The Acting Force Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Maj. Gen. Nakibus Lakara has asked AMISOM gender officers to uphold the values of the Mission, regardless of the challenges they face.
He was addressing a group of AMISOM Gender Focal Point Officers who completed a two-day training on how to advance gender issues in Somalia. Instructors from the AMISOM Force Headquarters, AMISOM Mission Headquarters, and the United Nations facilitated the training.
The workshop delved deeper into the role of women in peace support operations, gender integration, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, and civilian protection.
“AMISOM is very dear to me as an African Mission; and all of us must be proud to be part of AMISOM. It’s the most expansive mission that the African Union has ever undertaken and it’s the most successful despite challenges,” noted Maj. Gen. Lakara.
The training took place at the AMISOM Joint Mission Training Centre (JMTC) in Mogadishu and drew participants from the AMISOM contingents of Burundi, Djibouti, and Uganda. Maj. Gen. Lakara urged gender officers to be ambassadors in their Areas Of Responsibility.
Maj. Gen. Lakara said the officers have a collective responsibility to deliver on Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) including the involvement of women in peacebuilding efforts, in areas that have been liberated from Al-Shabaab, to win the hearts of the Somali populations.
“I have been to Barawe and Diinsoor to hand over completed quick impact projects. You see the faces of the people; they appreciate, but are yearning for more. Can AMISOM deliver much more? How can we endear the people of Somalia to our cause? How can we isolate them from Al-Shabaab? As gender officers, you are the tools. What role do women in Somalia play in peacebuilding? How can we support them? This is the heart of the matter for us.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Lieutenant Leonard Watwaluma challenged his colleagues to take up the responsibility of integrating gender perspectives into the day-to-day operations in the Sectors.
“I reiterate our commitment to the social contract of peace and security in Somalia. We shall remain steadfast on matters of gender, human rights, sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual and gender-based violence, accountability and all the values AMISOM holds dear. We shall be guided by the will of the people of Somalia and the philosophy of a shared vision,” added Lt. Watwaluma.