In April 2008, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the Accra based Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-Africa) entered into a partnership to implement a project entitled 'Security Sector Reform in West Africa: Strengthening the Integration of Gender and Enhancing the Capacities of Female Security Sector Personnel' (see project outline for more information).
The project is both derived from, and intended to respond to an identified fundamental gap in the discourse and practice of security sector reform (SSR) in the sub-region. In West Africa, a number of countries have either implemented some elements of SSR (e.g. Ghana, Nigeria) or have a comprehensive SSR process ongoing (e.g. Sierra Leone, Liberia). In either case, the SSR process has been critiqued for its inadequate consultation with, and underrepresentation of women, as well as for its tokenistic approach to issues of gender-based violence. Hence, the two-pronged goal of the DCAF-WIPSEN-Africa partnership is to strengthen the integration of gender and women's issues in SSR processes; and to enhance the capacities of female security sector personnel to act as drivers of the desired change from within.