The celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) serves as a critical platform to elevate the voices of women who have borne the brunt of conflict and displacement and continue to act as agents of peace and transformation. This year’s theme, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” underscores the critical link between empowering women and girls and achieving lasting peace and security.

But “Invest in Women” goes beyond mere goodwill. It’s a strategic imperative. By emphasizing investment, the theme highlights that women’s advancement is not a charity case, but a key driver of global progress. In the context of peace and security, this becomes even more profound.

Investing in women means recognizing women’s pivotal role as agents of change in promoting peace and security. Highlighting the plight of women and girls in conflict, from sexual and gender-based violence to their struggle of in post-conflict reconstruction and yet still celebrating women’s resilience and contribution of peacebuilding and peace operations, the Women, Youth, Peace & Security Institute (WYPSI) of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) emphasizes that recognizing women as agents of change is crucial. This recognition should fuel global advocacy for stronger protection of women for communities impacted by conflict and insecurity and advance systems to promote women’s meaningful participation in peace and security sector governance.

Working on our core mandates of under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 on Women Peace and Security and 2250 on Youth Peace and Security, our experience at WYPSI arms the transformative power of investing in women as peace agents. It is not just the right thing to do, it’s a strategic imperative for building a safer and more equitable world, recognizing the vital role women play in fostering a world free from conflict and violence.



This year’s theme for IWD aligns seamlessly with the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda, a critical framework aimed at addressing the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and promoting their active participation in peacebuilding processes. The landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), adopted in the year 2000, with its follow-up resolutions, provide the foundational pillars of the WPS Agenda. It emphasizes the importance of women’s participation in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict reconstruction, recognizing the unique perspectives and capacities they bring to the table.

Other important international normative frameworks reinforce the centrality and commitment of the WPS Agenda. The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women Africa (Maputo Protocol) is landmark in championing women’s rights in Africa. Maputo protocol provides for the socio-cultural, economic, political, environmental and human rights of African women. Similarly, the African Union Agenda 2063, with its “Silencing the Guns” initiative, recognizes women as crucial actors in conflict preventing and peacebuilding.

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on Gender Equality and SDG 16 on Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions reinforce the interconnectedness of women’s empowerment and global security for development, highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach.

Through these international frameworks, the call to “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” highlights the importance advancing the Women, Peace, and Security agenda, towards a world where women’s empowerment is intrinsic to the pursuit of lasting peace and sustainable development.



IWD serves as a platform to advocate for more women at the peace table. When women have a say in conflict resolution, their unique perspectives and priorities can lead to more inclusive and lasting solutions. The day also goes to highlight the need to address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls in conflict zones, including ensuring their safety from violence, access to humanitarian aid, and participation in post-conflict recovery efforts. It also calls for the need for governments and partners to ensure investments in WPS programming.

For this reason, investing in women in conflict zones becomes a critical component for creating peace and progress. Empowering women acts as an unequivocal catalyst for advancement. Directing resources towards women’s empowerment, education, economic wellbeing, and overall health addresses their specific needs in conflict zones, while simultaneously creating a solid foundation for sustainable progress. Targeted investments in women’s economic empowerment, both at the community level and through peacebuilding initiatives that include educational programs, can create powerful agents of change. When women are economically empowered, they break the cycle of poverty within their communities and contribute
to sustainable development.

WYPSI’s work directly demonstrates this impact. Recognizing and supporting the multifaceted roles of women – from women peacekeepers and women in national governance to women focused civil society organization and women grassroots actors – is not just an investment in their rights, but a strategic commitment. This approach builds resilience, promotes dialogue, accelerates progress, and ultimately creates a more equitable and prosperous future for all.



WYPSI continues to partner with many stakeholders on the African Peace and Security Architecture in investing in women to promote women and girls’ rights, amplify their voices and build their capacity as peace and security sector actors.

A key funding partners for KAIPTC-WYPSI include: the Government of Norway, which provides core funding essential for equipping and staffing the KAIPTC to fulfill its mandate; the government of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Swedish Government Agency for peace, security and development, Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through its implementing Agency, GIZ-EPSAO, Global Affairs Canada, like the Elsie Initiative Fund for Women in
Peace Support Operations, the Government of Denmark and the UN Women.

In addition to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and USAID, WYPSI also collaborates with various stakeholder agencies like UNOWAS and WILDAF.

WYPSI supports established national and regional systems in preventing and responding to gender-based violence which is a core part of its mission. WYPSI has engaged various grassroots organizations and national actors across Africa to foster national collaboration and enhance synergies in GBV response mechanisms. This collaboration helps to enhance national strategies for GBV prevention and ensures the protection of GBV survivor rights. WYPSI’s support from SIDA and the Government of Denmark supports WYPSIs work in GBV prevention and response.


Promoting African Women Leadership in Peace and Security

To address the underrepresentation of women in peace processes and peace operations in Africa, WYSPI since 2019 has invested in building the next cohort of African women peace and security sector leaders. WYPSI, in partnership with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, provides leadership training to female actors to enhance their capacity to take up leadership in Africa peace and security and advance the WPS Agenda. Additionally, WYPSI supported the development of Women Support Scheme at the KAIPTC to increase capacity building opportunities for women working in peace and security. The Government of Germany through the GIZ Support to the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) a key partner of WYSPSI supporting African women leadership development.

Recognizing the importance of female peacekeepers to achieving peace operations mandates, the United Nations Security Council calls for increased participation of women in peace operations. Ghana remains a lead contributor of women in peace operations, stemming from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) effort and promoting women participation in GAF.

Since 2018, WYPSI has partnered with the GAF to enhance its gender mainstreaming efforts. The Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada continues to work with WYPSI to implement initiatives aimed at enhancing GAFs gender mainstreaming efforts. Similarly, WYPSI as an implementing partner for GAF continues to support GAF in enhancing institutional capacity and infrastructure for gender mainstreaming, the promotion of women’s rights and enhancing women’s participation in combat and combat support roles in GAF with support from the Elsie Initiative Fund under the global project – Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations.

These initiatives support GAF gender mainstreaming efforts, of building a gender sensitive culture which protects the rights of personnel – women and men, and offers equal opportunities for personnel – women and men, to contribute to achieving GAFs mandate of protecting the territorial integrity of Ghana. Additionally, they will enhance Ghana’s capacity to contribute uniformed women for international peace operations, supporting the UNs call for increasing women’s participation in peace operations.

The key elements for promoting gender mainstreaming in organizations include: leadership commitment, gender policy development and building capacities for gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming processes allow organizations to bring to the for front the and address challenges that especially women face and also examines how the organizations work contributes to address gender norms and create and inclusive society where women and men thrive. WYPSI since 2020 in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy and the Government of Norway has provided capacity building for gender advisors supporting the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture. WYPSI has also spearheaded the development of Gender Policies for the KAIPTC, the Ghana Police Service under the Accountability Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Program (ARAP), and the Ghana Armed Forces under the Elsie Initiative Project.


Women Peace and Security Monitoring and Reporting

Across Africa, states that have adopted National Action Plans (NAP) on UNSCR 1325 to set National priorities for WPS implementation. WYPSI in collaboration with the Office of the Special Envoy (OSE) on Women, Peace and Security at the African Union Commission supports the training of national actors for reporting on WPS NAP implementation. Continental Results Framework (CRF) developed by the OSE is a tool to streamline WPS NAP monitoring and reporting. Though this partnership and with funding from the Governments of Sweden and Norway, WYPSI has trained key national officers which has enhanced state WPS reporting and the provision relevant data. This supports policy implementation direction and cohesion at the African Union
and allows for identifying best practices as well as challenges for WPS implementation to guide continental decision making.



The Women, Youth, Peace and Security Institute (WYPSI) of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) is a leading voice in Africa for promoting gender equality, women and youth inclusion in peacebuilding. We serve as a knowledge hub, providing gender expertise for capacity building, research, policy engagement and advocacy on gender peace and security, with a special focus on women and youth. For over a decade, WYPSI has been a Centre of Excellence on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in Africa.

Since 2023, WYPSI has broadened its scope to encompass the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) Agenda. This reflects our commitment to empowering both women and youth as agents of positive change in achieving sustainable peace and security.