The situation in Aceh differs from other conflict environments in that most combatants have remained close to their communities during the conflict, with some never having left their villages. As such, minimal tensions are reported between former combatants and ‘receiving communities’. Reintegration measures have thus focused more on economic reintegration rather than social reintegration. Overall, the primary need identified was livelihoods assistance, comprising of training, access to capital and job creation.
The general literature on reintegration provides a number of recommendations:
- Reintegration programmes must be designed holistically, recognising the inter-relationship of social, economic and psycho-social aspects.
- It is important to assess and draw on the existing skills of former combatants. Skills such as infrastructure construction, loyalty, discipline and teamwork are often common among them and can be transferred into a civilian role.
- Skills training must also include knowledge of market structures, capital structures and accounting information. In addition, teaching life skills and assisting in acculturation to civilian life and addressing psycho-social needs should also form part of training programmes.
- Government and community consultation in the planning and implementation of donor programmes is essential.
- It is useful to test-pilot training programmes before they are implemented on a larger scale in order to ensure that they are well designed and implemented.