The Rwanda Defence Force in partnership with the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative have launched a training program for RDF personnel aiming at combating across the world, inter alia through Peacekeeping Operations, the recruitment and use of Children in armed conflicts.
The launching of the program was marked by the opening ceremony of the Basic Course on Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers at Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA), in Musanze District . The two weeks long course is attended by 30 RDF officers.
While officiating the course opening ceremony on behalf of the RDF Leadership, the RPA Director, Col Jules 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”, Col Rutaremara said.
He further urged participants to take the course very seriously. “It is from this group that some of you will be selected to attend the Training of Trainers Course and to serve as trainers at a later stage” he said.
Col 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.
On behalf of Gen Roméo Dallaire, The Director of Training at the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, Mr. Darin Reeves, noted that the Basic course on Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Children during Armed Conflict for members of the RDF is a significant milestone in equipping the RDF 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.
Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative brings a huge wealthy of knowledge and expertise in combating the recruitment and use of child soldiers in armed conflicts. It is against this background that Rwanda Defence Force and the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning training partnership on combatting the recruitment and use of child soldiers in May 2016.