Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), in partnership with the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative have launched a training programme aiming at combating recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts.
The training targets RDF officers and personnel and they are envisaged to combat the vice during their tours of duty on peacekeeping missions.
The training programme was preceded by a Basic Course on Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers at Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA), in Musanze District.
It is being attended by 30 RDF officers.
While officiating at the course opening of the course, the director of RPA, Col Jill Rutaremara underlined the relevance of the training.
“This initial course is very important because it marks the beginning of the operationalization of the joint framework of cooperation between RDF and the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative,” Rutaremara said.
He further urged participants to take the course very seriously saying that it is from this group that some will be selected to attend the Training of Trainers Course who will facilitate the training at a later stage.
Rutaremara noted that through the existing partnership, capacity building in this area will continue until the RDF builds the required critical capability integral to all RDF units that will be deployed in peacekeeping missions.
The Director of Training at the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, Darin Reeves, noted that the basic course is a significant milestone in equipping the RDF officers to plan, organize and conduct its own training on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
The course will also offer a unique opportunity for the RDF “to build a better, common understanding in dealing with children and child soldiers in a proactive, not reactive way”, he said.
In May last year, the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the RDF to forge a training partnership on combatting the recruitment and use of child soldiers.