Réinsertion des enfants soldat : un expérience du Congo
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In 2003, The Community of Free Pentecostal Churches in Africa (CELPA), cooperating with the Norwegian Pentecostal Foreign Mission (PYM) and the Centre for Intercultural Communication (SIK), started a project directed towards integrating former child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), hence contributing to peace and reconciliation in the country. The project is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This paper draws on the experiences made since 2003. Thanks to its size, decentralized structure and well organized institution, CELPA was capable of starting the process of identifying and reintegrating child soldiers at an early stage, even before official governmental institutions had been established for this purpose. Since the project started in 2003 over 4000 former child solders, of whom 1400 are girls, have passed through the different phases of the reintegration programs established and run by CELPA. Since no complete program was available on the subject of reintegrating child soldiers, CELPA has developed both strategy and content for the reintegration program during the lifetime of the project The project consists of the following phases: 1) Returning the former child soldier to his/her family 2) Psycho-social training 3) Information about human rights and childrens rights 4) Re-entering school 5) Vocational training (vocational training depends on the following: the wishes of the child, how realistic this wish may be, and the local demand for this profession). Vocational training lasts three to four months. In the end, the child receives a small tool-box enabling her/him to execute his profession. 6) Follow-up The project takes the shape of a dialogue between the local villages and the professional structure of CELPA and it works in close cooperation with several institutions, both on international, national and local level, but with a strong decentralized focus, drawing on local resources from the village/community where the child is reintegrated.