Reintegration of former combatants
Title: Social and economic reintegration of ex-combatants and con-flict-affected groups
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Project Office within the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC)
Overall term: 2019 to 2020
In 2018, the Ethiopian Government promised to grant amnesty to various armed resistance groups and to support the reintegration of their combatants. Before then, the groups had primarily operated from the neighbouring country of Eritrea. This was a peace initiative between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
In an initial phase, several thousand former combatants from various groups returned with their families to Ethiopia and laid down their weapons. The returning ex-combatants face substantial hurdles with regard to their professional and social reintegration. Some of them have spent more than ten years living in isolated military camps. On top of this, they may have had traumatic experiences during their combat missions. They are therefore dependent on the support promised by the government. However, the government is not sufficiently prepared for this task.
The project is based on a request from the Ethiopian Prime Minister to the German Government for support with the reintegration process. The new Project Office established by the Ethiopian Government within the National Disaster and Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) is coordinating this process. Its success may well have an impact on the country’s political stability.
Ex-combatants from Ethiopian resistance groups are receiving effective support for their professional reintegration and integration into their social environment. The government and regional institutions are increasingly in a position to meet their promise to help the resistance groups and are thus contributing to the peace process.
The project is helping the government and national and regional institutions to integrate combatants. At the same time, it is also providing the former fighters with individual assistance.
The project’s activities are divided into three fields of activity in technical cooperation. In the process-related field of activity, for example, it is supporting the responsible Ethiopian authority in developing processes and standards at national and regional level. The aim here is to develop a strategy for implementing the ex-combatants’ reintegration into society. The structural development field of activity is establishing a supervision mechanism, making it possible to support the target group in a systematic and individualised manner during the process of reintegration into civilian life. A third aspect is the support field of activity. The project plans to implement specific offerings tailored to the individual needs of ex-combatants. These include advisory services and psychosocial provision, as well as placement in training measures and jobs. In addition, the project is providing assistance with any conflicts that occur. This applies not only to the former combatants, but also to the host communities.
The reintegration project is being implemented together with the cooperation partner Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).