Mogadishu – (warsoor) – The two-day orientation course on gender issues for officers recently deployed to the five sectors of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) ended yesterday, with a call to military personnel to work closely with local communities to promote peace and respect for human rights.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the workshop, the Acting Chief of Staff, Adebayo Kareem, who is also the head of AMISOM’s Protection, Human Rights and Gender Unit challenged the officers who had undergone the training to discharge their duties in their respective sectors in a manner consistent with the organization’s obligations under the international law.
“The protection, human rights unit and the gender office of AMISOM has the responsibility to ensure that AMISOM discharges its activities in a way that is consistent with our obligations under international law. We have presence in the sectors but unfortunately security considerations can’t allow us to deploy civilians there,” Kareem explained, adding; “the idea is therefore to identify military officers, train them and send them to the sectors so that they act as our eyes and ears in the sectors. So, the message is therefore for them to be our ears and eyes and monitor to ensure that we conduct our activities in a manner that is gender compliant.”
The officers who will be the Focal Point Persons on gender in the sectors are expected to be instrumental in preventing sexual exploitation and other human rights abuses in the sectors as well as being ambassadors for AMISOM among the Somali population.
The participants of the orientation course exhibited enthusiasm, promising to apply what they had learnt from their facilitators.
Major Kenneth Hategekimana from the Force Headquarters said he felt ready to go and execute some of the issues he had learnt during the training course.
“The knowledge I have acquired here together with the others, we shall be able to use it because in the military we are always anticipating tasks. As this mission is coming to a draw-down, we shall be able to help our leaders in planning as they focus on the gender issues in implementing the (AMISOM) mandate”, Major Hategekimana added.
Catherine Nelima, who was the first female officer from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to undergo the training, said she would go back to Dhoobley in sector 2 where the force is based to start setting up a gender office from scratch.
Speaking of the knowledge she had gained at the training Nelima said; “I will use it to educate other ladies in the sector to tell them the importance of matters pertaining to gender and tell them what to interact or to do while in the operation area.”
The participants drawn from the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) were awarded certificates by the Acting Chief of Staff who was the chief guest.
The two-day training was officially opened on Monday by the AMISOM Deputy Chief of Staff Col. Charles Byaruhanga on behalf of the Force Commander Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh.
This post is also available in: Somali