Although they are often not explicit in a PYD approach, most programs aimed at the disengagement and reintegration of former combatants are aimed at "youth" (loosely defined as 18-35 years old). These resources describe the factors leading to effective programming.
Assisting fighters to gain a foothold in civil society is thought to prevent them from returning to combat and hence to avoid a resumption of hostilities in the long run. In line with sustained investments in DDR programmes, as well as with a noteworthy increase in the number and scope of such programmes, a growing – albeit relatively small – body of literature is attempting to catch up with these developments. In an effort to gather what we know about the factors that contribute to the success of DDR programmes, this discussion paper provides a synthesis of the current literature. While emphasising the emerging body of quantitative research, it also draws on reports by practitioners and in-depth case studies in response to two critical questions: 1. How effective are DDR programmes? 2. What factors and circumstances contribute to or impede their success? The paper draws several conclusions from the literature, including context-specific, programme level, and individual level factors that enable success in DDR.
This study deals with youth in war-to-peace transitions and the response of international organizations to them. While youth’s relevance for societal transformation is a long-acknowledged fact, their large numbers and potential roles in conflict have recently caused organizations to consider them a target group for peace and development programs. Reflecting on this process, this study thus assesses the difficulties in conceptualizing the role of youth in peace-building processes on the one hand and the concrete efforts of international organizations to integrate them into their policies and programs on the other. For this purpose, it explores four guiding questions: First, what approaches have international organizations developed regarding youth? Second, on which assumptions about youth and their role in violent conflicts are they based? Third, how do the different approaches affect program development, and, fourth, are they are compatible?
Reintegrating and Employing High Risk Youth in Liberia: Lessons from a randomized evaluation of a Landmine Action agricultural training program for ex-combatants
This report details findings from an impact evaluation of a reintegration and agricultural livelihoods program for high-risk Liberian youth, and draws out lessons for government employment policies. The international NGO Landmine Action (LMA, now known as Action on Armed Violence) runs an intensive, best practices agricultural training program, targeting ex-combatants and other high-risk youth in rural hot spots. LMA recruited ex-combatants and other high-risk youth and offered them several months of skills training and psychosocial counseling, along with a start-up package, to give youth a peaceful, sustainable, and legal alternative to illicit resource extraction, ease their reintegration into society, reduce the risk of their re-recruitment into crime and insurrection in the future, and to improve security in hotspot communities. The NGO recruited 1,330 youth, and the researchers randomly assigned these to either “treatment” (receiving the program) or “control” (not receiving the program). By comparing the “treatment” group to the random “control” group 18 months after the program, we can see the effect of the intervention on agricultural livelihoods, shifts from illicit to legal employment, poverty, social integration, aggression, and potential for future instability.