A national campaign spearheaded by the Women, Peace and Security Institute (WPSI) of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in collaboration with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to sensitise and encourage women to choose combat and combat-support roles in the GAF has been launched at KAIPTC.
The campaign forms part of the “Increasing Women Recruitment into the Ghana Armed Forces for increased participation in UN Peace Operations” project, funded by The Elsie Initiative Fund (EIF) for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations.
Hon. Kofi Amankwa-Manu, the Deputy Minister of Defence, launched the project at a ceremony held at the KAIPTC on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.
The launch was attended by the GAF Military High Command, a representative from The Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations, some representatives of the nine (9) contributors to the Elsie Initiative Fund (EIF), among others.
The EIF seeks to increase the meaningful participation of women in United Nations peacekeeping operations and aims to “support and incentivize efforts to increase the meaningful participation of uniformed women in United Nations peace operations”. The EIF, hosted by UN Women, was designed and established with the support of the broader Canadian Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, Member States, the UN system and peacekeeping experts.
The Fund is an important step in encouraging and funding innovation to accelerate the pace of change in security institutions and to enable more uniformed women to meaningfully deploy to and participate in peace operations.
The campaign will encourage young women to take up opportunities within the combat units of the GAF and by extension provide greater opportunity for women. It will also address misconceptions and stereotypes about women joining the GAF and raise awareness of women’s career opportunities and advancement in the Force.
The KAIPTC’s Women, Peace, and Security Institute (WPSI) and GAF are expected to conduct a communication and recruitment campaign with the key messaging that will focus on breaking down gender stereotypes, encouraging women to join the GAF, and choose combat and combat support arms.
The national campaign will cover three dimensions: lobbying the GAF high command to inform policy; media campaign and visits to secondary and tertiary institutions in the 16 regions of Ghana.
The campaign will be complemented by the construction of women’s accommodation and facilities at the Army Recruit Training School (ARTS) at Shai Hills and the Daboya Training Camp. This will ensure that the GAF had adequate space to accommodate the planned increase in numbers of women recruits.
Speaking at the launch, Hon. Amankwa-Manu said the campaign demonstrated Ghana’s commitment to the UN Resolutions 1325 and 2242 as well as the Maputo Protocol of the African Union.
Major General Richard Addo Gyane, the Commandant of the KAIPTC, said the Centre, through its WPSI, remains committed to promoting gender equality and meaningful participation and leadership of women in peace and security.
He lauded the Military High Command for establishing Gender focal persons within all the Units of the Garrisons and the dedication to ensure gender parity in its deployment to the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
“We call on parents and other stakeholders to have a positive attitude towards encouraging the female members of their families to take up positions beside their male counterparts for the defence of the country,” he said.
Col. William Abotsi, Project Manager, Ghana, The Elsie Initiative Fund, said the construction of the two female accommodation blocks has begun, and the recruitment campaign is an important landmark in the history of Elsie Initiative in GAF.
In a video message, Madam Deborah Warren-Smith, from the Elsie Initiative Fund, congratulated the KAIPTC and the GAF for rolling out the recruitment campaign ad pledged the continuous support of the Fund to help address challenges affecting women in the Armed Forces.
Mr Andrew Maharaj, Senior Trade Commissioner, Canadian High Commission to Ghana, said the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations seeks to move beyond a focus on numbers by working to increase the meaningful participation of women.
“Meaningful participation means ensuring that substantially more women are represented across all ranks and functions—in non-traditional roles and senior leadership positions; in assignments that correspond to their experience and training; and in a safe environment that offers parity of deployment conditions and a professional culture conducive to their participation,” he said.
The Project stemmed from the recommendations of the 2020 Measuring Opportunities for Women in Peace Operations (MOWIP) Report, which examined GAF’s ability to deploy women to, and ensure their “meaningful participation” in UN peace operations. The Report identified eligible pool, gender roles, and social exclusion as top barriers to women’s meaningful participation in UN peace operations.
One of the key targets of the Project is to increase the percentage of women recruited into the GAF from 16 per cent recorded in 2022 to 25 per cent by 2028, which will enable a larger eligible pool of women to be available for selection for deployment.