A total of 33 participants representing 18 leading troop contributing countries, military personnel from peacekeeping missions and child protection actors attended the Child Protection Training Validation Workshop at the International Peace Support Training Centre in Nairobi from 27 to 29 March 2013. The workshop was convened by the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

The purpose of the workshop was to review and discuss the recently updated core redeployment training and the specialized training materials prepared by DPKO and partners for use in training of peacekeepers prior to their deployment to peacekeeping operations.

Training of peacekeepers on child rights and child protection is required by Security Council resolutions on children and armed conflict. This training ensures that peacekeepers share an awareness of the concerns that affect children in conflict, and the actions that may need to be taken to address those concerns. It enables them to become credible advocates for children, enhancing the overall value of each peacekeeper’s contribution to the mission. The Training modules prepared by DPKO and partners also stress on the professional obligations of peacekeepers to protect children, and their accountability to meet these obligations.

During the three day validation workshop member states had the opportunity to review the content of the training including exercises, role plays and scenarios and made valuable recommendations for improving the content and messaging to the military peacekeeping audience. The military peacekeepers from field missions in Cote D’Ivoire, MONUSCO, UNAMID and UNMISS shared their practical experiences in responding to child protection issues in the field. Based on the presentations, the participants recommended that DPKO collect and integrate good examples of child protection interventions by peacekeepers in peacekeeping operations into the training modules.

Speaking at the end of the workshop, Lt Colonel Darleen Young an instructor at the Australian Defence Force Peace Ops Training Centre welcomed the development of the training module. “Local communities have high expectations of the military. It is important that they understand the specific needs of children and how to respond to them. The diverse representation at the workshop and the constructive and enthusiastic collaboration between the military and the child protection specialists has illustrated that child protection is a collaborative effort”.

The next step in the training project will be the regional piloting of the training materials in Latin America, Asia and Africa later this year.