A Training of Trainers (ToT) course on African Union peacekeeping and support operations started at the Police Training School (PTS) Gishari bringing together 25 police officers from Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda.
The month-long Formed Police Unit (FPU) ToT course organized by the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF), a regional body mandated to enhance peace and security in the Eastern African region.
Speaking at the official opening of the course, the commandant of PTS, Commissioner of Police (CP) Vianney Nshimiyimana, said that Rwanda National Police (RNP) prioritized training, among others, as an efficient tool to address the evolving policing challenges.
“We believe that without effective training of our officers, we can’t achieve our best performance, and we can hardly manage to use the resources available at our disposal, efficiently. This course supplements these efforts at the national and regional levels,” CP Nshimiyimana said.
“Peace support operations cannot be achieved by a sole country; EASF member countries need to share experiences; and this togetherness is our strength as the region,” he added.
The training, he said, will improve the capacity of the police forces, and vital in preparation of competent Formed Police Unit Contingents, and called for “extra seriousness to be competent trainers.”
The head of the Police Component at EASF, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dinah Kyasimire, explained that AU and EASF found it necessary to organize the training of trainers for member states that pledged FPUs to EASF.
Out of ten EASF member states, only five pledged FPU contingents, namely; Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Ethiopia. Comoros, Djibouti, Seychelles, Somalia and Sudan complete the list of EASF member countries.
The standby force consists of military, police and civilian components and mechanism to provide capability for rapid deployment of forces to carry out preventive deployment, rapid intervention, peace support and peace enforcement.
The new peace support curriculum was developed by AU for its five regional mechanisms and regional economic communities to harmonise their positions in FPU training.
“It is designed to deepen participants’ understanding of the roles and functions of FPUs in peacekeeping and support. Participants will facilitate similar trainings in their home countries to prepare FPU contingents for future deployments,” ACP Kyasimire, said.
“This training will cover a wide range of peacekeeping subjects that are meant to refine the skills of future trainers. It is a serious and demanding course where only those who will pass will be accredited as trainers. It’s not mandatory that all participants will pass; there’s a pass-mark for one to attain to be accredited as an EASF trainer,” she said.
FPUs protect civilians including security of internally displaced camps from eminent threats, public order management, protection of UN key installations and personnel, and humanitarian assistance, among others.