According to the UN Secretary-General’s 2014 Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, 7 national armies and 50 armed groups operating in 14 countries recruit and use child soldiers. These children and youths are viewed as cheap and expendable labour and are easy to manipulate and control by commanders. They are used as combatants, messengers, porters and cooks and to provide forced sexual services. Some are abducted or forcibly recruited, while others are driven to join by poverty, abuse and discrimination, or to seek revenge for violence enacted against them or their families.
By offering innovative training to those actors who encounter child soldiers in the field, UNITAR PTP is dedicated to the achievement of a world, in which children are no longer used as a weapon of war.
The objective of this course is to advance actors' understanding of the phenomenon of child soldiering, as well as of the reasons behind the use of children in armed conflicts. The course also aims to provide an overview of the possible options for interactions between police, military and child soldiers and the possible actions to prevent children’s recruitment and re-recruitment.
At the end of the course, participants will be able to:
- Outline the major issues related to the phenomenon of child soldiers;
- Identify legal instruments that discipline the protection of civilians in conflict situations;
- Illustrate possible options for interactions with child soldiers;
- Discuss strategies for preventing the recruitment and re-recruitment of children as soldiers.
This self-paced course is structured as four successive modules, defined as follows:
Module 0 – Children and armed conflict
This module introduces the topic of child soldiers by framing it within the broader discussion of contemporary conflict. It describes new methods of warfare and focuses upon the impact that conflict has on children.
Module 1 –Introduction to the issue of child soldiers
The module provides the essential information necessary to understand the complexity of the child soldier phenomenon, by offering an introduction to and an overview of the issue of child soldiers. Module one expands upon the definition of child soldiers – as outlined in the Paris Principles – and discusses how and why child soldiers are used. It explores the driving factors and risk factors that lead children to be recruited.
Module 2 – International legal framework
Module two examines the existing legal instruments that apply to child soldiers. It also discusses the legal consequences for infringement of these provisions and the ensuing accountability mechanisms.
Module 3- Interacting with child soldiers
Module three focuses upon security sector interactions with child soldiers and begins by offering an overview of the different types of interactions that may occur between national and/or international military and police forces and child soldiers.
This module provides substantive guidance on tactics, techniques and procedures to handle armed groups that use child soldiers and offers basic operational guidance.
Module 4- Preventing the recruitment and/or re-recruitment of child soldiers
Module four discusses strategies aimed at preventing the recruitment and re- recruitment of children as soldiers. It elaborates upon the importance of including children in peace agreements and demobilization plans and stresses the importance of cooperation among different actors on the ground for the development of a comprehensive programme strategy that includes activities at different societal levels. The module concludes by exploring the consequences of failing to prevent the recruitment and re-recruitment of children as soldiers.
By embedding the learning content in a scenario setting, this course enables participants to feel as though they are part of a mission context while enhancing their knowledge on the issue of child soldiers. Through the scenarios, learners are constantly challenged to reflect upon possible strategies to identify child soldiers, to interact with them and lastly to find strategies to prevent their recruitment and re-recruitment.
The e-learning course adopts UNITAR’s approach to delivering learning content in an innovative format. UNITAR optimizes the use of available technologies with the objective of offering multiple instructional settings, catering to personal learning styles. Instructional design methods are applied, which prioritise interaction and support explorative and collaborative learning. Social activities are frequently incorporated to support the learning process, facilitate networking among professionals and encourage the sharing of experience.
The course is open to anyone interested in the phenomenn of child soldiering, including practitioners working in post-conflict contexts, field workers, and international volunteers. United Nations Volunteers, holding a valid contract, can benefit from a reimbursement from the UNV Programme. Students are entirely responsible for ensuring their eligibility and requesting their reimbursement directly with the UNV office.
UNITAR recommends the following as a minimum in hardware and software to take our e-Learning courses. Please consult your Network Administrator or Systems person to ensure that you have the following:
- Windows XP, 7 or superior;
- MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or superior;
- Intel Core 2 Duo – or AMD – 3 GHz processor;
- 3 GB of RAM (4 GB recommended);
- Hard drive: 160 GB minimum.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader;
- Adobe Flash Player.
- Google Chrome 30.0 or superior;
- Mozilla Firefox 25.0 or superior;
- Safari 7 or superior;
- Internet Explorer 8 or superior.
- Apple iOS in Apple iOS 7 or superior on iPad:
- Articulate Mobile Player;
- Moodle Mobile.
- Android OS in Android OS 4.1 or superior (optimized for tablets):
- Articulate Mobile Player;
- Moodle Mobile.