Uganda: Post-war youth vocational training (Chris Blattman)

To increase employment and reduce poverty, government and NGOs commonly train youth as carpenters, tailors, mechanics, welders, cooks and other vocations. Evidence is thin, however, on the worth and effectiveness of such spending.

We are working with Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister and The World Bank to evaluate Uganda’s largest youth vocational training program. The evaluation will answer several key questions, including:

  • How does the program impact the lives of beneficiaries?
    • How many start up and sustain a business?
    • What is the impact on income, employment, assets, and savings?
    • What are the determinants of success (and failure) in vocations and entrepreneurship?
  • How do any economic gains spill over into other areas of life:
    • physical and psychological health;
    • risky behaviors;
    • social and political participation;
    • investments in children’s health and education; and
    • the transfer knowledge to neighbors and friends?


Title LRA Regional Update: DRC, CAR and south Sudan – January – March 2011
Publisher UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Country Central African Republic | Democratic Republic of the Congo | Sudan
Publication Date 7 April 2011
Cite as UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),
LRA Regional Update: DRC, CAR and south Sudan – January – March 2011, 7 April 2011.

available at: [accessed 3 May 2011]

Today, there are approximately 300,000 child soldiers fighting in armed conflict.

◦ Child soldiers are under the age of 18.
◦ Children are used as soldiers because they are easily manipulated and are too young to understand their actions.
◦ Child soldiers use AK-47s, M-16s and grenades because they are easy to use.
Orphans and refugees sometimes see their only hope for survival is by joining a militia.
◦ Child soldiers are used to clear landmines and as human shields.

◦ Child soldiers are often given drugs to help them cope with their emotions making it easier for them to kill.
◦ Girl soldiers are often used as domestic sex slaves.
◦ Child soldiers carry supplies and act as messengers, cooks and lookouts.
◦ Child soldiers are sometimes forced to commit atrocities against their own families and villages.
◦ Many child soldiers are not welcome back home after a conflict ends because of cultural superstition.
◦ Children are the victims of conflict after witnessing or participating in murder and rape, becoming disabled, homeless or psychologically traumatized.

Dancing Through The Pain from Ebony Butler on Vimeo.

For over twenty years Northern Uganda faced one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world.

Thousands were murdered, 1 million people displaced and 30,000 children were forced to become child soldiers and sex slaves.

Scars from the past still exist but song and dance help people overcome their trauma and remove the scars of the past.

I have produced an extended version of this, which is 15 minutes in duration. I am currently working on a feature length documentary, Child Troopers.

This site will give you information about Atlantic Star Productions’ feature documentary ‘Child Troopers’, on the topic of child soldiers, child rights worldwide, post-conflict rehabilitation and recovery. The site will profile the LRA terrorist organization that is behind the brutal atrocities and abduction of children in East Africa on an ongoing reign of terror that began in 1987. It will be informative, educational and will offer visitors to the site an opportunity learn about these and other human rights issues, and will give readers regular updates and key development and production information about the film we are currently producing. Enjoy the page as I hope you will enjoy the film!

Break the Silence.
End The Suffering.
Protect Our Vulnerable.