Edward B. Rackley in his excellent blog, Across the Divide: Analysis & Anecdote from Africa:
I’ve been working with child soldiers in the DR Congo most of this year. My focus has been on evaluating programs run by the usual aid agencies: UNICEF, Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, the Red Cross network, and a host of smaller Congolese groups. These actors are funded by tax revenues and private donations from people in developed countries, so directly or indirectly, you and I are paying for them. Such evaluations provide accountability to donors that they’re getting what they paid for. Anyone who says international aid is unaccountable is simply uninformed.
In previous postings I’ve explored some of the problems posed by the child soldier phenomenon, but I tend to take for granted the big picture dilemma that this sad group of victims cum perpetrators poses to our world. It’s worth mentioning here: What to do when previously accepted morals and norms prohibiting certain forms of behavior (universally shared taboos, if you like) cease to enforce the limits of barbarism? Capturing and re-programming underage youth to slaughter enemy combatants and innocents is one such taboo that no longer exists in 37 of 55 recently ended or ongoing conflicts.