By Kofi Ampeah-Woode

The Elsie Initiative – a five-year pilot project for uniformed women in Peace Support Operations, by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), has held a 2-day workshop, captioned “Security Sector Governance and Gender Equality”, for selected personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), to help ensure that institutional change efforts are aimed at the whole of the Armed Forces and sustainable.

The workshop, held on Wednesday 9th, through Thursday 10th October, 2019, at the Command Mess, Burma Camp, aimed to catalyse transformational institutional change, as a means to increase women’s meaningful participation in peace support operations and to also support the identification of institutional barriers that impede women’s meaningful participation in GAF.

The Initiative, which aims to catalyze transformational institutional change as a means to increase women’s meaningful participation in peace operations, used the workshop to help situate strategic, operational and tactical level institutional planning (and interventions), within a governance framework, and to advance institutional effectiveness and accountability.

Opening the workshop, the Director-General, International Peace Support Operations (IPSO) – Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Kwesi Mends, indicated that workshop would leverage bilateral technical assistance and training, vis-a-vis the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), according to the identified needs.

Brig Gen Mends stated that the assessment of institutional barriers is currently underway, however, GAF has submitted a Letter of Interest to the Elsie Initiative Fund, in order to support the development of institutionally tailored priorities, to meet the objective of the Elsie Initiative.

General Mends said, “It is expedient for the stakeholders in the Elsie Initiative, to understand some of the positive and negative effects of the implementation of the Initiative, to ensure that its implementation does not become counterproductive”.

Brig Gen Mends also cautioned that the recognition of the roles men play in that agenda, is critical, if the initiative would engender a permanent institutional change.

The educational program, which had Ms Heather Huhtanen of the Geneva Centre for Gender Equality and Security Sector Governance (DCAF), for a facilitator, delved into topics such as human security, connection of human security to soldiers, unconscious bias in gender sensitization, gender neutral/gender blind policies, sex-based policies, harassment and discrimination, equality and equity.

Additionally, the class also worked on how to address structural and socio-cultural barriers and using the NAPRI (Needs, Access, Participation, Resources, Impact) – a gender analytical tool, to assess policies.

The class broke out into 3 groups to deliberate on what could be done at the institutional level, to make GAF Peace Support Operations (PSO) deployments, with women’s meaningful participation, more sustainable through 1) effective and efficient, 2) accountable and transparent and 3) participatory and representative principles.

Present at the workshop were the Deputy Military Secretary – Colonel (Col) Asmah, Col Michael Abotsi – IPSO, Director, Directorate of Public Relations – Col Eric Aggrey-Quashie, Director, Civilian Establishment – Captain (Ghana Navy) Faustina Anokyi, Senior Liaison Officer, Canadian High Commission in Ghana – Diane Tisdall and the Elsie Initiative Implementation Committee from the Ministries Of Defence and of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

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