About Us

Abandoned villages

Our Mission

The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative seeks to progressively end the use and recruitment of child soldiers through a security sector approach. In a world where children continue to be used as weapons of war, we cannot wait until the child has left the field to effectively protect them. We must be proactive in our approach.

 The abuse of youth as weapons of war is a reality that can’t be resolved on the day soldiers face them in the field, nor is it acceptable to wait till after the abuse has happened to try to address the harm.

Child soldiers do not just occur because a state has a failing economy, a large percentage of people living in poverty, or a high population of young people. We have entered an age where children are used deliberately as a combat tactic with strategic advantages. The use of children as weapons of war must be recognized as a security concern with lasting implications for peace and stability.

Our Approach

Complimenting the International Response

The contemporary use of children as weapons of war continues to challenge the international community. Often left picking up the pieces after the child has served as a soldier, we have failed to protect the child, and ultimately prevent their recruitment and use as a child soldier in the first place. Tackled from a humanitarian approach, the security sector actor is not included in the international response or solution to the issue.

No individual country or regional organization had yet developed coherent policies, or military and police doctrine for dealing with child soldiers during peace operations. Our unique approach working with military, police and peacekeeping forces—often the first point of contact for child soldiers—is breaking new ground, and is a critical part of interrupting the cycle of recruitment of children by armed groups.

Through taking a security sector approach, we compliment international efforts, including child protection, international law, and demobilization, disarmament and reintegration programs. Through engaging with the security sector actors, who are often the first point of contact for child soldiers in the field, we can create a comprehensive international response that enables us to take a preventive approach to the issue of children used as weapons of war.

In order to solve this problem it must be seen as a security concern and security sector actors must be included as part of the solution. Through this prevention-oriented approach, we aim to create the necessary tools and training, supported by research, to better protect children from recruitment, and in so doing, help end this crime against humanity, community-by-community, country-by-country, once and for all.

 

Our Programmatic Pillars

Training

The Dallaire Initiative delivers comprehensive, prevention-oriented training to military, police, peacekeeping and other security forces, which are often the first point of contact for child soldiers

Research

The Dallaire Initiative conducts rigorous academic research at a world-class university to build—and share—knowledge, which in turn leads to new solutions

Advocacy

The Dallaire Initiative develops partnerships to promote the universalization of, and adherence to, existing international conventions against the use of child soldiers, and to advocate for robust policy change where necessary.

We collaborate with organizations around the globe to support our ongoing programs. See our current collaborators here

Our Staff, Fellows and Associates

This is our dedicated team who work day-in and day-out together to achieve our mission, to end the use of child soldiers worldwide.

International Advisory Council

International leaders who help amplify and support our mission