Three “train the trainers” courses at the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) regional peacekeeping training centre (RPTC) are underway, forming part of the organisation’s efforts to boost its peacekeeping and peace support capacity.
During the first course at the Harare facility in Zimbabwe last month, participants said they had “learnt a lot” both from those presenting the course as well as military, police and correctional officers and civilians attending.
According to the SADC, the courses are aimed at transferring to participants the skills to design and implement training courses in their own countries. This will, in turn, better equip uniformed personnel when they are deployed on either peace support or peacekeeping missions. Adult learning, communications, designing agendas and interactive training methodologies are among the major topics covered during the two week long courses.
Those who successfully complete the courses will perform as focal points in their own countries and, in the case of civilians, the institutions and organisations they represent in setting up suitable structures to ensure success in their work.
Established three years ago with financial assistance from the Germany’s Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (Bureau for International Co-operation) the RPTC is seen as a centre of excellence in the southern African region for peacekeeping training to international standards.
In its first year of existence more than 150 people from all 14 SADC member states underwent training at the RPTC.
In addition to the current “train the trainers” initiative ongoing courses in capacity development are presented on a regular basis.
GIZ said its support of the RPTC was primarily by providing advice on design and implementation of training courses for police officers, and multi-dimensional courses in which civilians, police and soldiers work together to prepare for deployment in peacekeeping missions. The participants become familiar with subjects such as the principles of rule of law and international humanitarian law, gender issues, preventive health care and the protection of civilians in crisis areas. By diversifying the course target group (with participants of both sexes from different member states and from non-governmental organisations) and by running the multi-dimensional courses, the project also promotes exchanges of experience between representatives of SADC member states as well as the formation of regional sector networks.
The second “train the trainer” course finishes on Friday with the third set to start on Monday and run through to November 8.