A gift to the Dalhousie-based Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security promises to strengthen the institute’s ability to predict areas at high-risk for recruitment and use of children as soldiers, allowing for earlier intervention and potentially reducing the long-term impacts of armed conflict.
The $2.5-million gift from the Waverley House Foundation will support the “Early Warning to Early Action” predictive model developed through the Dallaire Institute’s Knowledge for Prevention (K4P) research project.
The Early Warning to Early Action model evaluates areas of conflict and predicts which areas are most likely to resort to the recruitment and use of children as soldiers. Identifying these highest risk areas allows the Dallaire Institute and its partners to target their resources and actions earlier, aiming to prevent the use of children as soldiers, averting escalation of conflict and reducing the length of the conflicts.
“The Waverley House Foundation’s support of the Dallaire Institute has been transformative and has already kickstarted our Knowledge for Prevention project,” says Dr. Shelly Whitman, executive director of the Dallaire Institute.
"We’ve developed a dataset and worry list that helps us understand with 86 per cent reliability, up to two years out, the early warning signs of the potential recruitment and use of children around the world. The success of this initiative has opened up opportunities for us to do even more.”
Whitman adds that, using the early warning system, in 2020, the Dallaire Institute was able to flag security concerns that involved children in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, and subsequently employ programmatic interventions with UNICEF and the country’s Ministry of Defence to raise awareness, train security forces and engage with civil society actors on preventing grave violations against children.
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Inspired to make an impact
The Waverley House Foundation was first inspired to support the Dallaire Institute after its director read General Roméo Dallaire’s book, Waiting for First Light.
“I was so affected by his words and knew I had to do something,” says Bruce McKean, director of the Waverley House Foundation, who went on to meet with General Dallaire, Dr. Whitman and institute staff to find the best way to make an impact.
“I’ve always been an admirer of General Dallaire, and now I feel very fortunate to support the Dallaire Institute. I am honoured that my gift can help things go a bit further, a bit faster. We need more of that.”
The Early Warning to Early Action model is featured in a workshop at the Dallaire Institute’s fourth-annual K4P Symposium, which wraps up in Uruguay on December 1.
Based at Dalhousie University with operations around the world, the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security works to prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed violence by supporting the integration of policy in domestic law and security sector doctrine. To achieve its vision of a world where children are at the heart of peace and security, the Dallaire Institute’s mission is to prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed violence and transform cycles of violence.
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