Discuss the similarities and differences in the recruitment experiences of the children in the three scenarios described above?
1. All situations filled in a vacuum targeting vulnerable persons.
2. In the first two scenarios the armed forces took on an active role to encourage volunteer recruitment through connecting to national/cultural identity.
3. The armed forces in the first two scenarios provided an opportunity for civilians to have more control over their environment through direct participation.
1. All three scenarios filled different political, community and cultural vacuums.
2. One group used forceful recruitment vs. the other groups that used voluntary enlistment. The voluntary enlistment manipulated cultural, social and political needs in the community.
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?
1. Children who took on an active role maybe less traumatized then those forcible recruited due to their perception of control in initiating their time in the armed force. However, the outcome of the conflict/war may influence their reception back into their community/ society as well as their own psychological adjustment (i.e. guilt for volunteering to participate/active role).
2. Children in scenario three could be viewed as victims and the community maybe more forgiving and accepting of the situation. Whereas, children who actively engaged in the conflict they could be unwelcome in their community.
3. Children who volunteered to participate in the conflict may not see the benefit of being removed from the environment in which they enlisted. This would create challenges in effective reintegration into civilian life.
What do you think of the descriptions of children who ‘joined voluntarily’?
1. The lack of resources, social networks and general security play an influential role in motivating children into joining armed forces.
2. Familial roles and a sense of belonging play an integral role in encouraging children to volunteer. For instance if family and friends are part of the armed group they may seem less threatening and attractive to children in creating a sense of security and protection.
In what ways do these case studies aid an understanding of the local situation?
These case studies demonstrate a variety of ways in which children can be recruited into armed forces. All of the situations stem from a lack of resources that may not be fully understood by developed nations that are coming in with reintegration programs. The economic and social drivers behind recruitment need to be addressed in the local context instead of by outside perceptions of the problems.