The Effects of Intrastate War and Reintegration on Liberian Child Soldiers: Part II

Rialize Ferreira, Alfred Mutiti - Commonwealth Youth and Development


The main focus of this article is on the effects of intrastate war and the reintegration of Liberian child soldiers into their families and former communities. In this context, legal frameworks for the protection of children, types of recruitment (forced, persuasive, and “voluntary”), reasons for recruitment, and the need for personal protection are dealt with. Also discussed are disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration processes, roles of communities, provision of psycho-social support and care to reintegrated child soldiers, the physical, social and emotional effects they experience, their reintegration into communities, social networks, the disengagement of children from former commanders, and the skills training options provided to these children. In this empirical, qualitative study, primary data was obtained from focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews, and secondary data was obtained from documentary sources. Some of the primary data substantiated the secondary data, confirming the finding that war caused profound damage and heartache but that it also helped children to become resilient. The study found that the brutal effects of war, culminating in the reintegration of child soldiers into communities, manifested themselves over many years.