Women Peace and Security Panel Discussion Held at KAIPTC

The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC) hosted the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Panel Discussion funded by the Australian government.

The aim of the program was geared toward exploring the role of women in promoting peace and security in West Africa. The programme also served as a platform for academics, policy makers and other stakeholders to share lessons learnt from their experiences from conflict situations.

The Commandant of the KAIPTC, Major Gen. Richard Addo Gyane in his welcome remarks said empowering women and girls to actively engage in peace processes is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic necessity for building lasting peace. He mentioned there is need for collective work to overcome the challenges faced by women and girls in West Africa and ensure their meaningful participation in shaping a more peaceful and secure future for the continent and humanity.

Other keynote speakers at the forum included high level representatives from the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding; the West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network, the Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations, UN Women; the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), Ghana; and the Australian High Commission, Ghana. Speakers from these institutions all highlighted how participation of women in peace and security fosters holistic approaches and solutions to issues that impact everyone.

A panel discussion was held as part of the programme under the theme, “Women, Peace and Security: Supporting the meaningful participation of women and girls in peacebuilding and conflict prevention in West Africa.”

Brigadier General Anita Asmah, Director of the Defense Civilian Establishment of the Ghana Armed Forces and a panelist for the discussion appreciated the Elsie Initiative and called it a “Force to reckon with.” She acknowledged that the Elsie Initiative, for example, has helped to increase female participation in Peace Support Operations by 25% through the construction of a 200-bedroom infrastructure to accommodate Ghanaian female officers under training. She talked about the immense contributions of female staff officers who are deployed into Peace Support Operations. Brig. Gen. Asmah emphasized that female officers add value to missions through their expertise. She said the presence of female officers in conflict zones where women and children are marginalized helps to ease tension and build trust such that, women in these areas are able to open up and talk to female officers about the challenges they deal with. She also added that female officers serve as role models to women affected by conflict, encouraging them to stand up and speak for themselves.

Another panelist, Theodora Williams Anti, Executive Director of the Forum for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) recommended deliberate efforts by states to address issues concerning women. She called for integration and inclusive participation of women in decision making processes. She added that the passing of laws and bills like the Affirmative Action would help ensure women at all levels are brought to the table for inclusivity and interest is shown in their challenges so appropriate measures are implemented to address or manage their challenges.

The Commandant of KAIPTC added his voice to the discussion and advised that structures that ensure female inclusivity in decision making are strengthened. He encouraged women to mobilize themselves and fight their way to the table instead of just demanding to be brought to the table.

The panel discussions are projected to lead to recommendations to support the meaningful participation of women and girls in bringing about stability after disasters, preventing conflict, and creating durable peace once a conflict has erupted.