• Discuss the similarities and differences in the recruitment experiences of the children in the three scenarios described above
    • Similarities
      • In both A and B, children gain a sense of identity or security from the recruitment. In A, some children volunteered to fight for their country, and others did so to gain revenge for wrongs done to their relatives. In B, children may identify more as community members (specifically adult ones) after going through the traditional cults of initiation and ritual symbolism.
      • In both B and C, there is targeted recruitment to certain groups of children. In B, young males are targeted for the rites of passage into adulthood. In C, youth ages 10-15 are targeted, specifically unaccompanied children, children from female-headed households, orphans and children from vulnerable families.
    • Differences
      • In A, the recruitment is government lead. Since the government and/or military normally run DDR, this may affect the DDR process.
      • In B, the recruitment is identity based – you will be stronger than anyone else, the use of cultural identity and beliefs.
      • In C, the recruitment is forceful and against the will of the children/families. While communities may believe that rebel forces are supposed to be liberating the community, the rebels are instead targeting vulnerable children.
  • What kind of impact do you think the differing recruitment experiences might have on children associated with an armed group in terms of future development?
    • Different experiences with different groups can change perception of who is supposed to protect you.
    • A – The State is supposed to promote, protect, and fulfill human rights but in this case, they not only fail to do so, but also violate human rights. Who can the kids turn to?
    • A – Because recruitment is “voluntary”, children and their families may feel a sense of pride by taking up arms to defend their country.
    • B – Civil Defense Forces are supposed to protect the community, whereas with recruitment the children may feel forced into dangerous situations by their protectors.
    • C – Rebel Forces are supposed to liberate the community and “Fight the power”. They end up exploiting the children, and the children don’t have any protection from the rebel forces. Vulnerability to outside forces.
    • C – Because recruitment is forced in the traditional sense, the children may have more issues with trust, a sense of security, lack of obedience to authority, trouble with re-integration.
    • Because recruitment is voluntarily, children in case A and B may have ethical problem, would they know that killing people is bad? Children in case C are forced to be soldiers, so they might know that killing people is a bad thing.
  • What do you think of the descriptions of children who ‘joined voluntarily’?
    • A – Socioeconomic factors can push children to “join voluntarily” in order to secure food, money, shelter, etc.
    • B – While it may be “voluntary” now, there is potential for the Kamajor cult to become a customary practice/rite of passage. The children could also be 'voluntarily' joining due to family pressure into adulthood could lead parents to force their children to join forces.
  • In what ways do these case studies aid an understanding of the local situation?
    • Gives a context to each situation, so instead of giving a cookie-cutter response, these case studies can allow us to look at each situation uniquely and respond accordingly.
    • These studies challenge us because the local situation seems to be lacking in psychosocial support. Often we imagine that there is assistance for these people when they go back, however, in resource poor settings, this is often not the case.