SPECIAL SECTION

Unfulfilled promises, unsettled youth: the aftermath of conflict for former child soldiers in Yumbe District, north western Uganda

This article addresses the long term impact of having been a child soldier in Yumbe District, Uganda. Within this district, a group of former child soldiers fell beyond the scope of almost all reintegration initiatives from the time a peace agreement was signed in 2002. Ten years after the youths’ return from the bush, the authors used a qualitative approach to understand their present situation.

Don't fault RCTs for not testing systems of care

Among Mundt and colleagues’ (2014) criticisms of NET is that testing a particular intervention implies that it is meant to be delivered irrespective of systems of care. But trauma-focused treatments should be judged based on the specific problems they target; larger sets of problems are the purview of health systems research.

Healing through sharing: an outreach project with Iraqi refugee volunteers in Syria

In 2003, civil conflict and war broke out in Iraq, leading to the displacement of millions across the region. This report describes a project initiated by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in 2007 that sought to draw on the skills and experiences of Iraqi refugee women, in Syria, in order to assist in identifying and supporting the most vulnerable refugees in the population. Among the 180 Iraqi outreach refugee volunteers were teachers, doctors, psychologists, artists and others.

Child soldiers or war affected children? Why the formerly abducted children of northern Uganda are not child soldiers

In many places around the globe, over many centuries, adults have forcibly involved children in war. In more recent times, these forcibly involved children have come to be collectively referred to as ‘child soldiers’, in an attempt to address the crises that these children experience within war conditions. However, recent field experiences from northern Uganda show that children, formerly abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army, as well as the community they return to, do not consider themselves as soldiers.

Experiences with Narrative Exposure Therapy across three income contexts

As members of an international nongovernmental organisation that operates across a variety of income contexts, and works with local counsellors to co-create local capacity in contexts ravaged by atrocities and deprivation, the authors offer their experiences with Narrative Exposure Therapy. The authors have found Narrative Exposure Therapy to be an effective clinical and training tool where practical considerations allow it.

Personal reflections on a psychosocial community outreach programme and centre in Damascus, Syria

This personal reflection describes the experiences of a Syrian psychologist who works as a (volunteer) supervisor of the mental health and psychosocial support programme of the UN Refugee Agency in Syria. Her reflections touch on the importance of psychosocial community outreach and an outreach counselling centre. The author also reflects on her background, motivation and challenges, as well as the impact of the current situation.

Protective and risk factors of psychosocial wellbeing related to the reintegration of former child soldiers in Nepal

This paper explores protective and risk factors for mental health and psychosocial wellbeing among 300 child solders (verified minors) through a longitudinal study. Both the Hopkins Symptoms Check list and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (civilian version) were used to measure mental health problems, while the Generalised Estimating Equation was used to identify both the protective and risk factors over time. Anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder decreased over a nine month period, while depression prevalence did not change.

Painting glass as a psychosocial intervention: reflections of a psychosocial refugee outreach volunteer in Damascus, Syria

This personal reflection describes the experience of a psychosocial refugee outreach volunteer in Syria. Born and raised in Iraq, the author fled with her family to Syria in an attempt to escape the violence. Trained as an English teacher and educational psychologist in her home country, she volunteered to help other refugees in Syria and describes this as challenging, but very rewarding. Key factors to be able to continue her work are the importance of weekly supervision and being part of a team.

Harnessing traditional practices for use in the reintegration of child soldiers in Africa: examples from Liberia and Burundi

The changing nature of armed conflict has been characterised by the use of children as soldiers. The disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of these children back into society has become a primary concern for post conflict African countries seeking to achieve a sustainable peace. Studies have emphasised the crucial role of a participatory approach as an important factor in ensuring success in reintegration programmes.

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