Japan, UN support reintegration of child soldiers in Eastern DRC

Oct 7, 2015

Kinshasa -- Japan is contributing USD 4 million to help with the reintegration of former child soldiers and vulnerable children – including boys and girls who were victims of sexual violence -- in the province of North Kivu, situated in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The programme will be implemented in collaboration with the Government of DRC, the National Institute for Professional Preparedness (INPP) -- a public institution which promotes vocational learning -- as well as UNWomen, the World Food Programme (WFP), UNDP and UNICEF.

For Shigeru Ushio, the Ambassador of Japan in DRC, “peace consolidation is one of the pillars of Japanese cooperation, as agreed with the Congolese government in the latest Joint Commission of Cooperation, held in May. During the UN General Assembly held in New York in September, Mr. Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, mentioned the technical collaboration between the Congolese national police force and JICA in their joint programme with UNDP. I am convinced that this DDR project will add to the list of projects that contribute to the consolidation of peace in DRC”.

In total, the programme will allow for the reintegration of 328 children formerly associated with armed groups and vulnerable children in schools. It also will help feed 13,000 children in the primary schools in Rutshuru Territory over a period of nine months. In addition, a training centre will be built and equipped in the area of Bwisha, to allow vulnerable youth to benefit from professional training that will facilitate their social and economic reintegration. The training offered by the centre will include carpentry, mechanics, agriculture, and handicrafts. More than 70,000 households will benefit from this intervention.

In order to prevent child soldiers from being stigmatized, other children, themselves vulnerable, will also participate in the initiative. Specifically, as foreseen in the operational framework implemented in the country, after they are surveyed and registered by UNICEF, the youngest children will go to school, while the others may go straight to INPP, where they will undergo training with Japan’s support.

WFP will provide food for school cafeterias and training locations. Once the children get their diplomas, UNDP will hand them a reinsertion kit so they can find work and gain their autonomy.

In parallel, UNDP will sponsor one of the children’s parents so they can also generate their own livelihoods on a temporary basis. UNWomen and UNICEF will reach out to communities to prevent further sexual and gender-based violence. Many of the mothers of the targeted children have been victims of sexual violence. The programme will rely on the expertise of the Special Representative of the Head of State for the Fight against Sexual Violence and the Recruitment of Child Soldiers to identify them.

Contact information

For more information, please contact:
- Office of the Special Representative of the Head of State for the Fight against Sexual Violence and the Recruitment of Child Soldiers in DRC: Gladys Mambulu- Email : gmambulu@stopdrcsexualviolence.org
-UNWOMEN : jules.mulimbi@unwomen.org
-WFP : olivier.leblanc@wfp.org; claude.kalinga@wfp.org; jacques.david@wfp.org
-UNICEF : Yves Willemot - Email : ywillemot@unicef.org
-UNDP : Etienne de Souza - E-mail : etienne.desouza@undp.org

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