Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Dr. Linda Day


A significant number of Liberian ex-militants are unemployed and underemployed despite the job skills, formal education, and entrepreneurial training they received as participants in the Formal Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program that was established to reintegrate combatants into civilian society at the end of the two civil wars in Liberia in 2003. The purpose of this study was to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the vocational training offered by the DDR program. Informed by the theories of Human Capital, Peace Building, and Bronfrenbrenner, the research questions for this study assessed the benefits of the educational component of DDR. A phenomenological study design was employed with a purposeful sample of ex-militant participants that included 12 ex-militants and a focus group of 6-ex-militants drawn from the 12 who completed vocational training at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center in Monrovia (MVTC). All data were inductively coded and analyzed using a constant comparative method. Data analysis uncovered five textural themes: motivation for disarmament, hope to rebuild lives through vocational training, dissatisfaction with reintegration, perception of reintegration, and perception of future combat participation. Findings support human capital, peace building, and ecological systems theories in that ex-militants perceived the benefit of education in their transition to peacetime endeavor, but consider themselves only partially reintegrated since all consider themselves unemployed with no means to survive economically. This study is significant because it provides recommendations to policymakers on how such a program can improve the vocational training offered and provide follow-up life-skills counseling.