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Press Release: There is Nothing Basic about this Training

The Dallaire Initiative launches latest call for educational program designed to help military and police veterans end the use of children as weapons of war.

For Immediate Release

November 8th , 2017

There is Nothing Basic about this Training

The Dallaire Initiative launches latest call for educational program designed to help military and police veterans end the use of children as weapons of war.

Halifax NS—Today, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative launches its latest call for applications for the Wounded Warriors Canada Veteran Trainers to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers (VTECS) Program. For the first time, the program will be open to federal, provincial and municipal Police Veterans who will join their Canadian Armed Forces Veterans counterparts in building their capacity to end the use of children as weapons of war.

“The inclusion of police will bring a unique domestic perspective to the VTECS program and build upon the innovative approach of equipping those who served to protect with the tools and knowledge needed to help us end the use of children being used and recruited as soldiers, both domestically and internationally” states Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

Scott Maxwell, Executive Director of Wounded Warriors Canada, commented, “We are proud of what VTECS has been able to accomplish over the last two years. The program is a force multiplier – leveraging the skill set of our highly trained Veterans while providing access to an academic environment, credits/accreditation possibilities, and employment opportunities. The inclusion of police Veterans will only strengthen the program’s ability to make a significant impact both domestically and internationally, enhancing our shared mission to end the use of children as weapons of war.”

The VTECS program delivers education and skills transition training for Canadian military and police veterans by combining academic, fully-credited university classes with specialized training on the skills, knowledge and attitudes required of security sector actors to legally, humanely and effectively interact with child soldiers in domestic or foreign operational areas.

“The Dallaire Initiative has provided me with the tools to be a better advocate, researcher, and trainer in a community of practice that is working to progressively eradicate the recruitment and use of child soldiers through a security sector approach. I am proud to be a ‘VTECS grad’” states Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. Ian MacVicar.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 VTECS program. Interested Canadian Veterans can apply online between November 8, 2017 and January 10, 2018. The program is open to any Canadian Armed Forces Veteran and any federal, provincial and municipal police force Veteran with a good conduct release who can meet the program requirements. Program requirements and application information are available online at childsoldiers.org/vtecs

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VTECS: My Perspective

Ken Hoffer

By: Ken Hoffer, 2016 VTECS Participant

The VTECS program offers former members of the Canadian Armed Forces an opportunity to repurpose their knowledge and skill that will help the Romeo Dallaire Initiative to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers.  As Canadians, our social values and humanitarian efforts are well recognized in peacekeeping and NGO efforts around the world.  As Veterans, we continue to uphold our entrusted obligations to protect and promote Canadian ideals that will deter belligerents from dehumanizing civilians, particularly as it relates to children in all theatres of operation.   As a VTEC, you uphold these values, and soon realize that you become part of a larger vision to interrupt the cycle of hate and violence.  It is a heavy responsibility.  One can choose to ignore the problem, or you can become part of the Security Sector solution to make the world a better place.  The VTECS program is an opportunity to rediscover your true self.


Ken Hoffer was part of the 2016 Wounded Warriors Canada Veteran Trainers to Eradicate the use of Child Soldiers (VTECS) program. Utilizing his personal and career wealth of experience and expertise, in conjunction with the education and skills he grew throughout the VTECS program, Ken was later contracted to deploy to Sierra Leone to conduct the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative’s Pre-Deployment Training with local police members about to embark on a peace keeping missions in both South Sudan and Somalia.

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VTECS: My Perspective

J.L. Malainey, Maj (Ret’d), 2016 Wounded Warriors Canada VTECS Participant

By: J.L. Malainey, Maj (Ret’d), 2016 Wounded Warriors Canada VTECS Participant

Featured/Header Photo Credit: Claude Wauthier,2016 Wounded Warriors Canada VTECS Participant
Learn about the VTECS Program: childsoldiers.org/vtecs

Encapsulating my learning experience from the VTECS program in a short paragraph is difficult. The core of this program is the in-depth Dallaire Initiative training courses, but VTECS is much more than that. It’s learning about and from the experiences of our fellow veterans. It’s the interaction with Dalhousie students, with their interest and perspectives and questions and amazing ideas. It’s experiencing some of the familiar camaraderie and motivation of being engaged in an operational mission. And it’s the possibility that we can continue to make a difference – to a child, to a soldier or police officer, to a community, to the world – in a way that acknowledges and uses our individual and collective capabilities.

By the end of our course, I had gained an awareness not only of issues related to child soldiers, but also how the involvement of children in conflict and war affects the child, their families, their societies and the security sector actors who encounter them – in the moment and for years beyond.

I did not know much about the issue of child soldiers when I was accepted to the VTECS program. By the end of our course, I had gained an awareness not only of issues related to child soldiers, but also how the involvement of children in conflict and war affects the child, their families, their societies and the security sector actors who encounter them – in the moment and for years beyond. As a Monitoring Officer for the OSCE in Ukraine, I am now more observant of issues affecting children in this conflict. As a veteran, I have a greater appreciation for the complexity that child soldiers add to a mission and the necessity for better preparedness of security sector actors to face and address this situation.

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