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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 109-123

Challenges for a future reintegration programme in Somalia: outcomes of an assessment on drug abuse, psychological distress and preferences for reintegration assistance

1 Dipl. Psych. works as a clinical psychologist at the University of Konstanz, Germany, where he is a therapist and researcher of an outpatient clinic for refugees and research ward for Schizophrenia. In the course of his doctorate studies, he has done extensive fieldwork in the Somalia pilot DDRp rogramme
2 head of GTZ ISDRP in Hargeisa, Somaliland, and currently works for the World Bank's Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Programme (MDRP) of the Greater Great Lakes Region in Africa, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
3 international NGO vivo. She currently coordinates the activities in northern Sri Lanka and Uganda with a main focus on the building-up of a support infrastructure for war-traumatized children and their families

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Based on an assessment of over 8000 active militia members and military staff in seven regions of Somalia, this article reports on three groups of respondents who might require special attention in a future Somali disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme. The assessment revealed distinct preferences concerning future reintegration assistance, according to region, age and gender of the respondents. In the south of Somalia, a large number of young respondents want to return to formal schooling, but they are especially burdened by war related trauma and exhibit elevated patterns of drug use. Many of the older respondents in the north of Somalia and female respondents throughout of the country, prefer monetary support from a future reintegration programme. This group might not have realistic expectations about demobilization and the existing modules of reintegration assistance might not meet their specific needs. A third group consisted of respondents with a prior psychological breakdown which had disrupted their every day functioning and who might be at high risk to develop severe psychiatric disorders in the future, as demonstrated in a previous study. The findings suggest that, for planning and implementation of a DDR programme, variables such as the expectations, drug use and the psychological stress of individual ex-combatants need to be taken into account.

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