During this GFA course eight of the participants are deploying only to ISAF during 2013, on all levels.Two will serve as gender advisors, (GENADs) as officers designated to ISAF HQ, one to IJC, a few positioned at Regional Command level and finally the remainingas gender field advisors (GFAs) at tactical level. Beside these students, the course has participants currently working as GENADs at Ministry of Defence and in Defence Force Commands structures. Their experience from daily work with gender perspective and the subject matter in respective nation is a great benefit for all participants, students as well as instructors. It is also of great value to have students with experience from the UN, currently working at DPKO and other´s with experiences from UN field missions.
-“The broad spectra of participants from different nations and organisations, contributes to the mainstreaming of gender perspective. It is of outmost importance that all actors in peace support operations share a common view on the interpretation and implication of gender and gender in military operations. Integrated on all levels in everyday work, the gender perspective is an operational tool and a force multiplier that will increase the operational effect”, says CDR Jan Dunmurray, CO NCGM
Experienced participants with key appointments and tasks
LtColNicola Seriois working as Section Chief of the Equal opportunity and gender perspective Section at the Italian Defence General Staff. The section, that is recently new, aims to mainstream the gender perspective in the Italian Armed Forces and to spread the gender awareness amongst commands and units, both inside and outside the country.
LtColSerio explains that he saw the opportunity to attend the course as vital for him in order to understand how to implement and improve the use of gender perspective and what impact it could achieve if properly used and considered at all levels.
- “An intensive course like this is the best way to learn and test myself if I understand how a GENAD/GFA can “win hearts and mind” of the people” says LtColSerio.
The course is fundamental to gain the arguments and objectives of how you can approach all military activities with a gender perspective, a tool that can increase the operational effectiveness, he continues. The expertise in this field will be useful to train all Italian military personnel about the contents of UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions, and to explain the importance of understanding the different needs of men, women, boys and girls. Consequent education on these issues will be performed towards all military servicemen and women,and gender training will be carried out to prepare Officers, NCOs and troops before deployments.
The course, LtColSerio continues, is also a very important forum to exchange experiences with people from different countries and with officers that have performed in positions as GENAD/GFA in other areasof operations.In conclusion he outlines the importance to establisha professional figure of the GENAD/GFA, both internationally and inside the Italian Armed Forces,is something the course can contribute to.
LtColKristine Petermann works at the United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychology Operations Command (Airborne), at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Command supports conventional U.S. Army operations and therefor they are able to achieve a great impact on the implementation of a gender perspective into planning and execution of military activities.
-“The most essential factor is to teach commanders and soldiers that a gender perspective is an operational tool for the Commanders toolbox and that it cuts across the whole range of military operations”, says LtColPetermann.
The benefit to attend this particular course, as it is the only one of its kind within NATO, is that it provides a way to share the same base on how to integrate gender mainstreaming into the U.S Armed Forces, as well as in Europe and other places in the world.
Capt Stephen Tolbert, US Army, is appointed to deploy in July to ISAF Joint Command (IJC) in Afghanistan, as gender advisor. –“I am absorbing everything I can from this course to be better prepared when deployed to ISAF”, says Capt Tolbert. I feel that the examples given at the GFA course and the case studies we have been working with will give me a solid base to be able to put a gender perspective into the planning process at IJC.
During the course, NCGM has been supported by instructors from the Nordic Nations with own international experiences as gender advisors.
-“As I went through this course myself a year ago as part of my pre-mission preparations it is both a privilege and important task to be an instructor during this GFA course and to share from my own experiences working as a GENAD in Afghanistan”, says LtColJörgensen, Norwegian Airforce.