Ex-combatant Reintegration in Liberia

This study has been completed.
Sponsor:
Collaborators:
United Nations Peacebuilding Fund
World Bank
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Christopher J. Blattman, Columbia University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT01703936
First received: October 8, 2012
Last updated: NA
Last verified: October 2012
History: No changes posted
  Purpose

This project is an evaluation of an agricultural training and resettlement program for high-risk young adults in Liberia, especially poorly integrated male ex-combatants. The primary aim is to see to what extent an intensive economic and life skills intervention can rehabilitate high-risk individuals and reduce aggression and armed violence.


Condition Intervention
Poverty
Social Instability
Other: Agricultural and life skills training program

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Official Title: Evaluating a Landmine Action Ex-combatant Reintegration Program in Liberia

Further study details as provided by Columbia University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Potential for Social Instability [ Time Frame: 1 year after completion of program ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    This outcome includes engagement in illicit activities, ease of mobilization, political attitudes, violence and aggression, how settled they are, integration into mainstream society, and mental health symptoms.

  • Economic Stability [ Time Frame: 1 year after completion of program ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    This outcome includes employment and poverty level.

  • Preferences [ Time Frame: 1 year after completion of program ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    This outcome includes risk and time preferences.

  • Interest in Agriculture [ Time Frame: 1 year after completion of the program ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    This outcome measures level of interest in agriculture, attempts to engage in agriculture, perceptions of agriculture, and level of willingness to invest in agriculture.


Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Level of Social Support and Quality of Social Relations [ Time Frame: 1 year after completion of the study ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    The outcome includes aggregate level of social support, quality of relationship with family and elders, advising, and peer groups.

  • Aspirations and Future Planning [ Time Frame: 1 year after completion of the program ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    This outcome measures aspirations for the future and thinking about the future.

  • Empowerment [ Time Frame: 1 year after completion of the study ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    The outcome includes locus of control and making their own decisions.


Enrollment: 1330
Study Start Date: May 2009
Study Completion Date: July 2011
Primary Completion Date: March 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: agricultural training program
Three to four month residential agriculture and life skills training program.
Other: Agricultural and life skills training program
Other Names:
  • Tumutu Agricultural Training Program (TATP)
  • Sinoe Agricultural Training Program (SATP)
No Intervention: Control group

Detailed Description:

Poor and unemployed youth are widely considered a threat to political stability, often blamed for everything from fights to crime, riots and revolutions. Ex-combatants cause special worry. Not only do they have professional experience in warfare, and hence some comparative advantage in violence, but their social networks may also be dense with potential recruiters. War may also have left them poorer or more traumatized than their peers. Each of these factors could elevate the risk of rebellion, crime, or other aggression, risks greatest in weak states and uncertain economic climates like that of Liberia.

In response, policymakers commonly turn to employment and other poverty alleviation programs, including cash grants, vocational training, small business development, and microfinance. Underlying these programs is the belief that with economic opportunities come stability. When dealing with organized populations, such as former combatants, gang members, or criminal organizations, policymakers are also anxious to break down risky social networks, especially the links between commanders and foot soldiers. Interventions often go beyond simple employment programs, and seek to relocate, resettle, or otherwise remove high-risk individuals from risky networks.

This project evaluates a rehabilitation program for ex-combatants and other high-risk youth in Liberia, a unique case where it was both politically and practically feasible to establish and follow a random control group. The program we study, which was designed and implemented by the international non-governmental organization (NGO) Action on Armed Violence, is among the best of its class. The program is targeted towards ex-combatants and other high-risk populations in resource enclaves and other "hotspots" around the country. It provides extensive agricultural skills training and inputs alongside life skills training and resettlement assistance. Its objective is to reduce the risk of violence and aggression by providing an alternative, stable livelihood in civilian communities to youth otherwise engaged in illicit activities or thought to be easily mobilized into crime or violence. After observing two highly promising courses and classes of graduates, the researchers collaborated with the NGO to randomly evaluate their next round of classes at two training sites.

The program implementers confirmed that the number of youth eligible for the program exceeded program capacity by a factor of at least two. The sample size was limited to 2.5 times the number of spots in the program, for a total of 1500. In order to give all eligible youth an equal opportunity to participate, the program implementers determined entry into the program using a computerized randomization of eligible youth. Respondents were assigned to treatment and control using a randomization program coded in Stata. The sample was stratified by gender, "commander status," and community of registration.

The study has two principal rounds of data collection among both treatment and control groups: a baseline prior to the intervention and a follow-up survey approximately one year following completion of the program.

  Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria (determined by program):

  • ex-combatant
  • not served by previous reintegration programs
  • engaged in illicit activities such as mining and rubber tapping

Exclusion Criteria (determined by program):

  • pregnant women
  • individuals deemed physically incapable of agriculture
  • foreigners unwilling to settle in Liberia
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01703936

Locations
Liberia
Tumutu Agricultural Training Program
Salala, Bong County, Liberia
Sinoe Agricultural Training Program
Panama, Sinoe County, Liberia
Sponsors and Collaborators
Columbia University
United Nations Peacebuilding Fund
World Bank
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeannie Annan, Ph.D. International Rescue Committee
Principal Investigator: Christopher Blattman, Ph.D. Columbia University
  More Information

Additional Information:
No publications provided

Responsible Party: Christopher J. Blattman, Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs and of Political Science, Columbia University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01703936     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: AAAK6203
Study First Received: October 8, 2012
Last Updated: October 8, 2012
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Keywords provided by Columbia University:
economic intervention
ex-combatant
agriculture
life skills

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on August 21, 2014