“IF I COULD GO TO SCHOOL…”

Girl soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) experience severe hardships – both in the ranks of armed groups and after returning home. Programmes that support the release, recovery and reintegration of girl soldiers have so far been woefully inadequate. Only a small percentage of girls leave armed groups through formal demobilisation processes, and an even smaller number receive any assistance. Following extensive consultations with DRC-based child protection partners in 2012-2015, Child Soldiers International travelled to eastern DRC in early 2016. We conducted interviews with 150 former girl soldiers, and spoke to community and child protection representatives. Our ?ndings will form a set of best practice principles to improve assistance to former child soldiers, with a particular focus on the speci?c needs of girls.

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