UNDP LOTFA and the Ministry of Interior build the leadership skills of female officers
March 2011 - Inside a classroom at the Kabul Police Academy, 21 female police officers are busy typing away on computers, creating organizational diagrams and entering data into a document. “They’re writing a case application,” says Habiba, their computer instructor.
These police officers are in the last module of a three-month, MBA-style training course initiated by the Gender Mainstreaming Unit (GMU) of the Ministry of Interior, with the support of UNDP’s Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA). The course, targeting female police at officer rankings of Lieutenant Colonel and above, covered topics on leadership, management, accounting, and IT.
One of these students is a colonel, with 25 years of experience as a police officer. “Most police officers, male or female, do not have these skills,” she says. “Before, many of these women didn’t even know how to turn on a computer.”
Although LOTFA has conducted similar trainings for police officers before, they only began the course specifically for female officers in Dec 2010.
Currently, there are more than 1,000 female police officers in the Afghan National Police force, with the target of reaching 5,000 by 2014. To reach this goal, the ANP needs to have qualified, skilled female officers in the ranks. This type of on-the-job training is a key component to that strategy. The trainings are scheduled every day in the afternoons, giving the officers the chance to apply what they learned at work the following day.
Says the head of education and training at GMU, “Whatever I learn in the afternoon, the next day I try to apply at work.” After attending the “Office Records and Filing Management” and “Indexing” modules, she implemented a new filing system in her office. “Documents are now well-managed,” she says. Despite having 15 years of experience as a police officer, “this is the first time I’ve attended such a useful training. I’ve learned what the qualities of being a leader are.”
The GMU, supported by LOTFA, plans to continue these types of trainings for both male and female officers of the GMU, training them in the new skills that are necessary for managers in any organization.
“Many of these women have been police officers for 20 or 25 years,” says Habiba, the trainer. “They are updated to the new skills and systems”.
The Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) is a multilateral Trust Fund set up in 2002 and administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Trust Fund has provided a mechanism for coordinating contributions from international partners with the main priorities of covering police salaries, improving police infrastructure, capacity development and gender enhancement in the Ministry of Interior, as part of the international community’s support to rebuild and develop the Afghan police force. LOTFA has 19 donors including the governments of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, EU, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the UK, and US..