Creating strategies and mechanisms to combat the ever-present marginalisation of women within AMISOM peace operations.
The Training for Peace in Africa Programme at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD) was requested by the African Union (AU) to conduct an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Gender Mainstreaming Strategy Workshop to develop a mission – specific Gender Mainstreaming Strategy, for the mainstreaming of gender perspectives into its operations. The workshop provided a platform to advance creative joint modalities between the AU Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) and AMISOM, on how to move forward in addressing the persisting reality of continued marginalisation of women from formal peace processes, increased insecurity and high levels of violence against women and girls.
The workshop was held from 9-11 November 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. It was attended by international partners such as the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), The United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), African Union – United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Office to African Union (UNOAU), United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), representative of the Ministry of Education from the Government of Somalia, German Technical Cooperation (GIZ), as well as representatives of AU PSOD and AMISOM. The participation of these different institutions provided a platform for increased communication, strengthening stakeholder collaboration, and coordination on gender, peace and security in AMISOM, as well as established institutional entry points for gender mainstreaming at all levels within and outside AMISOM. TfP ACCORD was represented by Ms Seun Abiola – Peacekeeping Unit Coordinator and Ms Olivia Victoria Davies – Peacekeeping Unit Programme Officer.
With a view of operationalising gender mainstreaming in the mission, the Programme facilitated a workshop to develop the AMISOM Gender Mainstreaming Strategy, which includes strategic and operational interventions which can be implemented within specific, measurable and time-bound parameters. By focusing on the specific context of Somalia, the workshop provided a platform to advance creative joint modalities (between PSOD and AMISOM) on how to move forward in addressing increased insecurity and high levels of violence against women and girls, as well as the persisting reality of continued marginalisation from formal peace processes, noting that elections are due to take place in 2016. This Gender strategy coincides with the development of the mission’s strategy for the implementation, coordination and monitoring of its PoC engagement.
The AMISOM’s Gender strategy will contribute towards the strengthening of AMISOM’s efforts in gender mainstreaming in all aspects of its operation, most especially in light of issues of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and the increased military strength authorised by UN Security Council 2124 (2013); as well as in its support to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS)on gender issues, noting the importance of the mission’s role in redressing social inequalities in Somalia, in order to improve the social condition and position of women and girls in particular. These initiatives are in line with the TfP Programme’s strategic goal for improved and sustainable capacity for peace operations on the continent, through ensuring that functional organisational systems are in place in the UN, AU and RECs using relevant policy frameworks mandated by the UN, AU and RECs. This engagement is linked to the Unit’s support to AMISOM in the development of a mission-specific PoC implementation strategy, for the successful implementation of PoC considerations – focusing on strengthening respect for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in AMISOM’s Operations to ensure the mission protects civilians in its areas of operation, as well as redress social inequalities in Somalia in order to improve the social condition and position of women and girls in particular.
The Training for Peace (TfP) in Africa Programme is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.