Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia

by ACTION10
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia
Help Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers in Liberia

Background

The world watched as Liberian children as young as ten years old were exploited as armed combatants. We have built a residential facility in Little Bassa, Liberia where we want to provide former child soldiers a three-month program to help them recover from their trauma and obtain the skills necessary for social reintegration, taking care of a family and employment.

Project update

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected people's lives since is started one and a half years ago. This also made it more difficult to operate projects and businesses in a normal way. Going foward, we will make our best efforts to continue with our current and new initiatives to help reintegrate former child soldiers. This involves education (for example computer schools), councelling, medical care, and supporting workers (such as fishermen) becoming an integrated part of society. All of our efforts are done to move one step in the right direction to our long-term goal which is removing personal and social barriers to integration and providing a more stable future for Liberia.

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Background

The world watched as Liberian children as young as ten years old were exploited as armed combatants. We have built a residential facility in Little Bassa, Liberia where we want to provide former child soldiers a three-month program to help them recover from their trauma and obtain the skills necessary for social reintegration, taking care of a family and employment.

COVID-19 awareness

As mentioned briefly in the last report, HR&S (Human Rights & Science) – Action10 supported the HR&S Coaches COVID-19 awareness campaign in Little Bassa, Liberia. HR&S senior expert health advisers supported with information and funding to be able to help the initiative. This campaign was highly appreciated by the participants.

Knowledge sharing seminar

To be able to pursue initiatives in Little Bassa, it is important to make sure that local mental health care providers and coaches are well-educated in areas covering mental health. As a part of this, Mr. Giacomo DENTONI, Action10 volunteer staff, held an online knowledge sharing seminar for partners and coaches in April 2021.

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COVID-19 Awareness Campaign
COVID-19 Awareness Campaign

Background

Since Liberia experienced the 15 years prolongs civil unrest, the chances of chaos, crimes, violence and addictiveness to elicit substance remain a huge challenge for former child soldiers (FCS), women associated with fighting forces (WAFF) and other war affected youths (WAY). Today, vast number of these young men and women are caught up with the use of illicit substance, violence and crime for living.

Survey

In order to contribute to the Initiative for the Development of Former Child Soldiers (IDEFOCS) and other vulnerable groups and enable them to have a better livelihood, the HR&S RISE SUPPORT CENTER in LIBERIA conducted a programme survey. The purpose of the survey was to better understand the current status of the Botanical Reintegration Village (BRV), customer segment for IDEFOCS proposed Desktop publishing Center and to identify potential entrepreneurs in Little Bassa to do business with.

As a result of the survey, the following action plan was agreed upon:

1. Empower HR&S RISE Support Centre Liberia to coach firmly.

- Funds will be managed by RISE Centre from January 2020 and on-wards.

- RISE makes quarterly surveys at the BRV.

- Equip the coaches with good cell-phones/computers and the Centre with satellite internet access.

2. Establish an HR&S Centre in the BRV building in Little Bassa

OR just outside Little Bassa, at a location that enables BRV surveiance as well as connect with customers of Internet centre and value-added farm products.

- Link the HR&S Centre in Little Bassa with the decision makers in the local community; the elders, the chief of the village and

  • Identify the leader structure in Little Bassa and approach them.
  • Managed by the PR coach.

- Connect the Centre to satellite internet and bring the six computers there.

  • Let the local community benefit.

- Staff the centre with three HR&S partners preferably from Little Bassa, who

  • Renovate the building and secure it.
  • Ensure profitable farming.
  • Welcomes a small group of well selected FCS and involve them in the work.

- Offer trauma counselling in the Centre.

- Write a collaboration agreement between the Centre and IDEFOCS.

- Develop a 2021 business plan and co-fundraise at the GlobalGiving platform and elsewhere.

COVID-19 Awareness Campaign

Action10 and HR&S also made a COVID-19 Awareness Campaign in the BRV Village which was successful and very appreciated. More details on this will come in the next report.

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Background

Since Liberia experienced the 15 years prolongs civil unrest, the chances of chaos, crimes, violence and addictiveness to elicit substance remain a huge challenge for former child soldiers (FCS), women associated with fighting forces (WAFF) and other war affected youths (WAY). Today, vast number of these young men and women are caught up with the use of illicit substance, violence and crime for living.

Project Update

The programme is constructing a vocational and technical institution called the Botanical Reintegration Village (BRV),  where the Target partners can find a safe environment, support and work.  Through this activity, the programme can make a larger impact which benefits both the target partners and the whole society. The BRV shall be able to host target partners for six months and give them all the necessary skills and support that they need.

As mentioned, the long term goal of the project is the empowerment of all Liberian former child soldiers. The project moves forward with laying out a road-map for the same. The project aims to be completed in three phases where phase one includes lays the foundation in terms of :

 

  1. Renovation of the building at the BRV.
  2. Placement of beds in the five rooms.
  3. Sustainable Electricity (maybe SolarCity)
  4. Cooking utensils and materials to use at the camp.
  5. Water (groundwater preparation).
  6. Preparation of farmland and agriculture activities.

 

The project aims at providing two major vocational and technical courses to the target partners in AGRICULTURE and GENERAL CONSTRUCTION in Phase 2 and 3.

The aim is that the BRV will provide the opportunity for IDEFOCS to reduce violence in the Communities; stop the re-recruitment of former child soldiers; help to work towards the goal to stop the migration of war in West Africa, and will promote peace and security.

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Background

Since Liberia experienced the 15 years prolongs civil unrest, the chances of chaos, crimes, violence, and addictiveness to elicit substance remain a huge challenge for former child soldiers (FCS), women associated with fighting forces (WAFF) and other war-affected youths (WAY). Today, a vast number of these men and women are caught up with the use of illicit substances, violence, and crime for a living. The rapid development of Liberia will continue to remain elusive if we continue to ignore the importance of promoting social change and relief to our war-affected men and women.

 

Capturing dreams & challenges

The Initiative for the Development of Former Child Soldiers (IDEFOCS) conducted Ghetto Outreach Forums interactive sessions during 2013 and 2014. The Forums were run with support from  Action10 and HR&S and brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds with complex situations.

The sessions aimed at informing about the danger of illicit substances, violence, and crime as well as collect information. We included surveys where ghetto boys and girls could explain in which way they would like support with facilitating a process where they regain their lives. The questions concerned personal background, recruitment by fighting forces, an assessment on how the DDRR programme (Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration programme which began in 2003 after the end of the civil war) affected the person, current circumstances, and current health status.

The survey aimed at capturing dreams as well as compiling challenges. Addressing all these challenges now constitute the strategy map for the IDEFOCS, HR&S, and Action10 collaboration programme.

 

Addressing dream & the challenges

The dreams were expressed as:
Everyone in Liberia lives in an environment that enables them to have a high-quality life. Drugs, violence, and crime are not part of their lives. All Liberians live in a home with their families. They have the training of the profession they wish, and they can all read and write. They have employment or run their own business and earn enough income to sustain their families. With the funds, they earn they can have quality health care and university education if they wish. They are safe in terms of social and physical security. They are all part of the society as equal Liberians.

The Ghetto dwellers also shared that such a support programme has to be offered outside the ghetto. As long as they live inside the ghetto, any sustainable changes of lifestyles are impossible. We have therefore procured a piece of land in a peaceful village by the sea, the Little Bassa, a one-hour drive from Monrovia. This site is now the location of our “Re-integration of former child soldiers" programme. IDEFOCS has cleared the land from trees, dug water well, planted cassava, and constructed a house where ghetto dwellers can stay and benefit from a rehabilitation programme. The house shall eventually have twenty rooms and thus attract twenty clients at a time. IDEFOCS has also included the community of Little Bassa, to ensure a loving and caring environment.

 

Our trauma counseling programme

We are now launching the trauma counseling programme. A team of trauma counseling professionals in Sweden and Liberians living in Sweden will educate and coach a group of local mental health care providers in Liberia at our Support Centre in Paintsville. The education will be on-line and be addressing basic mental care. The training will combine Swedish expertise and practice, African expertise and practice, and Liberian cultural traditions and values.

Mental health care will then be offered at our house in Little Bassa and also at our Support center in Buchanan that we run in collaboration with IDEFOCS. We will target former child soldiers, women associated with fighting forces, and others suffering from the cruelties of the past war.

Our local mental health care providers in Liberia are carefully selected and shall know how to interact with our clients, with the families and the communities while building awareness about mental health. We shall help our clients to understand mental health conditions and encourage adherence to treatment. Long-term, our ambition is to set up a trauma counseling training school.



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Organization Information

ACTION10

Location: Bromma - Sweden
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Action10Org
Project Leader:
Cecilia Öman
Bromma, Sweden
$785 raised of $10,000 goal
 
33 donations
$9,215 to go
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