The Managing Exits from Armed Conflict (MEAC) project – founded at UNU and currently housed at UNIDIR - shares crucial findings about child recruitment by armed groups and their reintegration post-association. Evidence, including from the Lake Chad Basin, highlights that child recruitment occurs along a continuum of coercion. Yet, there is no single reason why children become associated with armed groups.

Recruitment is multi-causal. Factors like territorial control, physical and food security, family networks, identity, status and financial incentives can contribute to child involvement. Exiting armed groups is a process, not an event. Transitions to “civilian life” remain challenging, particularly when children are “reintegrated” into situations of displacement. The evidence presented herein should guide discussions about how to prevent child recruitment and craft effective reintegration support. 

Citation: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, "Child Recruitment and Exits from Armed Group: Evidence from the Lake Chad Basin to Inform the UNSC CAAC Debate," UNIDIR, Geneva, 2024.