7th June, 2023: Twenty-seven personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) are participating in a Military Observers Course at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) as part of efforts to enhance the participation of women in peacekeeping operations.
The course forms part of series of interventions under the Project dubbed: “Enhancing Ghana Armed Forces Capabilities to Address Barriers to Women in Peacekeeping”, funded by Global Affairs Canada. The 18-month Project, which started in August 2022, seeks to build the capacity of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to address the challenges undermining the deployment of women to UN peace operations
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.
The female-predominant MILOBS course is thus intended to address the ‘eligible pool’ barrier faced by female personnel in the GAF. The ‘eligible pool’ essentially means that GAF women were not distributed evenly across roles, ranks, units and functions, thereby limiting their opportunities for deployment to UN peace operations. The Course is thus one way that Canada’s Elsie Initiative project, implemented by the Women Peace and Security Institute (WPSI) of KAIPTC, is addressing this barrier, to increase the pool of women officers eligible to deploy as Military Observers.
In the next three weeks, the participants of the course, comprising 21 females and six (6) males, will be taken through a collaborative problem-based learning programme and its delivery will involve lectures, in-class discussions, case studies, role playing exercises and practical demonstrations.
The course is based on the UN Standard Training Material for Military Observers to be covered within the three weeks’ period and will culminate in a final outdoor exercise at the Bundase Training Camp.
Addressing participants at the opening of the course on Monday, 5th June 2023, Air Commodore George Kweku Arko-Dadzie, the Deputy Commandant of the KAIPTC, said the course is expected to significantly build the capacity of the personnel to perform basic military observer duties and responsibilities.
He said the course will equip prospective Military Observers nominated to deploy in UN and regional peace operations missions with the requisite knowledge, skills and techniques to enable them discharge their duties and responsibilities effectively and efficiently in the field.
“I am also of the belief that by building such capacities in officers of your calibre, we would have contributed our quota towards the building of a peaceful and stable Africa where the security of all will be assured,” he said.
The Senior Liaison Officer for the Elsie Initiative in Ghana, Global Affairs Canada, Ms. Pearl Wierenga, said Canada believes that women in military and police services should benefit equally from deployment opportunities to UN peace operations.
She said military observers “are the eyes and ears of the mission”, adding that their observation and assessments play a critical role in providing real-time picture of the situation on the ground and preserve the integrity of the mission.
“The results of peace operations are more effective and longer-lasting when women participate alongside men in the process,” she said. She added that Ghana is currently the largest contributor of women military peacekeepers to the UN, and noted the exceptional role GAF women play to support global peace and security.
At the end of the course, participants will have in-depth knowledge of the establishment, principles, functioning and legal framework of UN peacekeeping operations; proficiency in the basic MILOBs duties and responsibilities and also familiarize themselves with the principal duties of MILOBs which comprise observing, reporting, patrolling, team site and observation post procedures, verification and monitoring, investigation and inspection, among others.