Challenges, Lessons and Recommendations

Challenges to integrate HIV programming within DDR

  • HIV is often sidelined and not seen as a priority within DDR programmes.
  • Lack of dedicated technical and human capacities to incorporate and implement HIV interventions within DDR programmes. Lack of financial resources to implement and sustain HIV-DDR programmes.
  • Lack of systematic inclusion of HIV and gender within DDR programmes and processes.
  • Few linkages between DDR-HIV programmes and national HIV strategies.
  • Poor interlinks with broader health, sexual and reproductive health, gender and gender-based violence issues.
  • The shift of gender roles experienced by ex-combatants during reintegration creates special challenges in returning to civilian life.
  • Difficulty integrating programmes for children.


Lessons Learned

  • HIV activities can start in crisis settings as part of the minimum package of sexual and reproductive health services that should be offered to all crisis-affected populations. They also should be part of early recovery programmes; DDR is an entry point.
  • DDR programmes provide avenues for sustainable behavioral change and continuum of services.
  • Attention should be paid to men and boys' use of violence, especially sexual violence.
  • The needs of female combatants and women and children associated with armed forces are often inadequately addressed and warrant additional attention.
  • Capacity building and training are essential for DDR commissions and partners.
  • Synergies with related issues (health, gender) is indispensible.
  • Advocacy for dedicated staff in-country is critical.
  • Particularly when linked to national development strategies, DDR programmes are an entry point for sustained change and action related to ensur­ing a sound AIDS response moving forward.



  • Coordinate HIV-DDR efforts with key stakeholders to ensure a complementary and strengthened response.
  • Build capacity of relevant agencies and partners to incorporate and strengthen HIV interventions within DDR programming through appropriate staffing, training, resource mobilization and implementation of activities.
  • Integrating HIV/AIDS within DDR processes is vital for the well-being of male and female ex-combatants, women and girls associated with armed groups, and their receiving communities. The DDR process provides an opportunity to reach out to vulnerable groups, contributing to effective recovery.
  • Undertake formal dialogue on challenges related to mainstreaming HIV interventions within DDR programmes and link them with community-based programmes to sustain behavioral change and provide services to some of the most at-risk and underserved populations in conflict and post-conflict settings.