German development policy

A life in peace and security

Syrian children in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan

Many girls and boys can only dream of a life in peace and security. It is estimated that, worldwide, about one billion children and young people are affected by armed conflicts – as refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers, but also as members of fighting forces or of support units for armed troops.

The physical and psychological impacts of violence, displacement and expulsion on children and young people are terrible. Trauma, the break-up of family and social structures, and the collapse of health and school systems have a detri­mental impact on entire generations.

Another problem is rising crime in many poor coun­tries. In metropolitan areas in particular the perpetrators and victims are often younger than 30. In many cases, pov­er­ty, lack of prospects, extreme social inequality, high levels of youth unemployment and low political participation are at the root of violent behaviour.

German assistance

Germany supports in­ter­national institutions, programmes and treaties for the re­inte­gra­tion of young people who are or who have been involved in armed conflicts. The social re­inte­gra­tion of former child soldiers is a par­tic­u­lar­ly im­por­tant part of re­con­ci­li­a­tion and re­con­struc­tion. The activities sup­port­ed by Germany include providing psy­cho­lo­gi­cal support in dealing with trauma; projects par­tic­u­lar­ly focus on education, em­ploy­ment, health promotion and political participation.

Transitional de­vel­op­ment assistance takes the needs of children and young people into special account. This assistance is intended as a bridge between huma­ni­ta­rian aid and the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion that comes later. The aim is first and foremost to restore elementary infra­struc­ture and basic social services that benefit children and young people in particular.

In order to prevent youth violence, the root causes must be addressed. That is why Germany is involved in efforts in various sectors, for example, education, promoting employ­ment, urban de­vel­op­ment, security and social work, which are aimed at preventing violence and are targeted at young people. Projects for preventing youth violence in urban areas are a particular focus.

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