The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers: social and psychological transformation in Sierra Leone

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Abstract

This article gives an overview of the processes of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers in Sierra Leone. In contrast to many other situations, in Sierra Leone there has been an effective, integrated response involving a large number of civil society organizations and committees as well as the government. Nine areas of intervention were identified as having contributed to successful family and community reintegration: community sensitization, formal disarmament and demobilization, a period of transition in an Interim Care Centre, tracing and family mediation, family reunification, traditional cleansing and healing ceremonies and religious support, school or skills training, ongoing access to health care for those in school or training, and individual supportive counselling, facilitation and encouragement. Most children who have been demobilized appear to be doing as well as other children in their community.

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