BOUAKE, Ivory Coast, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A top U.N. official says several micro-projects in Ivory Coast aimed at reintegrating ex-combatants into civilian life are a positive step.
Y.J. Choi, U.N. special representative for Ivory Coast, is conducting a five-city trip in the West African country to observe a U.N. program called "1,000 Micro-projects for Peace." The program is designed to reintegrate former militants into a non-violent civilian life by offering training and work, the United Nations reported.
Choi, who visited a chicken coop and a pig farm project near Ivory Coast's second-largest city, Bouake, called the micro-projects positive and cause for hope that the country can avoid a return to violence.
"The realization of these projects has been positive, and I have great hopes they will make a difference," Choi said in a statement.
The United Nations estimates that as many as 1,200 former combatants and at-risk youths have participated in the "1,000 Micro-projects for Peace" program.