. The majority of the population experienced extreme violence – women and girls were raped, children were abducted by warring factions and property was destroyed. The Liberians were witnesses (as well as participants) to the destruction of their social, cultural and community structures. Therefore, it is possible to agree with Thiele when she states that ‘suffering is a societal experience and not a private one’ (Thiele, 1999: 10).


Therefore, cannot it be argued that if suffering is indeed a societal experience, then the healing process must also be?  Reichenberg and Friedman make a very interesting point:

the child’s identity is neither isolated from nor absorbed in the social fabric. It is apart and a part. Healing of trauma cannot be accomplished by an individual alone; it must take place in all of life’s relevant dimensions, that is, the context of family, community and culture (Reichenberg and Friedman, 1996: 318).


Many agencies and writers are beginning to see the value of approaches that emphasise collective action, build on traditional coping methods and focus on the community as the key to rehabilitation, rather than the individual. However, as Tolfree argues, these approaches are often seen as an addition, rather than a replacement to western                               therapeutic approaches. This is not satisfactory according to the experience of Radda Barnen (Save the Children Sweden) which has shown that more community-based approaches, building on existing resources, traditions, skills and coping mechanisms need to be seen as ‘the front door’ (Tolfree, 1996: 135).


 David Tolfree has established a community development framework that is now accepted by many non-governmental organisations such as Radda Barnen and SCF-UK. The characteristics of this approach include the following. Firstly, an emphasis is placed on the need for long term development and not just the more immediate relief of suffering. Secondly, an emphasis is also placed on the importance of the social context in which people experience stress, and not just individual suffering. Thirdly, the approach tends to see traumatic experience as one among many aspects of stress faced by people. Distressing experience of violence may be compounded by current difficulties; for example poverty, poor housing, unemployment, lack of social resources and so on. Fourthly, such programmes tend to focus on common needs within the community rather than the specific needs of individual (Ibid: 25-26). Thus, it can be seen that a community development approach provides a more flexible response that takes account of the social context, and incorporates the community in the process of defining and implementing solutions to their situation.


It is important to now consider the practices followed by NGOs on the ground. Sarah Uppard argues that SCF-UK practices the community-based approach in its programmes. Thus, instead of sending psychiatrists, they try to assess what is acceptable locally before implementing a programme. She also said that SCF-UK works with community groups in order for them [the community] to accept the children back into the community.


In the experience of SCF-UK reconciling the society to the child combatants has been easier than they thought it would be as there is willingness on the part of the communities to accept the children back. Once the children are returned home, there is a community- monitoring system based on local structures which provides support and supervision. Furthermore, SCF-UK works to provide the community with resources by helping local groups obtain funding for income generation projects (Interview with Sarah Uppard on 3rd August 2000).  This is a crucial factor to successful rehabilitation and reintegration.


SCF-UK’s programme in Liberia is an example of this approach. In addition to the community-based approach followed, the children were enrolled in an educational programme lasting six weeks. It is crucial to note that education is regarded as not only the key to successful rehabilitation of the individual, but for the society in general. Whilst the younger boys received basic primary education, the older boys (aged over fifteen years) received vocational training in order for them to be able to earn a living once they left the centre, making them an asset to the community to which they were returned (Schembri, 1997: 18-22). As McCallin states, the willingness to work facilitates the children’s re-attachment to their families as they will be ‘valued for their contribution to the productive work of the families’ (Margaret McCallin, 1998: 72). Furthermore, in Liberia, Schembri found that community acceptance was half the struggle because ‘without the community’s encouragement and support, it would be difficult for families to even consider taking their children back’ (Schembri, 1997: 19). Thus, community meetings were held for several weeks involving chiefs, elders and the families before a decision was made on whether the child should be accepted back.


In Mozambique and Angola, Honwana argues that there were local ways of understanding and treating war trauma. The notion of ‘social pollution’ was an important factor in the context of post-war healing in both countries as war-related psychological trauma was directly linked to the anger of the spirits of those killed during the war towards those who had killed or mistreated them in life (Honwana, 1999: 10). Thus, individuals who were involved in the war were believed to be polluted by the spirit of the dead. However, as Honwana shows, ‘these spirits constitute a threat not only to the individual who committed the offence but to the whole group, since they can afflict family, relatives and even passers-by’ (Ibid: 10). As a result of this perspective of the world, soldiers and refugees returning home after war, were believed to be ‘contaminators of the social body’ (Ibid: 10).  Therefore, ‘the cleansing process is seen as a fundamental condition for collective protection against pollution and for the social reintegration of war-affected people into society’ (Ibid: 10). Once the children (and other combatant groups) were cleansed, they were free to socialise with relatives and friends.


It can indeed be argued that going beyond the level of the individual and focusing on the community as the unit of intervention is important for successful reintegration. As Bonnie Winfield argues convincingly, ‘service to the community presents real world opportunities to confront problems, consider alternatives and find solutions’ (Winfield, 1999:289).


At the same time, it is vital to realise that the community is not omniscient or omnipotent. Similar to the individual approach, that of the community also has its limitations. In instances where the community is willing to receive a child, they might not be able to do so for economic reasons. As mentioned previously, a disproportionate amount of child soldiers come from poor and/or marginalised families. It is these very communities which suffer the worst deprivations as a result of the conflict, and are even more impoverished than they were when the war started. Sara Gibbs discovered in Mozambique that for most communities ‘a concern for broader social and economic reconstruction (is) the most significant factor in the remaking of their worlds’ (quoted in Brett and McCallin, 1998: 134).


With regard to Liberia, Schembri argues that although reintegration would not be successful unless the community was ready and able to receive the children, there were many families and communities who did not have the resources to be able to provide for the children. To compound this situation there was no social safety net (for example a welfare system) for them to fall back on when times became hard (Schembri, 1997: 21). Thus, there is a need to empower local capacities. It has been suggested by various commentators that ‘to facilitate smooth reintegration, a reasonably solid economic base should be assured – families and communities should be included in a micro-project programme to help them generate their own revenues’ (Ronkema, 1997).


Furthermore, some communities are not willing to accept the children back. Sarah Uppard stated that in Sierra Leone and Liberia there were some problems with communities receiving the returning children. In Liberia, as a result of this, the government gave land for the children to build their own huts in order for them to be able to provide for themselves (Interview with Sarah Uppard on 3rd August 2000). Krijn Peters added to this when he stated that although the western idea is that the children would return to their families and communities, he discovered that in Liberia only five percent actually did return to their families (Interview with Krijn Peters on August 20th 2000). Thus, in his opinion, it is necessary to rethink what rehabilitation/reintegration is and consider alternatives to the family/community; for example, children living together in peer groups. He added that providing children with jobs is key to settling them back into civilian life.


One of the last limitations of the community-based approach is that even in societies in which the emphasis is placed on the collective body, rather than that of the individual, there is likely to be a group of people who do require and benefit from the individual approach as a result of mental illness. It is crucial that this aspect is not overlooked. As Rahman et al. argue,  ‘it is important to identify and target vulnerable groups within the community (being aware of problems of stigmatisation though) and not to treat the community as a homogeneous entity’ (Rahman et al., 1999: 18).


From the discussion above it is clear that widening the outlook and scope of intervention to incorporate the community as well as the individual is not enough to achieve successful reintegration. It is necessary to go even further and consider national level reconstruction.


Incorporating Nation-wide Strategies into Rehabilitation and Reintegration Approaches


In theory the argument for this approach is simple but in practice, it is difficult to implement and sustain. Although it has been argued that it is too idealistic to discuss the need for national level reform, it is necessary to do so in order to fully appreciate the topic under consideration.


The idea behind the focus on nation-wide restructuring and reconstructing is that even if you reintegrate the individual and rehabilitate the community simultaneously without restructuring the wider society, rehabilitation and reintegration will not be successful. Thus, there is a need to develop the nation economically, socially and politically. In this way the reasons that brought children (and other societal actors) to participate in war can be altered. The evidence supplied by academics as well as practitioners in support of this argument is abundant. Thiele refers to Bracken et al who suggest that recovery over time is intrinsically linked to the reconstruction of social and economic networks, cultural institutions and respect for human rights (Thiele, 1999: 17).


In Mozambique and Angola, Honwana shows that although the children themselves and their families and communities worked on a psychological and communal level to restore some kind of ‘normality’ to their lives, ‘the fact that the countryside remains as poor as it was when they left, (no jobs, no vocational schools) does not help their reintegration into society’ (Honwana, 1999: 12). This was especially the case in Angola and as a result, some children were re-recruited by armed groups.


Cohn and Goodwin-Gill add to this point of view when they state that prevention strategies as well rehabilitation and reintegration approaches must address the macro-level issues of the conflict as well as the more subjective factors personal to the child and his or her ecology (Cohn and Goodwin-Gill: 1994: 72).


McConnan shows the concern among practitioners by arguing that if the structural factors that caused the recruitment of children in the first place are not addressed, children will return to the military forces or suffer further economic and social marginalisation (McConnan, 2000: 11). In the case of Liberia, Schembri discovered that it was important to remember that the problems facing the ex-child soldiers could not be addressed in isolation. Rather, it was necessary to strengthen welfare structures as well rehabilitate the country’s infrastructure and investment in order to build up the national economy (Schembri, 1997: 21). Schembri believed that the presidential election, called in 1997, was the first step towards achieving post-war recovery.


In practice incorporating strategies to bring about national level rehabilitation and restructuring is extremely difficult. Sarah Uppard echoed this finding when she stated that although the importance of strategies focusing on the national level is recognised by SCF-UK and other agencies, they are not incorporated into programmes very well as it is easier to reach the local community. In addition links between those working at the national level and those at the community level are not always very good (Interview with Sarah Uppard on 3rd August 2000).


It is essential to realise that once national level reforms are taken into account, it is necessary to go further and consider the international community because of the ‘domino effect’ between the two levels. As Krijn Peters asked, ‘if you consider the national governments, then you have to consider the role of the international community and so where do you draw the line? Where do you stop’ (Interview with Krijn Peters on 20th August 2000)?


The majority of contemporary wars take place in the developing world and as a result of the violence and destruction, these countries are further impoverished. This begs the following question: this being the case, how then, can the governments of these so-called ‘developing’ nations implement the necessary policies to support community rehabilitation, and thus individual reintegration into society? These policies include investing in infrastructure, health, education and employment. Some governments in these countries are indeed irresponsible and corrupt, but it has been argued that there are strategies that can be taken on an international level that would contribute to the post-war recovery process.


It has been suggested that debt relief by the international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or by the private-sector creditors who lent heavily in the late 1970s and early 1980s, could release millions of dollars for investment in child welfare programmes. McConnan adds that donors should provide longer term funding for programmes that support reintegration of former child combatants in the context of programmes supporting the social and economic recovery of the communities to which they are returning (McConnan, 2000: 11).


From the above discussion, it is possible to understand why incorporating national (and as a result international) level strategies into rehabilitation and reintegration approaches have been regarded as idealistic, but not impossible. On a national level, NGOs can lobby governments (and many do) to improve access to and the quality of education and employment; they can encourage and call for political reforms such as good governance, accountability and free and fair elections. On an international level, NGOs can lobby (and again, many do) the international financial institutions to reconsider the existing arrangements made regarding the payment of poor countries’ debt; they can also advocate for the reform of the structural adjustment programme (SAPs) which has particular adverse effects for women and children. In order for the rehabilitation of the community and reintegration of the individual child into society to be effective, it is crucial that programmes take these issues into account and work towards achieving these very important goals.


Therefore, after having considered the approaches to rehabilitation and reintegration on  both an individual and community level as well as the need to incorporate national and international strategies into such approaches, it can indeed be said that the three levels are interdependent and cannot succeed in isolation. Despite this observation, it is useful to raise the following question: which, if any, is the most important element in this mesh of approaches? The evidence provided above allows it to be concluded that a national (and thus international) strategy is the key to open the door towards a more effective form of the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers into society.  


















In this dissertation the different approaches towards the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers into society have been comprehensively analysed and it was illustrated that the limits of individualism were indeed serious. However, it was also shown that there were limits to ‘communalism’ as well. Thus, for a programme to be effective rehabilitation will have to be based on the continuous interaction on the three levels of the individual, the community and the nation with a stronger emphasis on the last dimension. 


 In chapter 1 the issue of child soldiers was shown to be a historical and modern phenomenon as well as a global and African issue although it was acknowledged that the ‘child soldier problem’ in Africa was indeed extremely serious. In order to shed more light on the topic, who the child soldiers were, their recruitment by armed groups, the reasons behind their use, the functions they performed and the particular subject of girl soldiers were considered.


As the use of children in wars has serious implications for society (local, national and global), it was necessary to go further and analyse the different approaches used to achieve ‘effective’ rehabilitation and reintegration in chapter 2. The individual-centred model was analysed and shown as useful but with severe limitations which thus, means that programmes have to go beyond that level and focus on the community as the unit of intervention in order to come closer to achieving a more ‘effective’ form of rehabilitation and reintegration. However, as the community is not all-powerful and all-knowing, it was argued that it is necessary to go even further and incorporate national and consequently, international level strategies into programmes. Therefore, it was concluded that in order to achieve an ‘effective’ form of rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers into society, these three levels (four including the international) need to be combined into one approach and interact with each other on a continuous basis – continuously feeding and feeding off the other.


Child soldiers and their rehabilitation and reintegration into society after civil war are very broad subjects and this dissertation has covered aspects that can be further developed and added to the existing literature. There are two of particular interest. Firstly, it would be interesting to focus in great depth on the experience of girl soldiers in conflicts in order to appreciate their special requirements of rehabilitation and reintegration programmes. Secondly, a study focusing on the cultural relativity of the notion of ‘child’ and ‘childhood’ would be a useful contribution to the existing literature. If the arguments for cultural relativity are pertinent, it would be interesting to see how they can co-exist with the globalisation process which is now a dominant feature of our contemporary world.


With regard to the specific subject under discussion in this dissertation, it has been shown that rehabilitation and reintegration programmes are necessary and are likely to be more successful if they focus on the national and international strategies as well as the community and individual levels. It is fitting, then, to conclude with the words of David Tolfree who states:

By considering the whole range of problems and needs in the context of both the internal and external resources available, we may avoid a convergent view which quickly ‘locks in’ to one particular approach without first considering a range of options (Tolfree, 1996: 28).    








































Books and Journals


Bangura, Yussuf, ‘Understanding the Political and Cultural Dynamics of the Sierra Leone War: A Critique of Paul Richards’ Fighting for the Rain Forest’ in Africa Development, Vol.XXII No. 3 or 4, 1997


Brett, Rachel ‘Child Soldiers’ in Amnesty International, In the Firing Line: War and Children’s Rights, London: Amnesty International, 1999


Brett, Rachel and McCallin, Margaret, Children: The Invisible Soldiers, Stockholm: Radda Barnen, 1998


Cohn, Ilene and Goodwin-Gill, Guy, Child Soldiers: The Role of Children in Armed Conflict, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994


Dodge, Cole P and Raundalen, Magne, Reaching Children in War: Sudan, Uganda and Mozambique, Uppsala and Bergen: Sigma Forlag and the Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1991


Herdal, Inger, ‘Rehabilitation of Child Soldiers,interACT, No.4, November 1999


Honwana, Alcinda, ‘Negotiating Post-war Identities: Child Soldiers in Mozambique and Angola’ CODESRIA Bulletin 1 and 2, 1999


Kuper, Jenny, International Law Concerning Child Civilians in Armed Conflict, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997


McCallin, Margaret – ‘Community Involvement in the Social Reintegration of Child Soldiers’, in Patrick J Bracken and Celia Petty (eds.), Rethinking the Trauma of War, London and New York: Free Association of Books Ltd, 1998


Peters, Krijn and Richards, Paul, ‘Fighting with Open Eyes: Youth Combatants Talking About War in Sierra Leone’ in Patrick J Bracken and Celia Petty (eds.), Rethinking the Trauma of War, London and New York: Free Association of Books Ltd, 1998


Reichenberg, Dita and Friedman, Sara, ‘Traumatised Children: Healing the Invisible Wounds of Children in War: A Rights Approach - The Contribution of UNICEF’ in Yael Danieli, Nigel S. Rodley and Lars Weisaeth (eds.) International Responses to Traumatic Stress, New York: Combany Inc, 1996


Richards, Paul, Fighting for the Rain Forest: War, Youth and Resources in Sierra Leone, Oxford and New Hampshire: James Currey and Heinnemann, 1996


Summerfield, Derek, ‘The Impact of War and atrocity on Civilian Populations: Basic Principles for NGO Interventions and A Critique of Psychosocial Trauma Projects,’ RRN Network Paper 14, 1996


Thiele, Annelies, Towards a Community Based Care for War-Traumatised People: A Case Study on the Effects of War on the Psychosocial Well-Being of the Liberian People, Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Institute, 1999


Tolfree, David, Restoring Playfulness: Different Approaches to Assisting Children who are Psychologically Affected by War or Displacement, Stockholm: Radda Barnen, 1996



Wessells, Mike, ‘Child Soldiers’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 1997


Winfield, Bonnie, ‘Community-Based Service: Recreating the Beloved Community’ in Linda Rennie Forcey and Ian Murray Harris (eds.), Peacebuilding for Adolescents: Strategies for Educators and Community Leaders, New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1999




Amnesty International, Sierra Leone: Childhood – A Casualty of Conflict, London: AI, August 2000


Black, Maggie, Children in Conflict: A Child Rights Emergency, London: UK Committee for UNICEF, 1998


Cape Town Annotated Principles and Best Practice on the Prevention of Recruitment of Children into the Armed Forces and Demobilization and Social Reintegration of Child Soldiers in Africa Adopted in Cape Town on 30th April 1997


The Child Protection Committees of Sierra Leone, Position Paper on Psychosocial Intervention for Children in Need of Special Protection, Freetown: Child Protection Committees of Sierra Leone, March 1998


Human Rights Watch, Easy Prey: Child Soldiers in Liberia, Human Rights Watch Children’s Project, New York: Human Rights, 1994


McCallin, Margaret, The Reintegration of Young Ex-Combatants into Civilian Life: A Report of the International Labour Office, Geneva: International Labour Office, 1995


McConnan, Isobel, Child Soldiers and Children Associated with the Fighting Forces: Draft Report of a Desk Study, London: Save the Children UK, February 2000


Rahman, E. Abdul, Chuladal, M, Herlihy, B, Stafford, L and Graser, K (eds.) Children, Conflict and Mental Health: A Research Report and Analysis Commissioned by UNICEF, London: UK Committee for UNICEF, 1999



Romkema, Hans, Report on the Child Soldiers Conference at The Hague, the Netherlands on 20th November 1997

Schembri, Gabrielle, Liberia’s Ex-Child Fighters: A Narrative Account of the Work of Save the Children UK in Liberia, London: SCF-UK, 1997




Newspaper Articles


Litherand, Susan, ‘Children: Doubtful Value of Counseling for Child Victims of War’ InterPress Service, 25th February 1998


Macklin, William R, ‘Little Hands Well-Armed’, The Inquirer, 30th January 2000


Ojukutu-Macaulay, Winston, ‘Children with Guns…..’, The Quill, 30th July 1997





Keen, Rhona (Amnesty International) – 14th May 2000, London, UK


Peters, Krijn ( Save the Children’s Fund UK) – 20th August 2000, London, UK


Uppard, Sarah (Save the Children’s Fund UK) – 3rd August 2000, London, UK