PKSOI participated in the U.S. Army Africa’s Justified Accord exercise at the Ethiopia Peacekeeping Training Center from 12-30 July. This exercise highlighted the important contributions the U.S. and African Countries, such as Ethiopia, are making to enhance the capability of international peacekeeping forces, particularly to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). More than 1,000 military, civilian and government personnel from Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Djibouti, Ethiopia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Senegal, Somalia, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States participated in the exercise this year.
Colonel Veronica Oswald-Hrutkay, the PKSOI’s lead for Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) and Ms. Sarah Petrin, Peace Operations Analyst provided valuable contributions integrating the role of women in the conflict and security environment thus creating the conditions for peacebuilding, and addressing specific threats to the protection of civilians including child recruitment, human trafficking, and sexual violence. PKSOI supported the academic and Command Post Exercise phases by operationalizing Gender and Protection by working through the Joint Exercise Control Group as an Observer Coach/Trainer team and even participating as role players alongside a team of multinational training experts. The control group developed scenarios depicting challenging circumstances facing AMISOM forces including civil-military coordination on humanitarian assistance, mitigating improvised explosive devices, mitigating incidences of Conflict Related Sexual Violence and investigating allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse.
At the close of the exercise, PKSOI and the Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF) planted a tree in honor of women peacekeepers.