A forthcoming project on youth experiences with violence and outcomes of reintegration programmes for children formerly associated with armed groups, in cooperation with UNICEF. Research reports, a documentary, individual film portraits, and a photo exposition are amongst the products that will feature in the e-publication.

Photo series: Young people after demobilization in Bangui, the Central African Republic

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June 2018, by Sjoerd Sijsma. The series was exhibited at the African Studies Centre in Leiden from 1 March until 1 June 2018. See announcement of the exhibition was accomanied by the following text.

This is not the type of exposition one would expect when one thinks of child soldiers. Normally traumatized children in military fatigue are portrayed while they hold their guns.

For a research and documentary project we interviewed young people in Bangui who recently disengaged from armed groups in the Central African Republic about their experiences with what is often framed as ‘reintegration’. Some of them were helped by UNICEF and partner organizations, others sought to find their own ways.

Studying the aftermath of their involvement as children in armed groups we encountered the many problems that these young people still face. But we also came across their strength and dignity. This was portrayed in the new professions some learned in reintegration projects and perform with pride in front of the camera, or in their roles as caring young mothers and fathers. The young people were visited at their homes and this gave interesting information about how they are embedded in their family structures. The exposition also draws attention to their family-settings, and to the process of documentary-making.

The exposition is the result of a documentary project by Sjoerd Sijsma together with Wilfried Poukoule, Marie Louise Tchissikombre, Crépin Marius Mouguia, Jean Bruno Ngouflo and Jonna Both.


Jonna Both, Marius Mouguia, Jean Bruno Ngouflo, Marie Louise Esther Tchissikombre, Wilfried Vianney Poukoule, Luzzia Razzagi, Sjoerd Sijsma, Catharina Wilson (links to page with profiles on the Voice4thought website)