Children's Rights Upfront Approach
A Children’s Rights Upfront (CRU) Approach seeks to elevate children’s well-being higher up on the international peace and security agenda both in terms of making it a priority for all actors, as well as by ensuring children and youth participate in peace processes that impact their future. In the first instance, efforts focus on points of collaboration that aim to highlight the need to protect the rights of society’s most vulnerable – children. By agreeing to make children a priority, this approach can build bridges between parties in the peace process and open space for dialogue in what may appear to be an intractable conflict. This can lead to increased confidence and trust, as well as concrete and measurable steps on the road to peace.
The Dallaire Initiative focuses on filling gaps in knowledge and practice to amplify current efforts by international organizations, non-governmental organizations, governments, legal experts and child protection advocates to prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers in an overall effort to better protect children. Strategic complementarity is the exchange of information, sharing of resources, coordination of strategic objectives and co-implementation of programs amongst a range of actors from child protection agencies, to multilateral organizations, local and national social service providers, legal bodies, police, military and security sectors with a view to establishing more effective collaboration to prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers.
As an organization, we are uniquely placed to work with security sector actors around the world. Our founder, retired Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, has well-established expertise, credibility, and legitimacy with the security sector and in peace operations. In addition, under the leadership of our Executive Director, Dr. Shelly Whitman, we have built a strong team that possesses expertise in child protection, researchers, field knowledge and affecting policy experts on new approaches to protecting children more effectively through our work with the security sector.
We are global leaders in the fight to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers. We deliver tactical, prevention-oriented training to security sector actors, to promote broader security sector reform.
Our preventative training changes attitudes, behaviours and policies of security sector actors, allowing them to counter-act the issue of child soldiers effectively. The Dallaire Initiative’s training produces better, more specialized soldiers, police, and peacekeepers. This represents a strategic investment that over the long term produces more cost-effective solutions.
Research & Learning
The Dallaire Initiative has been housed at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada since January 2010. Interdisciplinary and applied research is used to develop innovative and effective tools, policies and practices that help our partners implement a CRU Approach focused on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. Since 2015, we have now built significant momentum in the consolidation of our global presence through relationships and memoranda of understandings (MoUs) with states and multilateral institutions, the development of policy frameworks and the creation of world-renowned research.
Applied Research: Interdisciplinary and applied research is used to develop innovative and effective tools, policies and practices that help our partners implement a CRU Approach focused on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
Influence Policy & Doctrine Development: High-level advocacy activities to create and promote the political will to draft and implement international and national policies, peace processes, and legal frameworks with a CRU Approach.