The Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA) in partnership with Save the Children International (SCI) and the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF), is currently conducting the “Anglophone Master Trainers (ToT) on Child Protection Course”.
The course officially opened on Monday, 4 September 2017 at the RPA training facility in Musanze District, and will run up to 8 September 2017. It is attended by a total of 31 military, police and civilian officers from seven EASF member states namely: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Comoros, Somalia, Seychelles and Sudan as well as from 2 Regional Economic Communities (EASF and ECOWAS) and 2 regional peacekeeping training centres (RPA and IPSTC).
Brig Gen Charles Rudakubana, the Joint Chief of Staff at the EASF Planning Element who represented the Director of EASF at the event presided over the official opening ceremony.
In his remarks Brig Gen Rudakubana urged course participants to take lead in protecting the rights of children, and noted that in conflicts especially in some African countries child rights are violated.
“We are training these personnel and after they will be able to train others in their respective countries on child rights and child protection before being deployed to peacekeeping missions,” he said.
Anthony Njoroge, the Senior Programme Manager, Child protection at SCI, who represented SCI at the event, said the World Bank statistics indicate that, 124 million children are still out of primary and lower secondary school due to conflict and violence.
“Save the Children remains committed to continue making a contribution in partnership with the EASF and the training centres in ensuring that, that troop, police and civilians deploying on African Peace Support Operations have the requisite child protection knowledge and skills consistent with their role,” Njoroge said.
The Director of the Rwanda Peace Academy Col. Jill Rutaremara, said contemporary armed conflicts in Africa result in physical and psychological negative impacts on children.
“Military contingents and police units as well as individual military, police and civilian peacekeepers must therefore be equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills in child rights and child protection. The standardised child rights and child protection training curriculum, training materials and training tools that are in place are indeed commendable,” he said.
“Building and sustaining this critical capability requires building the capacity of master trainers who can in turn, serve as a force multiplier in the integration and delivery of the training as well as developing a practical, and realist plan for ensuring that all potential military and police peacekeepers receive appropriate training before, being deployed to mission areas,” the Director of the RPA said adding that for this to be implemented, the curriculum should be integrated into the existing training programmes of national defence forces and police services.