UN Department of Field Support launches new phase of training for African peacekeeping troops

16 Jan 2018

UN Department of Field Support launches new phase of training for African peacekeeping troops

Nairobi - The UN Department of Field Support (DFS) has launched a new phase of training for African peacekeeping troops focusing on heavy engineering operations.

Twelve troops drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia and Ethiopia, are among trainees undergoing a three-month intensive Training-of-Trainers’ course on the heavy engineering aspects of peacekeeping, at the Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS), in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, on Monday.

Julian Otinkorang, the Deputy Project Manager of the Triangular Partnership Project (TPP) which spearheads the training, said the initiative is aimed at facilitating Africa’s military deployment capabilities by addressing the gaps in engineering capabilities for African militaries.

“We are focusing on building the capacity by training these trainees from the African Troop Contributing Countries so that they can go back and be able to impart the knowledge,” he noted, adding that the training would be able to “create the multiplier effect”.

“We cannot bring all the countries to Nairobi. But by providing them with their own trainers we will be able to train more numbers, making rapid deployment into peacekeeping very possible”.

170 soldiers nominated by their respective countries have so far been trained in engineering plant operations and maintenance, since the UN supported courses began in 2015.

Past beneficiaries of the training, which teaches heavy engineering operations critical in peacekeeping missions, include 11 troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), 60 soldiers from Kenya, 10 from Rwanda, 9 Ugandans and 7 Ghanaians.

Ethiopia is a new addition to this year’s training, in which the troops will be taught various fields.

Kenya has been providing the training facility for the TPP courses, undertaken through a collaborative effort between the UN, governments of Switzerland, Japan and African troop contributing countries.

“I am sure the start of today’s training will go along way to strengthen further this partnership. This particular training has been sponsored by the Government of Japan in partnership with Switzerland and United Nations. It’s a very good transformative initiative that I am proud to be part of,” said Col. Stephen Radina, the Commandant of the Humanitarian Peace Support School said.

Through the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC), HPSS has maintained a collaborative cooperation with the UN and government of Switzerland in research, training and capacity building of troops.

The project which trains soldiers in various skills, including erecting and maintaining airstrips, clearing fields, campsite preparation and repair of runways,  is open to the whole of Africa.

Otinkorang divulged plans to introduce engineering design courses in future trainings.