The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre (RPTC) as a Regional Training Centre of Excellence has been mandated to enhance and sustain Peace Support Operations (PSOs) capacities of the SADC Standby Force (SSF). It is against this backdrop that the Centre hosted a Civilian Foundation Course in PSOs from 29 May – 09 June 2017, in Harare, Zimbabwe following the recent approval of the next five year Strategic Plan. The two week course brought together 23 middle management civilian participants drawn from SADC member states. The training targeted civilians who have no peace mission experience and personnel who have had experience but did not have formal training in contemporary PSOs. ACCORD/TfP was invited to both participate in the course as well facilitate sessions on Negotiation and Mediation in PSOs.
The civilian foundation course aims to provide civilian peace keepers with understanding and insight into the conceptual and institutional frameworks of multidimensional PSOs. The course provided the participants with an overview of the core civilian, military and police functional areas in PSOs and covered a number of aspects on the field of Peace and Security in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of all the civilian deployed in an integrated PSO. The various aspects of PSOs which were covered included: the introduction to conflict, Legal and Institutional Frameworks that guide the functioning of PSOs, Mission Structure and Mandate Implementation and Cross- Cutting Issues such as gender issues in PSOs. As part of the learning process the participants took part in the practical simulation exercises which helped them to practice the newly acquired knowledge.