The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative

  • A young former child soldier in South Sudan holds a set of the Dallaire Initiative’s playing cards. These cards are designed to reinforce the Dallaire Initiative’s in-class training when militaries, police and peacekeepers are in the field.

    Photo: Josh Boyter

  • A former child soldier in South Sudan addresses LGen Roméo Dallaire (Ret’d) and Dr. Shelly Whitman at a UNICEF supported school in November 2015. He is one of some 1,700 child soldiers who were demobilized by UNICEF during 2015 from the Cobra Faction who operate around Pibor, South Sudan.

    Photo: Josh Boyter

  • LGen Dallaire addresses the assembled press corps at the United Nations for the 20th anniversary of the Genocide Fax, which contained his warning of impending genocide in Rwanda.

    Photo: UN Evan Schneider

  • A child collects bullets from the ground in Rounyn, a village located about 15 km north of Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur. Most of the population in Rounyn fled to camps for displaced people due to the clashes between the Government and the armed movements.

    Photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran / UNAMID


Children are used in 14 country contexts by 51 armed groups and 7 national armies

250 million children live in conflict-affected countries with some 15 million directly affected

Preventing the Use of Children as Instruments of War

Founded by Roméo Dallaire, retired Lieutenant-General, noted humanitarian and Canadian Senator, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative is a global partnership committed to ending the use and recruitment of child soldiers worldwide, through a prevention-oriented approach. Power Corporation has supported the Dallaire Initiative since 2007.

War has changed – children around the world are now being pulled into conflict at alarming rates, creating the ever-growing threat of child soldiers on the battlefield. The Dallaire Initiative aims to work together with global leaders, militaries, police, humanitarians and academics to make a long-term impact in preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers, thereby breaking the cycle of violence.

Children continue to be used as soldiers in 14 country contexts by 51 non-state armed groups and 7 state armies. Not every child soldier carries a gun in the fight for the frontline. Today they could be pushed into combat as a soldier, while tomorrow they are expected to provide at the camp as cooks, porters or sex slaves.

Preventing Recruitment through Training

Housed within Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Dallaire Initiative wants to focus beyond child protection. In order to solve this problem, it must be seen as a security concern and security sector actors such as military, police and peacekeeping forces ― often the first point of contact for child soldiers― must be included as part of the solution. Through this prevention-oriented approach, the Dallaire Initiative creates the necessary tools and training, supported by research, to better protect children from recruitment, and in so doing, help end this crime against humanity, community-by-community, country-by-country, once and for all.

The Dallaire Initiative’s training produces more specialized soldiers, police, and peacekeepers, who will be better prepared reducing harm in interactions and preventing recruitment in the first instance. This represents a strategic investment that over the long term produces more cost-effective solutions. Current research priorities include: Children in Marine Piracy, Child Trafficking, Community Protection, and ethical dilemmas faced by peacekeepers who have encountered child soldiers.

“The abuse of youth as instruments of war is a reality that can't be resolved on the day you face them in the field,” said LGen Roméo Dallaire.

“Children are the priority and they need to be protected from joining armed forces and armed groups. We have a duty to humanity to do this,” added Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

“Children are used because they are considered expendable, plentiful, cheap to maintain and easily indoctrinated by the adults who recruit them,” says Gérard Veilleux, President, Power Communications. “We applaud the work of Senator Dallaire and the progress being made by the Dallaire Initiative to end the tragic use of child soldiers.”

We applaud the work of Senator Dallaire and the progress being made by the Dallaire Initiative to end the tragic use of child soldiers.
Gérard Veilleux
Power Communications


See videos fromThe Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative YouTube.