TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2018 – Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) announced it is committing $1 million to the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative to support the establishment of a regional centre of training and learning in Rwanda. The regional hub of practice, research and advocacy will serve as a meeting place for countries to exchange and learn how to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
The $1 million donation builds on Intact’s initial investment of $300,000 in the Dallaire Initiative, which began in 2015. These new funds will help the Dallaire Initiative establish a permanent presence in Africa.
According to the UN Secretary-General’s 2018 Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict – seven national armies and 56 armed groups operating in 14 countries recruit and use children as soldiers.
“The Dallaire Initiative is a pioneer in the work of preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers and a permanent presence in Rwanda will strengthen their effectiveness,” said Charles Brindamour, Chief Executive Officer of Intact Financial Corporation. “I spent time in Rwanda this spring with the Dallaire Initiative and saw first hand, the importance of their work. While the problem of using children in wars is far from resolved, the General’s team is moving the needle and making progress.”
“This level of support makes Intact the Dallaire Initiative’s first $1 million corporate donor,” said Dr. Shelly Whitman, the Dallaire Initiative’s Executive Director. “These funds will be critical in enhancing our training in East and Central Africa, where some of the gravest violations against children are taking place.” The donation will also go towards funding a fellowship for the Executive Director to continue advocating for children’s rights on the international peace and security agenda.
An event marking the first anniversary of the Vancouver Principles, is being hosted tonight by the Permanent Missions of Canada and Rwanda to the United Nations in collaboration with the Dallaire Initiative.
Hosted by Canadian Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard, special guests include LGen (ret’d) Roméo Dallaire, Executive Director of the Dallaire Initiative Dr. Shelly Whitman, global advocates for children and Dallaire Initiative Advisors Michel Chikwanine and Ishmael Beah as well as Intact Financial Corporation CEO Charles Brindamour.
At the event, the Dallaire Initiative will announce the establishment of a regional centre of training and learning in Rwanda, the first African country to endorse the Vancouver Principles. To date, 69 UN member countries have endorsed the Principles, a watershed initiative that was jointly launched by the Government of Canada and the Dallaire Initiative.