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AFRICOM develops new tool to measure progress of Women, Peace, and Security
WPS fundamental to security cooperation effort
U.S. AFRICOM conducts the Fifth Accountability Colloquium, the first to be conducted in Africa.  Nearly 50 military and civilian legal professionals and troop commanders from 24 African countries participated in the event in Senegal, Aug. 22-24, 2017, which was coordinated by U.S. AFRICOM in cooperation with the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. Senegal volunteered to host this year’s colloquium and participants were welcomed by Contre-amiral Momar Diagne, head of the Senegalese Navy. This was the fifth such event sponsored by U.S. AFRICOM’s Office of Legal Counsel, Legal Engagements Division. This year, AC V continued the effort to address the challenge of establishing the rule of law by expanding the discussion from AC IV to include identifying responsibilities and best practices of commanders and legal advisors in preventing and responding to SEA in peace operations. (Photo by Brenda Law, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs/RELEASED)
7 photos: AFRICOM develops new tool to measure progress of Women, Peace, and Security
Photo 1 of 7: U.S. AFRICOM conducts the Fifth Accountability Colloquium, the first to be conducted in Africa. Nearly 50 military and civilian legal professionals and troop commanders from 24 African countries participated in the event in Senegal, Aug. 22-24, 2017, which was coordinated by U.S. AFRICOM in cooperation with the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. Senegal volunteered to host this year’s colloquium and participants were welcomed by Contre-amiral Momar Diagne, head of the Senegalese Navy. This was the fifth such event sponsored by U.S. AFRICOM’s Office of Legal Counsel, Legal Engagements Division. This year, AC V continued the effort to address the challenge of establishing the rule of law by expanding the discussion from AC IV to include identifying responsibilities and best practices of commanders and legal advisors in preventing and responding to SEA in peace operations. (Photo by Brenda Law, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs/RELEASED) Download full-resolution version
Participants in U.S. Africa Command’s Women, Peace and Security forum for female military leaders from seven African nations pose for a photo at National Defense University in Washington, Sept. 19, 2017. DoD photo by Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ben Flores
7 photos: AFRICOM develops new tool to measure progress of Women, Peace, and Security
Photo 2 of 7: Participants in U.S. Africa Command’s Women, Peace and Security forum for female military leaders from seven African nations pose for a photo at National Defense University in Washington, Sept. 19, 2017. DoD photo by Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ben Flores Download full-resolution version
LILONGWE, Malawi (Aug. 22, 2017) – Women serving in the militaries of various U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) African partner nations pose for a photo during the AFRICOM sponsored senior leader symposium Africa Endeavor 2017 (AE17) in Lilongwe, Malawi. AE17 is an annual senior leader and communications symposium and technology expo designed to develop standardized, multinational communications practices for peacekeeping and disaster response missions mandated by the African Union and the United Nations. (Official Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Dominique Shelton/RELEASED)
7 photos: AFRICOM develops new tool to measure progress of Women, Peace, and Security
Photo 3 of 7: LILONGWE, Malawi (Aug. 22, 2017) – Women serving in the militaries of various U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) African partner nations pose for a photo during the AFRICOM sponsored senior leader symposium Africa Endeavor 2017 (AE17) in Lilongwe, Malawi. AE17 is an annual senior leader and communications symposium and technology expo designed to develop standardized, multinational communications practices for peacekeeping and disaster response missions mandated by the African Union and the United Nations. (Official Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Dominique Shelton/RELEASED) Download full-resolution version
Special Operations Command Africa hosted its first Women’s Leadership Forum on the eve of International Women’s Day in N'Djamena, Chad, Mar. 7, 2017, as a part of Exercise Flintlock 2017.  This leadership discussion forum was led by Chadian women from across the spectrum of employment to address Chadian challenges and opportunities, and was facilitated by the U.S. Embassy and Spirit of America. Flintlock is an annual special operations exercise involving more than 20 nation forces that strengthens security institutions, promotes multinational sharing of information, and develops interoperability among partner nation in North and West Africa. (Photo by Sgt. Derek Hamilton/Released)
7 photos: AFRICOM develops new tool to measure progress of Women, Peace, and Security
Photo 4 of 7: Special Operations Command Africa hosted its first Women’s Leadership Forum on the eve of International Women’s Day in N'Djamena, Chad, Mar. 7, 2017, as a part of Exercise Flintlock 2017. This leadership discussion forum was led by Chadian women from across the spectrum of employment to address Chadian challenges and opportunities, and was facilitated by the U.S. Embassy and Spirit of America. Flintlock is an annual special operations exercise involving more than 20 nation forces that strengthens security institutions, promotes multinational sharing of information, and develops interoperability among partner nation in North and West Africa. (Photo by Sgt. Derek Hamilton/Released) Download full-resolution version
Burkina Faso and AFRICOM co-host Basic Intel Course
7 photos: AFRICOM develops new tool to measure progress of Women, Peace, and Security
Photo 5 of 7: Burkina Faso and AFRICOM co-host Basic Intel Course Download full-resolution version
Cynthia Petrigh, from Beyond Peace, discusses gender based violence at U.S. AFRICOM’s Fourth Africa Accountability Colloquium (ACIV) on “Responding to Gender Based Violence During Peace Operations.”  Nearly 40 military legal professional and commanders from 20 African countries have come together in an effort to lay the foundation for responding to sexual violence allegations that occur during peacekeeping operations.  The annual event is once again being hosted by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) in Sanremo, Italy, Mar. 1-3, 2016.  (U.S. Africa Command photo by Brenda Law/RELEASED)
7 photos: AFRICOM develops new tool to measure progress of Women, Peace, and Security
Photo 6 of 7: Cynthia Petrigh, from Beyond Peace, discusses gender based violence at U.S. AFRICOM’s Fourth Africa Accountability Colloquium (ACIV) on “Responding to Gender Based Violence During Peace Operations.” Nearly 40 military legal professional and commanders from 20 African countries have come together in an effort to lay the foundation for responding to sexual violence allegations that occur during peacekeeping operations. The annual event is once again being hosted by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) in Sanremo, Italy, Mar. 1-3, 2016. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Brenda Law/RELEASED) Download full-resolution version
Commandant Ngarhordje Dedjiri and her colleague from Chad hear opening comments at the U.S. AFRICOM's Fourth Africa Accountability Colloquium (ACIV) on “Responding to Gender Based Violence During Peace Operations.”  Nearly 40 military legal professional and commanders from 20 African countries have come together in an effort to lay the foundation for responding to sexual violence allegations that occur during peacekeeping operations.  The annual event is once again being hosted by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) in Sanremo, Italy, Mar. 1-3, 2016.  (U.S. Africa Command photo by Brenda Law/RELEASED)
7 photos: AFRICOM develops new tool to measure progress of Women, Peace, and Security
Photo 7 of 7: Commandant Ngarhordje Dedjiri and her colleague from Chad hear opening comments at the U.S. AFRICOM's Fourth Africa Accountability Colloquium (ACIV) on “Responding to Gender Based Violence During Peace Operations.” Nearly 40 military legal professional and commanders from 20 African countries have come together in an effort to lay the foundation for responding to sexual violence allegations that occur during peacekeeping operations. The annual event is once again being hosted by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) in Sanremo, Italy, Mar. 1-3, 2016. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Brenda Law/RELEASED) Download full-resolution version
U.S. AFRICOM conducts the Fifth Accountability Colloquium, the first to be conducted in Africa.  Nearly 50 military and civilian legal professionals and troop commanders from 24 African countries participated in the event in Senegal, Aug. 22-24, 2017, which was coordinated by U.S. AFRICOM in cooperation with the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. Senegal volunteered to host this year’s colloquium and participants were welcomed by Contre-amiral Momar Diagne, head of the Senegalese Navy. This was the fifth such event sponsored by U.S. AFRICOM’s Office of Legal Counsel, Legal Engagements Division. This year, AC V continued the effort to address the challenge of establishing the rule of law by expanding the discussion from AC IV to include identifying responsibilities and best practices of commanders and legal advisors in preventing and responding to SEA in peace operations. (Photo by Brenda Law, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs/RELEASED)
Participants in U.S. Africa Command’s Women, Peace and Security forum for female military leaders from seven African nations pose for a photo at National Defense University in Washington, Sept. 19, 2017. DoD photo by Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ben Flores
LILONGWE, Malawi (Aug. 22, 2017) – Women serving in the militaries of various U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) African partner nations pose for a photo during the AFRICOM sponsored senior leader symposium Africa Endeavor 2017 (AE17) in Lilongwe, Malawi. AE17 is an annual senior leader and communications symposium and technology expo designed to develop standardized, multinational communications practices for peacekeeping and disaster response missions mandated by the African Union and the United Nations. (Official Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Dominique Shelton/RELEASED)
Special Operations Command Africa hosted its first Women’s Leadership Forum on the eve of International Women’s Day in N'Djamena, Chad, Mar. 7, 2017, as a part of Exercise Flintlock 2017.  This leadership discussion forum was led by Chadian women from across the spectrum of employment to address Chadian challenges and opportunities, and was facilitated by the U.S. Embassy and Spirit of America. Flintlock is an annual special operations exercise involving more than 20 nation forces that strengthens security institutions, promotes multinational sharing of information, and develops interoperability among partner nation in North and West Africa. (Photo by Sgt. Derek Hamilton/Released)
Burkina Faso and AFRICOM co-host Basic Intel Course
Cynthia Petrigh, from Beyond Peace, discusses gender based violence at U.S. AFRICOM’s Fourth Africa Accountability Colloquium (ACIV) on “Responding to Gender Based Violence During Peace Operations.”  Nearly 40 military legal professional and commanders from 20 African countries have come together in an effort to lay the foundation for responding to sexual violence allegations that occur during peacekeeping operations.  The annual event is once again being hosted by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) in Sanremo, Italy, Mar. 1-3, 2016.  (U.S. Africa Command photo by Brenda Law/RELEASED)
Commandant Ngarhordje Dedjiri and her colleague from Chad hear opening comments at the U.S. AFRICOM's Fourth Africa Accountability Colloquium (ACIV) on “Responding to Gender Based Violence During Peace Operations.”  Nearly 40 military legal professional and commanders from 20 African countries have come together in an effort to lay the foundation for responding to sexual violence allegations that occur during peacekeeping operations.  The annual event is once again being hosted by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) in Sanremo, Italy, Mar. 1-3, 2016.  (U.S. Africa Command photo by Brenda Law/RELEASED)

STUTTGART, Germany – U.S. Africa Command has developed a new tool designed to measure progress in advancing Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) as part of its security cooperation effort.

The WPS Security Force Assistance (SFA) assessment tool establishes criteria to help AFRICOM have a more informed understanding of how an African partner nation implements WPS within its capacity and capability building activities.

The SFA assessment tool is the brainchild of AFRICOM’s gender advisor, Cori Fleser.

“In my role as the Gender Advisor, I am responsible for providing recommendations to staff at the command for implementing WPS within our security cooperation activities,” said Fleser. “I developed this tool as a method for informing my understanding to provide more tailored recommendations into that annual planning process.”

With the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 signed into U.S. law this past October, U.S. Africa Command looked for new and innovative ways to integrate women, peace, and security into one of its core mission areas: security cooperation.

Since 2011, the command has worked to integrate the Women, Peace, and Security mandate in its activities with African security forces. Annual training courses sponsored by AFRICOM and conducted for African partners consistently see all male participants. Consequently, AFRICOM saw the need to develop specific training opportunities just for women from African militaries. Beyond such skilled areas as communications and intelligence, the command has co-hosted workshops and seminars on gender integration, the role of women in peacekeeping operations, and responding to gender-based violence.

But despite these successes, integrating women, peace, and security into existing military planning, execution, and assessment processes, such as those for security cooperation, has been more of a challenge, which inspired Fleser to develop the SFA assessment tool.

 

Assessing women, peace, and security implementation

Informed by the U.S. Department of Defense Implementation Guide for Women, Peace, and Security, the tool defines women, peace, and security-related criteria within the U.S. Department of Defense’s doctrinally defined security force functions and identifies proxy indicators measured in data sets and global indices that can be used to make an informed assessment of that specific criteria.

The tool leverages open source data sets from international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, and World Health Organization, and uses indicators from global indices, such as the Fragile States Index and Women, Peace, and Security Index.

The tool provides a rationale for why the command can confidently use those proxy indicators to assess the women, peace, and security criteria in lieu of having access to a more preferred metric. The assessment of these proxy indicators can provide an understanding of cross-sectoral gender dynamics within an African partner nation and its security forces and institutions, allowing for tailored approaches to working on women, peace, and security implementation through security cooperation activities.

 

Not a universal solution, but a step in the right direction

While there is utility in this new tool, like many analytic tools, Fleser acknowledges that it has its limitations. “It is important to remember that proxy indicators are an indirect measurement,” she cautions, “and they do not give us the full picture of how our partners are implementing the women, peace, and security mandate within their security sectors. They will, however, point us in a direction that is useful to security cooperation planning.”

The WPS criteria established do not represent an exhaustive list of criteria necessary for implementation but allows the command to work together with African partners to identify new criteria for advancing the Women, Peace, and Security mandate through security cooperation activities. “Now the command has an initial set of criteria that tells us what WPS looks like within our doctrinally defined security force assistance categories,” says Fleser.

The SFA assessment tool advances the command’s implementation of the WPS mandate in several ways. First, it introduces quantitative data to complement the qualitative data that currently informs the inclusion of WPS pillars in security cooperation planning. Second, it provides security cooperation planners with a defined set of WPA criteria that nest within an annual process they already support, simplifying and clarifying WPS implementation. Third, the tool supports one of the key principles underpinning the mandate by including non-traditional security indicators and using them to inform a uniquely military planning process.

"Although not perfect, the SFA assessment tool is designed to facilitate better security cooperation planning and WPS implementation," Fleser said. "It does not provide a binary good/bad assessment of African partner nations. Rather, it enables the command to better understand how gender influences the security sector using quantitative data to support that analysis and opens the opportunities for working together with our partner nations to advance a mandate critical to achieving our mutual security objectives."

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