Our work

The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative is a global partnership committed to ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers worldwide.

We focus on three core activities: research, advocacy and security sector training, all through a lens of prevention. Our unique approach, working with military, police and peacekeeping forces is breaking new ground, and is a critical part of interrupting the cycle of recruitment of children by armed groups.

The Initiative is housed at the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada—an institution with nearly 40 years of experience in research, publishing, teaching and providing policy advice. We have benefitted from this institutional home on a number of fronts.

Our mission

Our mission is to develop and implement new strategies and tactical guidance to gradually eradicate the use and recruitment of child soldiers around the world. To achieve this, we work collaboratively with nation-states, communities, and the humanitarian, academic and security sectors to:

  • Conduct rigorous academic research at a world-class university to build—and share—knowledge, which in turn leads to new solutions;
  • Develop partnerships to promote the universalization of, and adherence to, existing international conventions against the use of child soldiers, and to advocate for robust policy change where necessary;
  • Deliver comprehensive, prevention-oriented training to military, police, peacekeeping and other security forces, which are often the first point of contact for child soldiers.

Our vision

Our vision is a world where children are no longer recruited or used as weapons in war.

Guiding principles

  • We believe in equality: Central to our work is the belief that all humans are equal—that no humans are more human than others. We believe that the humanity of war-affected children is as real and valid as our own;
  • We believe in prevention: By focusing upon preventative action rather than demobilization and reintegration, our goal is to address the root causes of child soldiery and to stop recruitment at its source. We believe that prevention is a far more cost-effective strategy than dealing with the long-term consequences of child soldiery;
  • We believe in collaboration: Our view is that only through engaging all stakeholders (military, police, international organizations, nation-states, non-governmental organizations, war-affected communities and former child soldiers) can we build effective and transferable solutions;
  • We believe in the transformative power of education and training: We’ve seen first-hand that the education and training of security forces not only generates improved attitudes, behaviours and outcomes, but also high returns on investment as trainees rise in the ranks of their national units and new trainers are created.

Our partners

  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
  • Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University
  • TK Foundation Marine Affairs Piracy Project
  • Roméo Dallaire Inc.
  • CYCC Network
  • Resilience Research Centre
  • Canadian Auto Workers Social Justice Fund