Long-time friend and donor to the Dallaire Initiative, Jim Stanford, recently made a substantial personal commitment that will support our work for many years to come. His enduring partnership with the Dallaire Initiative through the Founders Fund has been critical to keeping our operations going and allows us the flexibility and freedom to pursue strategic opportunities. Unrestricted gifts like Jim
Remote Delivery of Training
Due to the travel and assembly restrictions related to COVID-19, the Dallaire Initiative has come up with a creative approach to our international training. Fortunately, Rwanda already has a robust cadre of Dallaire Initiative trained facilitators on whom we can lean to deliver our training. As this highly skilled and motivated cadre was eager to get started, we only needed to find a way to reinforce and enable their efforts logistically so they could deliver our training packages from start to finish.
Our approach was to leverage technological tools in order to share the most up to date curriculum, briefing packages, and course content with our cadre of Rwandan facilitators. Concurrently, Dallaire Initiative trainers will conduct a series of live, virtual training sessions on what we call ‘Lead Facilitator Training’. This training is not meant to cover the content — as these instructors are already experienced and knowledgeable
In late January 2020, a team from the Dallaire Initiative travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to meet with top government officials: the Ministers of Defense, Interior, Human Rights, Gender and Family, and Youth. While there, the team also met with Members of the Communications Branch of the Forces Arm
We are very pleased to announce that in April 2020, Dalhousie University’s Board of Governors officially approved the establishment of the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security. The Dallaire Initiative hopes to formally announce and celebrate this change in name and status with partners, friends and supporters in Fall 2020.
The newly-established Institute will seek to deepen collaborations with three main faculties at Dalhousie — Arts and Social Sciences, Health and the School of Law — in addition to establishing a Certificate in Children, Peace and Security, a Dalhousie research network and working group, as well as increasing our capacity to conduct guest lectures and partner on research proposals and grants in order to conduct mutually reinforcing, complementary, and groundbreaking research. This work will extend to deepening our connections to post-secondary and research institutions around the world, especially in our countries of operation.
The Dallaire Institute will continue pushing forward with our important work to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers through practical, prevention-oriented training with the security sector in numerous countries around the world, from our three locations in Halifax, Juba and Kigali.
(PHOTO) Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director of the Dallaire Institute, provides a lecture on International Humanitarian Law to senior-year law students at the University of Juba (June 2019).
Civil Society Organization workshops in South Sudan
- In September 2019, the Dallaire Initiative collaborated with three community partners in South Sudan to develop curriculum and facilitate workshops: Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), World Vision International (WVI), and SWIGO (Support for Women in Governance). The 3 curriculum packages designed for our joint projects with JHR, WVI and SWIGO were designed with a prevention-oriented and capacity building methodology to enable key stakeholders to be force multipliers in creating awareness about recruitment and use of children as soldiers, as well as increasing skills and strategies to develop protective factors for vulnerable children.
- JHR: The JHR workshop was very successful with 15 journalist participants. The workshop included a 2-day classroom training on ethical human rights reporting, the issue of child soldiering, and how the media can be used as a tool for preventing recruitment. Following the classroom training, the participants conducted a 4-day field mission to Bor with representatives from the Dallaire Initiative and JHR. The result was the production of high quality and professional print, radio, and television features on local experiences with child soldiering. The journalists commented that they were introduced to a plethora of new journalistic practices, and most notably, this was the first time they were made aware of the influence the media can have in preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. Following the classroom and field training, many journalists expressed that they felt empowered to continue to use their role as journalists to make a difference on the issue. One participant (September 2019) stated: “The event is so good; we have learned a lot things that will improve lives of children in the country.” The workshop resulted in requests from all 15 participants and their media houses for more resources (technical skills and support) that could assist them in raising community awareness about the prevention of the recruitment and use of children through print, radio and TV programs.
- SWIGO: In partnership with SWIGO, the workshop trained and mentored 15 women leaders from various women-led organizations in South Sudan. Following a 2-day training workshop, the project participants made action plans on facilitating community dialogue or a community-based activity focused on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers in South Sudan.
- World Vision: In partnership with WVI, the Dallaire Initiative conducted a joint project that trained and mentored 12 World Vision Child Protection Focal Points who work at WVI’s Yambio Field Office. The aim of the project was to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Yambio – Gbudue State by further strengthening the capacity of WVI staff to implement a series of prevention-focused, community-based initiatives in line with WVI’s community and systems-based approach to child protection. Following a 2-day training workshop in Juba, and upon their return to Yambio, the participants began implementing community action plans for the coming 6 months that focused on the prevention of recruitment and re-recruitment of child soldiers in the region.
Vancouver Principles Workshop
- On 14 November 2019 the Dallaire Initiative and the Rwanda Defence Force cohosted a workshop that brought together regional countries and partners in Kigali to discuss ways to prevent children from being used as weapons of war. The workshop coincided with the 2nd anniversary of the Vancouver Principles, a Canadian-led initiative which seeks improve child protection standards by nations that contribute troops to UN Peacekeeping missions.
- The workshop theme was, “Honouring two years of the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers with a focus on effective implementation.”. The theme was chosen to highlight the VPs in responding to the issue of recruitment and use of child soldiers around the world.
- Rwanda is a founding endorser and the first African country to endorse the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers. Rwanda also spearheaded the 2015 Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians in UN peacekeeping.
- The workshop aimed to raise awareness of the VPs and provide a platform for stakeholders to agree on a harmonized strategy for the implementation of the VPs. This included building strategies on how to engage those states that haven’t yet endorsed the VPs, share best practices from different countries, and problem-solve anticipated challenges with implementation.
- In addition to high-level representation from across the Rwandan government and UN agencies, the workshop was attended by delegates from nine countries, including Canada, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic, Republic of Congo.
- Launched in February 2019, our Knowledge for Prevention (K4P) project aims to develop predictive models for better estimating numbers of child soldiers, as well as incorporate child-centred indicators within early warning system monitoring of mass atrocities. Through this knowledge development, K4P seeks to improve prevention mechanisms to better protect children in conflict environments.
- In October 2019, the Dallaire Initiative, in partnership with the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the University of Oslo, hosted an international symposium for the K4P project. It brought together a diverse group of academics, practitioners, and policy makers with expertise in child soldiering, peacekeeping, genocide forecasting, peace research, and international law to discuss the project’s approach and foster a network of like-minded individuals to improve research, knowledge sharing, and programming related to K4P and the objectives of the Dallaire Initiative.