The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) has concluded its tours of the various Garrisons in the country this week aimed at making the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) more gender sensitive.
The tours started in September 2022 and have been carried out by KAIPTC staff in collaboration with personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces.
The Garrison tours are part of activities under a KAIPTC project dubbed “Enhancing Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) capabilities to address barriers to Women in Peacekeeping” project.
The 18-month project being implemented with funding from Global Affairs Canada aims to build the institutional capacity of GAF to address the challenges that hinder the deployment of women to UN peace operations.
The project comprises gender sensitisation tours of all the Garrisons of the GAF throughout the country, policy development, curriculum development, and training.
READ MORE: KAIPTC’s project with GAF to address barriers to women in peacekeeping operations progressing steadily
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the final Garrison tour at Burma Camp on Monday, March 20, Mrs. Agnes Agbevadi, Programme Officer at the Women, Peace, and Security Institute at the KAIPTC explained, “what we are doing here is basically about sensitising the personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces on the need to mainstream gender into their operations and activities to make the Ghana Armed Forces a gender-sensitive force for equal opportunity and equal rights for both male and female personnel.”
She stressed that it is important that equal opportunity is made available for men and women personnel to exhibit their capability in the Armed Forces.
As part of the efforts by KAIPTC under the ongoing project, the Centre is also helping the Ghana Armed Forces to put together a comprehensive gender policy to guide the process of mainstreaming gender in the force.
“We are looking at a number of things that has to do with promotion, recruitment to Ghana Armed Forces, paternity leave, maternity leave, a lot of things will come on board. This at the end of the day we believe will be accepted by the top leadership to be adopted,” Agnes Agbevadi explained.
She continued, “We are very proud because the top management of the Ghana Armed Forces have already given the go-ahead, they are very much supportive of this project to mainstream gender in the Ghana Armed Forces to create equal opportunity for everyone.”
On his part, Col. William Abotsi who is GAF Point of Contact for Elsie Initiative for Uniformed Women in Peacekeeping underscored the importance of the sensitisation, insisting that it is vital for personnel, both men and women to know the many opportunities available to them in the force.
While lamenting the limited pool of women available for deployment for peacekeeping operations, he indicated that it is why the Elsie Initiative and the project being implemented by KAIPTC are very crucial.
He noted that the Ghana Armed Forces over the years have been working to address the barriers facing women and hopes that the ongoing project will motivate women to take routes that will eventually result in deployments.
“This is about telling young women in the Ghana Armed Forces that there are opportunities in the force. We want them to apply to go to the combat and the combat support unit.
“You hardly see women in infantry, armory units but now it’s coming up. We are telling women that the opportunities are there. If you want to be anybody apply and you will be taken and you will achieve your dream…We want to change the culture to create good working conditions for everyone in the Ghana Armed Forces,” Col. William Abotsi emphasised.
He further indicated, “I want to make it clear that when we say we are mainstreaming gender it doesn’t mean we are just collecting women into the Ghana Armed Forces. Whatever you are employed for you must be worth it. Whatever promotions you get you must merit it. Nobody is doing to stop you from doing so because you are a woman. We want to give everyone equal opportunity.”
Before the sensitisation exercise at Burma Camp this week, there have been successful tours of the various Garrisons of the Ghana Armed Forces in Sunyani, Kumasi, Tema, Ho, Takoradi, Tamale, Wa, and Damongo by a joint team comprising KAIPTC staff and personnel from the Ghana and Canadian Armed Forces.
The sensitisation exercise at Burma Camp this week will last five days. It is expected that at the end of the exercise, some 1,500 personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces would have been engaged.
Overall, over 2,500 personnel have been reached through the sensitisation exercise.