Preventing the recruitment of child soldiers, using the Child to Child approach

In 2013 Child to Child was commissioned by the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldier Initiative to develop resources to prevent children being recruited by armed groups. We worked in collaboration with our local partner Pikin to Pikin.


Although the civil war ended in 2002, Sierra Leone continues to experience severe economic hardship, weak governance, poor service delivery and high rates of youth unemployment. These national challenges are compounded by an unstable regional context. Neighbouring countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Mali, continue to experience political instability. This increases the potential for renewed violence in Sierra Leone.

Given this context, the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative felt it was essential to develop a programme focusing on preventing children from being conscripted into the armed forces or militia groups. Child soldiers experience significant abuse and violence, including rape and sexual violence, and child marriage. The psychological impacts are devastating.

What did we do?

Following consultation with former child soldiers, we developed resources designed to: enhance children’s understanding of the causes of conflict; how they might respond; and what they can do to prevent being being conscripted.

The resources included

  • a Teachers Activity Pack with a modular focus. Each module is made up of interactive activities, case studies, illustrations and stories. The Teachers Activity Pack contains a wealth of resources which teachers can use to support their classroom teaching and learning especially in relation to peace building and child safeguarding.
  • Four stories focusing on causes, effect and response to conflict, developed to support the Teachers Activity Pack.
  • The resources also include materials to enhance community and local-level child safeguarding for children at risk of recruitment.

    What have we achieved?photo 4

    We trained Master Trainers to develop their understanding of the key issues and and equip them with the skills to train teachers on the use of the resources.

    These Master Trainers will train teachers to use these resources in the classroom, using child-centred methodologies, in selected schools. We are in discussions with our partners to identify how to deliver the project to other districts in Sierra Leone so that we can reach the greatest number of children.