By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Burma Camp
A day’s orientation cadre has been held to provide newly appointed Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Service and Formations substantive Gender Advisers, a basic understanding of their roles and to equip them to effectively help in mainstreaming gender in the military.
The day’s event took place at the Command Officers’ Mess of the General Headquarters, Burma Camp, on Friday, 27th August, 2021, with the Deputy Director-General (DDG), Training – Colonel (Col) Ben Gah, as the Guest of Honour and Dr Fiifi Edu-Afful of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), as the Facilitator.
In his address to the participants, Col Gah stated that Ghana, and for that matter GAF, is a signatory to several United Nations treaties, calling for the respect for human rights and equal opportunity for both men and women, thus, all government ministries, departments and agencies are expected to mainstream their operations, hence the appointment of the Gender Policy Adviser to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) – Naval Captain (Capt GN) Veronica Adzo Arhin.
Col Gah continued that, gender mainstreaming basically requires that considerations be taken into the needs of both male and female personnel in all their activities, operations and administration, and that that requires tasking the best qualified persons for given duties and also giving all personnel equal opportunities to resources, training and deployments, marginalizing no sex.
The DDG conceded that, being a male-dominated institution, there may be several unconscious biases in the GAF, however, he reiterated, the Gender Advisers are expected to help address, and that their primary role is to assist their respective commanders to create an equitable working environment for all.
“Being pioneers in your respective Service and Formations Headquarters, you may be required to jointly draft a common charter to drive your activities. You would also need to think outside the box so as to draw workable plans and programmes”, Col Gah asserted.
“Your role is to help create the enabling environment which builds the confidence of every personnel, you are expected to disabuse the minds of personnel against gender mainstreaming. I expect that in a year or two, you should be able to point to tangible achievements”, he concluded.
Dr Edu-Afful took participants through various gender mainstreaming topics such as Roles and Responsibilities of a Gender Adviser, Introducing Gender Mainstreaming Into Operational Practices, Analysis of Sex Disaggregated Data, etc.
Since the appointment of a Gender Adviser to the CDS, three fora have been created – the first was to sensitize the military top hierarchy, the second was for Gender Advisers (most of whom were in acting capacity, from all commands) and the third being this cadre.
Participants for the cadre were; Col SE Acheampong – HQ, Southern Command, Col JKN Amenyah – HQ, Central Command, Col E Sampson – Northern Command, Col AA Darkwa – HQ, Military Academy Training School Command, Col M Asuka – HQ, Support Services Brigade Group, Group Captain SA Jiagge – Air Force Base (AFB), Takoradi, Group Captain TA Agornyo – AFB Tamale, Captain (GN) Michael A Larbi – Navy HQ and Major Obo – Deputy Gender Adviser, Army HQ.