KAIPTC, GAF personnel complete sensitization tours of GAF Garrisons, under Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations project

An eight-month nation-wide tour of the Garrisons of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) by staff of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) to sensitize personnel on gender awareness has ended in Accra. About 14,000 personnel have been educated on Women, Peace and Security mechanisms in the GAF and sensitized on certain cultures and gender roles that hamper the progress of women in the Armed Forces. The sessions also highlighted the initiatives and commitment of the GAF leadership to mainstream gender in its operations to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Since the start of the tour in September 2022, a joint team comprising KAIPTC staff and personnel from the Ghana and Canadian Armed Forces have successfully toured various Garrisons of the GAF in Sunyani, Kumasi, Tema, Ho, Takoradi, Tamale, Wa, Bolga, and Damongo.

Speaking about the significance of the tour, Col William Abotsi, the GAF Project Coordinator for the Elsie Initiative for Uniformed Women in Peace Support Operations, noted that, through the nation-wide tour, personnel are now knowledgeable about gender issues, and are expected to be more gender conscious and sensitive. He added that the tours also addressed some of the top barriers to increased and meaningful participation of women in peace operations such as gender roles and social exclusion that hinder female personnel from deploying for peace operations. The new awareness that personnel now have would positively impact the military culture in the GAF in the long-term and help to achieve the goal to ensure equal opportunities for both men and women in the Armed Forces.

According to Mrs. Agnes Agbevadi, the Programme Officer at the Women, Peace and Security Institute at the KAIPTC, the sensitization sessions is to equip the GAF to mainstream gender into their operations and activities and to for equal opportunity and equal rights for both male and female personnel to explore their capabilities in the Armed Forces.

Typically, the sensitization sessions were structured in the form of plenary and focused group discussions. Homogeneous groups were composed of Officers and Warrant Officers; Corporals to Staff Sergeants; and Private Soldiers and Lance Corporals (and their equivalent in the Air Force and Navy).

The Garrison tour forms part of activities of the “Enhancing Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) capabilities to address barriers to Women in Peacekeeping”, project, which is being executed by KAIPTC over an 18 month period, with funding from Global Affairs Canada.

The project was designed to implement recommendations of the 2020 Barrier Assessment Report conducted through “Measuring Opportunities for Women in Peace Operations” (MOWIP) methodology, which evaluated the GAF’s ability to deploy women to UN peace operations, and identified that eligibility pool, gender roles, and social exclusion were the top three barriers to their meaningful participation in UN peace operations. Subsequently, the project was designed with specific interventions to address these issues. Besides the garrison tours, other interventions include supporting GAF to furnish selected offices of appointed Gender Advisors and Gender Focal Points with office equipment to enable them undertake their day-to-day functions/roles effectively; development of a comprehensive gender policy for the GAF; development of standardized gender training packages and an online course for Gender Advisors / Focal Points; provision of software for its operational database to monitor deployments etc.

Overall, the project aims to enhance GAF’s capacity to address barriers faced by women seeking deployment to UN peace operations and advance gender equality within the Armed forces.