Child Soldiers – Reintegrating Boys and Girls Who are Victims of War

3 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2015

See all articles by Robin Poulton

Robin Poulton

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU); Virginia State University

Ibrahim Bangura


Date Written: April 10, 2013


"I was working with my father on our farm when we saw some people coming towards us with guns and sticks. The leader of the group fired shots in the air and warned that we would be shot if we attempt to escape. My father started crying and begging that they leave us (his children) alone, but the leader slapped him and ordered his boys to tie him to a tree. We were made to join the other people and we walked for several days in the bush before reaching their camp."

War involves girls as much as boys. After conflict, comes disarmament. Instead of the shorthand DDR, we use the expression 3D4R, which translates better the real complexities of the reintegration process by insisting on planning the R before the D is started. We describe the process as Reintegration, Disarmament, Reconciliation, Demobilisation, Reinsertion, Destruction of weapons, Rehabilitation of the economy. Sometimes you need to add context-specific R factors like Resettlement of Refugees; Retraining youth; Remembering the handicapped; and Recuperating girls who have been victims of sexual abuse. The vulnerable are too often forgotten in traditional DDR designs.

Keywords: Girl soldiers, child victims of war, child soldiers, weapons, DDR, 3D4R, integration

Suggested Citation

Poulton, Robin and Poulton, Robin and Bangura, Ibrahim, Child Soldiers – Reintegrating Boys and Girls Who are Victims of War (April 10, 2013). Available at SSRN:

Robin Poulton (Contact Author)

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) ( email )

1015 Floyd Avenue
Richmond, VA 23284
United States

Virginia State University ( email )

Petersburg, VA 23806
United States

Ibrahim Bangura

Independent ( email )

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