The UK will open a new Security Sector and Gender training course in Nairobi, Kenya, to increase its Women, Peace and Security efforts in East Africa.
The Security Sector and Gender training course will focus on teaching soldiers how to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual violence against women, men and children, and increasing the level of participation of women in military operations throughout the region.
In pursuit of this, hundreds of army personnel from Kenya and up to 12 partner nations are expected to participate and will be trained in specific techniques to prevent and respond to sexual violence against vulnerable people in conflict areas. A small training team from the British Army will deploy to East Africa to deliver broader support for those combating sexual violence in conflict zones.
How did the UK’s new commitments to African defence come to exist?
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has visited Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia in recent days and met with defence ministers to reinforce the UK’s commitment to bolstering the defence efforts of its African partners. As well as increasing the participation of women and tackling sexual violence, the UK discussed increasing the participation of other non-traditional security actors and collaborative efforts to tackle the challenges of terrorism.
Further, the British Army will extend the infantry training programme it operates in Kenya, from which thousands of personnel benefit each year. Williamson emphasised that the UK’s aid contributions have also supported the building of a field hospital for peacekeepers in South Sudan, improved voter education and encouraged local conflict resolution.
Williamson said: “A prosperous and secure Africa is firmly in our national interest and our Armed Forces are playing a vital role on the continent. Whether fighting for women’s rights through our training teams or suppressing terrorist threats, the UK is a nation with a big heart and we are determined to help our partners when they need us.”