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UNICEF and ECHO Reintegrate Child Soldiers in Côte d'Ivoire
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UNICEF and ECHO Reintegrate Child Soldiers in Côte d'Ivoire
Béoué, 18, is a former child soldier in Côte d’Ivoire. He is now learning how to run a business with help from the Prevention, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme. Supported by UNICEF and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection Office, the program works to reintegrate young people like Béoué into their families and communities, and to offer them a second chance in life.
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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
Once hailed as a model of stability, Côte d’Ivoire has slipped into the kind of internal strife that has plagued many African countries. In 2002, an armed rebellion split the nation in two. The conflict caused numerous atrocities and displaced thousands of people. Violence against civilians was rampant. Children were witnesses, victims and sometimes even perpetrators.
BÉOUÉ [18 years old]
I am a hero - they call me Béoué. I was so happy to defend my village, that on my way home, I used to sing.
VOICEOVER
Béoué is one of the thousands of Ivorian children who was associated with the fighting forces. Béoué, like so many others, was deprived of his basic rights.
BÉOUÉ
Although I am not a soldier, I know everything a soldier knows about weapons. Up until now, I remember everything. Around us, we had death. People were wounded and dying. There are terrible things that happen on this earth.
SYLVIE DOSSOU [Chief Child Protection, UNICEF]
UNICEF, along with implementing partners, has set up a Prevention, Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme for children who have been associated with fighting forces, for children who were at risk of recruitment and also for vulnerable children in the community. The main goal of our intervention is to reintegrate children like Béoué into their families and into their community and offer them a second chance in life.
BÉOUÉ
When the rebels came, they burned everything. The birth certificates, everything was destroyed. I would have liked to finish my schooling, but it is already too late. I need to learn a skill.
VOICEOVER
Because he had no access to school during the war, UNICEF – with the assistance of ECHO – has helped Béoué, and many more, to learn skills which benefit his entire community.
SAMY CECCHIN [Regional Humanitarian Advisor, ECHO]
ECHO, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department provides humanitarian assistance to the victims of crisis. In Côte d'Ivoire, with its partner's Prevention, Demobilisation and Reintegration Programmes, to date, over 4000 children associated with armed groups and thousands of vulnerable children, at risk of recruitment, have benefited from the Commission's support.
BÉOUÉ
In the project I learn the alphabet and math. I learn to read and write. I learn many things. The education which I receive is good. It helps me; it actually helps me a lot. I chose chicken breeding, because a hen might produce ten eggs in two weeks. So soon there may be many more. In five years time, I would like to have a business, a big business!