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.