Women in the Security Sector Sierra Leone Association have concluded a three day seminar at the National Stadium Presidential Lounge on “Gender and Security Sector Reforms”.
The aim of the seminar which was organized by Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-Africa) and the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) was to adopt the association, which seeks to create a platform for women in the security sector to collaborate; mutually support each other, and ensure that women’s issues, concerns, inspiration and priority are mainstreamed into the security sector agenda.
In her statement, Lieutenant Florence Vandy explained that the initiative was borne out of a consultative meeting which was held on the 27th and 28th June 2008 with WIPSEN DCAF, the Ministry of Gender and National Security Sector stakeholders i.e. the Office of National Security (ONS), the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), the Prisons, the Fire Force and the Immigration.
“After this consultative meeting”, she maintained, “we realized that there have not been any position for women to bring up their gaps and needs, in order for them to be incorporated into the Security Sector Reform (SSR) process. Lieutenant Vandy disclosed that it was after the consultative meeting that representatives deemed it necessary for us to come together and have a women body serving in the security sector to form an association. “We agreed to call ourselves women in the Security Sector Sierra Leone,” she explained. Explaining the aims and objectives of the association Chief Superintendent of Prisons, Mrs Cecilia Kaikai said, “the aim of this association is thus to create a platform for women in the security sector to collaborate, mutually support each other in ensuring that women’s issues concerns, aspiration, and priority are mainstreamed into the security sector agenda.” “We have five objectives,” she revealed. Mrs Kaikai explained that the first objective is to foster dialogue, networking and unity on gender and women’s issue among various security institutions, nationally, regionally and internationally; adding that the other objectives were to build the capacity of female security personnel including education and advocacy empowerment; facilitate the incorporation of gender into the national security policy and institute policy and operations; female representation and participation in the various security institutions and finally to have a joint agenda and action plan for the existing gaps and needs within various security institutions. Buttressing Prisons’ Chief Superintendent, representative of the ONS Francess Nyuma maintained, “in the bid to achieve our objectives we’ve highlighted activities which will be undertaken within a period of six months.” “We’ve decided to be having consultative meetings regularly, organizing seminars in this regard. We have also decided to have skills training programme; and to embark on advocacy and sensitization through the media,” she explained. “We will embark on collection of data through research we will also collaborate nationally and internationally in the sub-region and the world at large and finally we’ve decided to finalize the draft of the policy of the seminar,” she disclosed.
Police Assistant Superintendent: Khadi Samura noted that the seminar was beneficial given the fact that attendants have learnt a lot about both national and international legal framework with regards to gender empowerment.
WIPSEN-Africa was established on 8th May, 2006 under the laws of the Republic of Ghana as a women-focused, women-led Pan-African Non-Governmental Organization with the core mandate to promote women’s strategic participation and leadership in peace and security governance in Africa.
Over the last two decades and especially since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security in October 2000, women the world over have been engaged in activities that aim at (re)building particularly war-torn societies, restoring relationships and promoting social cohesion.
DCAF is one of the world’s leading institutions in the areas of the SSR and security sector governance.
DCAF provides in-country advisory support and practical assistance programmes, develops and promotes appropriate democratic norms at the international and national levels, advocates good practices and makes policy recommendations to ensure effective democratic governance of the security sector.
DCAF’s partners include governments, parliaments, civil society, international organizations and the range of security sector actors such as police, judiciary, intelligence agencies, border security services and the military.