Over the last three years, Save the Children has been collaborating with the African Union Peace Support Operations Division (AUPSO) and the Regional Standby Forces specifically focusing on strengthening child rights and child protection in peace support operations. This has included the development and adoption of a Child Protection Training Package for use by the Regional Standby Forces, the Regional Peacekeeping Training Centres and the Troop Contributing Countries. Save the Children has also been advocating for the improvement of the capacity building and rostering initiatives mainly to ensure that AU Mandated or Authorised Missions have the right capacities deployed to serve. The AU Commission has taken a bold step by setting up the African Standby Capacity Roster for civilians to support the setting up and execution of missions.
To kick-off this major milestone, the AU Commission jointly with all the Regional Standby Forces invited civilians drawn from UN Missions and INGOs to attend the Inaugural Civilian Foundation Course under the Africa Standby Capacity platform. The training was held at the SADC Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe from the 25th to 30th of July 2016.
The objectives of the training were to:
- Provide orientation on basic and foundational AU PSO issues to prepare rostered personnel to effectively contribute to mandate implementation when deployed into ASF/AU PSO
- Establish a link between the African Standby Capacity (ASC) roster selection process and skills enhancement of rostered personnel for rapid deployment
- Ensure each Planning Element (PLANELM) has minimum of five (5) experienced and trained civilian personnel on their roster to facilitate deployment of minimum 30 critical civilian staff for future mission start-up
- Confirm the key AU messages and focus of the ASF Harmonised Civilian Foundation Course Standards focus, building on the experiences of the Training Institutions that have piloted these standards
The training also provided a rich forum for the AU Commission and the participants to have reflections and lessons on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Save the Children was represented by Anthony Njoroge, Senior Programme Manager – Children and Armed Conflict and Humanitarian. The step taken by the AU Commission and the Regional Standby Forces to set up the Pan-African Roster is a significant milestone as it demonstrates the commitment the institutions are making on having the right people with the right capacities deployed in missions which in-turn will result in quality delivery of services for children and also their protection. Save the Children will continue to support the rolling out of the Training Management System (Amani) which will complement the rostering process at the Training Centres, Troop Contributing Countries and the regional Standby Forces.
Article contributed by Anthony Njoroge, Senior Programme Manager – Children and Armed Conflict and Humanitarian