Socio-Economic Reintegration Strategies for Youth

The following is a list of potential reintegration programmes for young ex-combatants. Programming should be flexible to allow for one programme to be combined with others (e.g. catch-up education with business training and development services). Click on each of the points below to read more.

Remedial catch-up education

  • Provide youth, who have missed part of their education, with accelerated learning programmes (ALP) compatible with and recognized by the formal education system.
  • All educational facilities for young ex-combatants should provide childcare for those who are already parents.

Learning and training

  • Programmes should aim at allowing youth to learn at their own pace, and to acquire communication and other job-related skills.
  • Part-time programmes allowing time for other catch-up education are recommended.
  • Life skills, such as civics, parenting skills, rights at work and HIV/AIDS management for youth are also important.
  • Training for trainers is a key part of DDR programmes for youth. Trainers should be facilitators who encourage active learning, foster teamwork and act as positive role models.

Employment-oriented training

This training should be:

  • Labour-market driven and oriented toward specific job opportunities
  • Modular in approach
  • Designed to teach many different skills
  • Competency-based
  • Designed to complement any earlier education participants may have had
  • Linked with practical work experience such as apprenticeships or on-the-job training

Employment assistance, career guidance and job-search assistance

  • These services match the skills and aspirations of young ex-combatants with employment or education and training services.
  • Youth may face problems identifying and pursuing civilian opportunities, such as lack of work experience, no experience looking for employment or knowing what type of career path to pursue. Employment and career guidance services may help young ex-combatants overcome such problems.
  • Such services should build on existing national structures normally under the ministry of labour or the ministry of youth. They should be open to all youth seeking employment, not just ex-combatants.

Youth entrepreneurship

  • DDR programmes should encourage an entrepreneurial culture while youth are still in education and training. Youth may find mentors useful.
  • DDR programmes should link to other development initiatives dealing with business development and finance, safety in the workplace, investment, the local market and economic infrastructure.

Microfinance for youth

  • Access to existing micro- or small-business finance and credit schemes should be provided through special arrangements for young ex-combatants.

Business training and business development services

  • DDR programmes should boost youth’s ability to face market challenges with business development education.
  • DDR programmes may also encourage business owners to support young entrepreneurs during the vital first years of their businesses. Such support may include on-the-job training, mentoring, inclusion in networks and associations, and the incorporation of youth-owned businesses into supply chains.