Reintegrating Girls and Boys Formerly Associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups: A case study from Central African Republic (CAR)

This case study describes Plan International’s community-based reintegration programmes for girls and boys released from armed groups in Central African Replublic (CAR).

The outbreak of violent conflict in CAR in December 2013 led to mass displacement, leaving 2.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance - half of them children. In the provinces of Mambere-Kadei, Ouham and Lobaye, Plan International provides a comprehensive integrated child protection, psychosocial and education programme, aimed at both preventing child recruitment as well as supporting the reintegration of former child solders, unaccompanied and separated children and other vulnerable children into the community.

Plan International implements multiple strategies to identify girls and boys and young people (formerly) associated with armed forces and armed groups and support their reintegration back into their communities. Through community-based support programmes such as supporting temporary foster families, forming and supporting youth groups, operating Child Friendly Spaces, and community outreach activities former child soldiers receive the care and support they need to recover and go back to normal life.

Achievements include the strong involvement of parents in psychosocial interventions, which has reinforced both parents’ capacity to care for their children as well as supported the prevention of child recruitment. Strengthening local capacities to identify and respond to child protection issues including recruitment has been challenging due to the lack of preexisting human resources, structures and financial resources in the community and in local Government structures. A key lesson learned is to provide intensive mentoring and support to community-based structures in the early phase of the programme, as well as continued technical and operational support to local Government structures to strengthen formal child protection services.

Published 2019-01-07