In collaboration with the Women, Peace and Security Institute (WPSI) at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), the GIZ Support Programme to the KAIPTC has been successfully implementing the Inspiring African Women Leaders in Peace and Security (IAWLPS) programme since 2019.
- Topics: Women, Peace, Security
- Women, Peace, Security: Participation in Peace Processes
- Project duration
- Since October 2019
- Commissioned by
- German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Despite all international, regional, national and local efforts to systematically integrate gender perspectives into peace and security discourse, policy and practice, the vast majority of actors in the (African) peace and security landscape continue to be male and the marginalization of women, girls and non-binary individuals as well as their perspectives and interests in conflict resolution remains an ongoing challenge. Incorporating women equally and fully in all activities of the peace and security sector, among others by increasing their numbers as civilian, police and military peacekeepers in multi-dimensional Peace Support Operations (PSOs), remains a goal which is still to be realised.
Over the past decade and in line with international efforts like the United Nations (UN) Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, foremost, UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, and the AU Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003), the so-called Maputo-Protocol, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) undertook various efforts – among others supported by the GIZ Support Programme to the KAIPTC – to incorporate gender mainstreaming and the promotion of gender equality into various aspects of its operations, management and policies. This also encompasses dedicated measures to increase women’s leadership and participation as well as their interest representation in PSOs.
Against this background and specifically considering the lack of female mid-level professionals in PSOs, the GIZ-KAIPTC programme and KAIPTC-WPSI have partnered and jointly established the “Inspiring African Women Leaders in Peace & Security” (IAWLPS) programme in 2019.
The overall objective of the programme is to provide capacity-building and networking opportunities for mid-level female professionals to improve their active and meaningful participation and leadership in the peace and security environment. The IAWLPS programme’s long-term goal is thereby to setup a vibrant, well-connected network of women leaders in the area of peace and security on the African continent.
Additionally, by setting-up a vibrant alumnae network and platform which is to connect current and former IAWLPS-participants across the entire African continent, it is hoped that the trainings and network enable the participants and alumnae to have a meaningful contribution and transformative effect on post-conflict societies and patriarchal societal orders on the continent.
The IAWLPS programme specifically targets 15-20 mid-level women leaders from African countries who have already entered the peace and security sector and aim to further enhance their leadership potential over a period of 1,5 years. The programme encompasses a wide range of both onsite and virtual capacity building seminars as well as coaching, and networking opportunities with different foci all dedicated to increasing the leadership potential and capabilities of the participants.
The first part of the programme constitutes a two-week in-house training programme which focuses on developing individual capacities among the participants. As part of the programme, participants present leadership challenges relating to projects which participants have specifically chosen for the IAWLPS programme. The training programme will help participants to identify strategies to address leadership challenges and develop and finetune the project they present for the course. Projects are very varied ranging from leadership challenges in the realm of public-private cooperation between police and civil society to the set-up of cooperatives in the Malian shea butter sector to enable Malian women in post-conflict societies to gain income. Further, participants benefit from online coaching and mentoring sessions both in one-on-one settings as well as in small groups.
To date, a total of 27 participants from various African countries graduated from the programme or are currently enrolled. Participants include civilians working in government departments, peace support operations, peace and security oriented civil society and community-based organisations, as well as uniformed personnel (police and military).
The IAWLPS programme has helped to strengthen the capacity of the female mid-career leaders in the African peace and security sector. Participants testify their boosted confidence and increased skills and competences by participating in the training programme. Successfully implementing their IAWLPS projects and their personal career plans among others by being promoted and/or by being offered new jobs, is solely but an indication of the programme’s impact.
Lieutenant Colonel Arabiatou Jarjue affirms ‘The programme enhanced my leadership skills and greatly contributed to my promotion as the First Female National Parade Commander for the Republic of the Gambia’. Chifundo from Malawi implemented a project focused on improving relations between the police and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). She specifically testifies that the communications strategies learned during the program helped her to facilitate a constructive dialogue.
Last but not least, participants from the first cohort (2019-2021) jointly served as speakers during a webinar on ‘Youth, Peace and Security’; indicating the networking function the IAWLPS programmes serves.
For more impressions watch this video on YouTube.