Rehabilitating child soldiers and war-affected children in Western Africa: A study

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Keah, Mc-Anthony
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University of Guelph

This study examined the effectiveness of institutional rehabilitation programs such as the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) method of de-traumatizing in West Africa and also non-institutional or community approach to rehabilitation. The study further enhances the understanding of how governments, international and local NGOs as well as United Nations organizations can best rehabilitate child soldiers in West Africa and possibly elsewhere. This study is of particular importance to policy makers in the above named agencies. Data were gathered through interviews, questionnaires and participant observations. The results indicated that little effect is made on child soldiers who undergo PTSD programs, though this statement is made with caution due to the limited number of children that were involved in this study, thereby making it a qualitative rather than a quantitative study. The study revealed that institutional rehabilitation may not be the best way of rehabilitation for child soldiers and war-affected children in community oriented regions. However, the study does not suggest that institutional rehabilitation is unsuitable for communities in West Africa and should be done with, rather, it suggests that in order to get better results from rehabilitating children in community oriented regions such as West Africa and improve other issues such as human security, there should be some combination of both institutional and non-institutional efforts.

institutional rehabilitation programs, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, child soldiers, war-affected children, de-traumatization