New York, 20 December 2022 – The Elsie Initiative Fund for Women in Peace Operations (EIF) announced today that the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) will receive a USD 1.49 million grant to create an enabling and inclusive environment for women police peacekeepers.
This project comes at a time when three police contributing countries - Nigeria, Senegal and Togo have committed to increasing and sustaining the deployment of women in Formed Police Units (FPUs). Specifically, Senegal will increase its deployment of women from 18 per cent currently to 26 per cent in 2025 and Togo aims to double the percentage of women deployed from 11 per cent currently to 25 per cent in 2025. Nigeria aims to maintain its deployment of women at around 24 per cent.
Seeking to significantly improve working and living conditions for female peacekeepers, MINUSMA will use the EIF grant to construct seven accommodation units, 19 hygiene facilities, four laundry units and a dedicated recreational space.
Women should have equal opportunities to deploy to peacekeeping. Their contribution to the operational success of peacekeeping missions has been crucial. Mixed-gender FPUs improve engagement with communities they serve and enhance the mission’s capacity to deliver on its mandated tasks including public order management and high visibility patrols. But “to reap the benefits of having more diverse teams in peacekeeping we need to create an enabling environment that will support women’s meaningful participation” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations. “This support from the Elsie Initiative Fund contributes to gender-responsive peace operations that can better help build and protect peace and security worldwide,” he added.
Senegal, currently the largest police contributor to United Nations (UN) peace operations, seeks to increase the deployment of women in FPUs to MINUSMA. In 2021, a declaration was made by the authorities of the Senegal National Police commemorating the integration of women, where they suggested the provision of gender-sensitive accommodation as a pre-condition for inclusive peacekeeping. The Inspector General of Senegal Police Seydou Bocar Yague, welcomed this project as a milestone that will enable the sustainable increase in their deployment of women to MINUSMA. Through its separate EIF funded project, Senegal aims to tackle structural barriers to women’s meaningful participation in the national police by deploying gender-strong units to UN peacekeeping, establishing a roster of trained women for deployment, adopting a gender policy and recruiting more women in the national police.
Emphasizing the importance of this project, Togo’s Minister of Security and Civil Protection Brigadier General Damehame Yark said “The operational efficiency and professionalism of female personnel in the security forces is a well-known fact. Therefore, I am grateful for this project – it will allow us to transform our vision to increase women’s participation in our FPUs into a reality.” Togo, the 6th largest police contributing country to UN Peacekeeping, also received an EIF grant to undertake a study to assess the barriers, opportunities and challenges faced by Togo women police officers, in order to increase women’s meaningful participation on United Nations peace operations.
Nigeria is the 15th largest police contributor to UN peace operations. “Nigeria has been consistently contributing mixed-gender units to MINUSMA. We appreciate the support from the Elsie Initiative Fund
that will make a significant impact in improving the living and working conditions of peacekeepers” said Inspector General of Police Alkali Baba Usman.
MINUSMA is the first UN peace operation to have two women leading its police component - as Police Commissioner and Deputy Police Commissioner. Over the past decade, MINUSMA has made the advancement of women’s meaningful participation a priority and incorporated gender perspectives into its operations in Bamako and other regions.
MINUSMA is the second United Nations mission after UNIFIL, to receive an EIF grant to create a more inclusive mission environment to support and sustain uniformed women’s meaningful participation. Both projects have incorporated guidelines and recommendations from the Department of Operational Support’s gender-responsive conceptual peacekeeping camp and accommodation design project (link). These pilot projects are concrete examples of how United Nations missions can implement a project that substantially supports increased participation of uniformed women in peacekeeping - in partnership with a Troop and /or Police Contributing Country, and therefore paving the way for other missions to follow.
About the Elsie Initiative Fund (EIF)
Established by the UN, Canada and Member States in 2019, the EIF is an innovative, multilateral fund that aims to accelerate progress towards the UN's gender targets in line with Security Council resolutions and the UN Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy 2018-2028. The EIF, a UN trust fund hosted by UN Women, is funded by contributions from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.
The EIF supports the sustainable deployment and meaningful participation of uniformed women peacekeepers by providing financial assistance and incentives. For more information, please visit https://elsiefund.org/ and follow @ElsieFund on Twitter.
Elsie Initiative Fund
UN Department of Peace Operations