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NEWS : Local News  

WIPSEN-Africa Organizes Gender Training for RSLAF in Sierra Leone
By Festus Justus Margai Jnr.
Nov 25, 2008, 17:18
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A women-led Pan African Non-Governmental Organization, Women, Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-AFRICA) in collaboration with DCAF and MSWGCA on Monday 24th November 2008 commenced a three-day training programme for personnel of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) at the Armed Forces Education Centre (AFEC), Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown on the theme Gender Training.

Giving an overview of the organization, WIPSEN director of programmes Miss Ecoma Alaga said they work with women in the security sector reform programmes.

Based in Accra, Ghana, she said they deal with rural women in peace and security programme in gender and other related matters. She hoped that the engagement with RSLAF will make them have more knowledge on gender issues.

Gender officer in the Ministry of Gender and Childrens Affairs, Mrs. Susan Sesay said if women are trained they would be able to deliver services to their people, adding that a good number of RSLAF personnel do not know much about gender issues. "Awareness on gender issues can create equal opportunity for every one of us," she said.

The acting senior assistant secretary in the gender ministry, Sylvester A Bangura noted that gender is a novel concept that has quite often been misconstrued as women issues. He said the simple term gender is social construction of the roles and responsibilities assigned to men and women in society. "These roles and responsibilities are mis-informed by socio-cultural perceptions and stereotypes that consequently discriminate against women in all spheres," he further stated, adding that Sierra Leone is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). He said one of the reasons for the dismal situation can be attributed to discrimination they face before the legal system of Sierra Leone. Adding that as a result of this pluralistic system, women are denied equal opportunities not only with regards to their male colleagues but also against their female counterparts in the country as a whole.

He said WIPSEN-AFRICA is jointly working with stakeholders on a one-year project on strengthening the integration of gender issues into security sector reform process.

Brig-General Kestonia O. Kabia, Assistant Chief of Defense Staff, Personnel in the Ministry of Defense disclosed that it was the first time gender issues were being dealt with in the military.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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