As part of efforts to used special academic exercise to build the capacity of the Liberian security sector institutions and civil society actors as a means of promoting gender mainstreaming in their operations, policies and activities, the second round of advanced course on Women Peace and Security otherwise referred to as Level 1B organized by the Security Sector Reform Think Tank at the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT) of the University of Liberia got underway on Friday July 20, 2018.
The course, which is being supported by the UN Women in collaboration with national and international partners, is promoting specialization of women working in public and private security agencies, the civil society security sector watchdog thematic groups and other relevant stakeholders as a means of enhancing their knowledge on Women Peace and Security and related research.
The special academic exercise will bring together 40 participants that will be drilled in convincing thematic areas and examine the social configurations of gender, particularly the women, peace and security, as acknowledged by the UN Security Resolution Council 1325.
Towards this end, classes are expected to officially begin on August 3, 2018. Following the pre-evaluation, there will be a vetting process. Already there are 70 applicants but only 40 students will be selected for admission to the course.
The opening program in the lead up to the course commencement featured speeches, overview and introduction of the course as well as the pre-evaluation of students. Almost all of those who spoke at the opening including the Minister of National Defense Minister, Maj./ Gen. Daniel D. Ziankahn (Rtd), Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Deputy Chief of Staff, Col. Geraldine Janet George, representative from the Peace Building Fund Secretariat,, Ghoma Karloweah, UN Women, Prof. T. Debey Sayndee (KAICT- University of Liberia), the University of Liberia, Liberia Immigration Services (LIS), Deputy Commissioner for Naturalization (LIS), Asatu Bah Kanneh, Deputy Gender Minister, Hon. Parlet Harris, and one Col. Theophilous Dana, showered praises on the organizers of the training exercise that help to sharpen the understanding of gender issues in a more detail way. They also challenged women to take advantage of the opportunity to qualify themselves for the future.
Speaking at the program, the representative of the Peace Building Fund Secretariat said he was happy to be at the event and was overwhelmed with the class because based on what he gathered from the first advanced course which was launched in 2017 as a pilot project, his organization was delighted to see the specialized course as an area to support mainly because of the profile and outcome.
For her part, UN Women Representative, Madam Ghoma Karloweah said she was pleased to be a part of the second batch of the advanced specialization course participants.
Madam Karloweah who is expected to be one of the facilitators of the advanced course said, as one of the facilitators of the first training course, she has observed some level of enthusiasm from people about the academic exercises.
She appealed to funding partners to continuously support the course because of the interest it has generated among security sector practitioners.
Also speaking, the Minister of National Defense, Maj./ Gen. Daniel D. Ziankahn (Rtd), said they at the Ministry of Defense want to ensure that women are truly empowered at the Ministry.
Min. Ziankahn encouraged women not to petty themselves but must exert themselves in a constructive way by challenging their leaders to recognize their potentials and abilities.
For her part, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Geraldine Janet George who is set to be one of the facilitators of the three months training course, said she is overwhelmed to be a part of the academic exercises on Women Peace and Security.
She admonished participants to take the course seriously and organize all their questions in minds, assuring that she will try her level best to answer them.
Making remarks at the program, the Deputy Commissioner General for Naturalization at the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Asatu Bah Kanneh, reflected on the first round of the course on how challenging it was and admonished the participants of the second round to take their studies serious.
Madam Kanneh who is also the president of the Liberia Female Law Enforcement Association doff her hat as a mark of respect and praise to the first female Deputy Chief of Staff, Geraldine Janet George for her preferment.
Madam Kannah who is a female security expert in Liberia, urged women in the security sector to work hard and qualify themselves for promotions in the security sector, because according to her, for female to be promoted in the security institutions, they must merit the jobs.
Giving an overview of the Women Peace and Security Course, Prof. T. Debey Seyndee of the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT), University of Liberia, said in addition to academic lectures, experience sharing and review of international best practices, the course is also intended to expose participants to practices on the nuances of community security issues through field research.
He encouraged the participants to put in their best during the three months of the course as the facilitators were selected from the best breed of experts from the security apparatus.
The Advanced training course is essentially gear towards the process of mainstreaming gender in Liberia’s Security Sector Reform (SSR) process to help address the need of understanding the new trend of mainstreaming gender issues in the national security sector.
The training course on Women Peace and Security is being conducted within a feasibly time line under the on-going joint UN-Women, UNDP, IOM and the GSSNT project “Inclusive Security: Nothing For Us Without Us”.