On 1st September, 2016, UN Women Kenya in collaboration with Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO), officially launched the Gender, Policing and Gender Related Crime Training Manual during the 18th EAPCCO Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Kigali, Rwanda. The launch brought together stakeholders from the EAPCCO Governments, Police, CSOs, development partners and UN agencies.
The Annual General Meeting of EAPCCO, a regional platform that fight transnational and organized crime in 13 countries (Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) was officially opened by H.E the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Hon. Paul Kagame who emphasized the need for continuous and stronger partnership and collaboration among the member countries when it comes to battling insecurity in the region. He encouraged Police Chiefs to have deliberate debates, share their expertise and experiences and strategies on fighting transnational crime that would benefit the region.
Since October 2014, UN Women Kenya has been working closely with INTERPOL Regional Bureau and EAPCCO, providing technical support on gender mainstreaming within their regional programmes and interventions. In 2015 UN Women Kenya supported the development of the Gender Training Manual that will contribute to the dismantling of barriers that prevent women’s full and meaningful participation in the security sector across the East African region. The manual provides an opportunity to work towards the creation of an environment within the security sector that is conducive for the recruitment and advancement of women in the security sector.
In her remarks, UN Women Country Director Kenya Ms. Zebib Kavuma noted the importance of partnering with EAPCCO. “EAPCCO is a strategic partner that strives to enhance regional efforts of promoting peace, security and combating transnational crime. For UN Women, this platform provides a great opportunity to share experiences, strategies, draw on best practices and take stock of lessons and challenges when it comes to addressing threats to the safety, security of our people and the economic growth and stability of the region. Additionally, it provides space to dialogue on the imperative role women play when it comes to promoting peace and security at community, national and regional levels”.
Over the past few years, the East Africa region has witnessed the emergence of specific and unique crime and conflict situations, including the rise of violent extremism and terrorism, as well as cybercrime and human and substance trafficking. All parts of the East African population have been negatively affected by the emerging threats of insecurity, with women and girls specifically being affected in unique and disproportionate ways.
Despite a range of international laws and policies mandating women’s participation in security sector reform women’s experiences are often overlooked. Security sector continues to remain a male dominated space and gender stereotypes continue to be an eminent threat to women’s advancement in this sector. In the region, underrepresentation of women in the security sector remains a challenge, with very few women holding high ranking positions within the security sector.
However, it is important to recognize the milestones achieved in some counties such as with Rwanda who have g over 200 female police Commissioned Officers, Seychelles and Uganda also have women in senior positions. However more needs to be done. The participants all agreed that a more diverse police service is required in order to respond to modern day crime, and challenges that need to be addressed through tailored responses.
“It is UN Women’s hope that this manual will enhance efforts to promote gender equality, and the empowerment of women in the security sector. Policing today offers women an exciting career – there are varied, interesting and fast paced roles where women – and men – can really make a difference in the communities they serve”. Said Ms Kavuma
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