The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) has on Friday, 26 March 2021 held a closing ceremony on its course on Mental Health and Psycho-social Support (MHPSS) in peace support operations.
The course, organised by KAIPTC and supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) was aimed at encouraging participants to cope better and remain productive in their daily routine during high intensity Peace Support Operations and Humanitarian Assistance Missions.
The Deputy Commandant, KAIPTC, Air Commodore George Arko-Dadzie in his remarks stated that, conflicts and displacement brings about stress which has the potential to negatively impact the mental health and well-being of everyone including peacekeepers. He added that, these traumatic experiences if left unattended to could affect the well-being of people, especially, mission personnel.
He opined that, providing basic needs such as shelter, water and sanitation, food and medical aid was more effective when combined with psychosocial programmes such as MHPSS since mental wellbeing was crucial to poverty reduction, peace building, addressing gender-based violence and reconstruction of affected areas and economies.
He further expressed his appreciation to the course facilitators for their immense commitment and support.
In her Address, the GIZ Ghana County Director, Mrs. Regina Bauerochse-Barbosa commended the Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre for his foresight in facilitating this innovative course, the first of its kind on the African continent, whereby championing the crucial integration of MHPSS in peace building efforts.
“Dear Participants, we can´t change the stressful and emotionally challenging environments of Peace Missions. Nor can we prevent mission personnel from experiencing violence and atrocities. But, it has become imperative to support the mental health and wellbeing of personnel by assertively addressing this issue in current and future peacekeeping deployments,” she added.
She said that it was her hope the training helped the participants acquire additional skills to not only care for their own mental health and wellbeing, but that they would also become agents of change to further advocate for the importance of mental health, psycho-social support in order to raise awareness on these issues among mission personnel.
In a related development, Air Commodore George Arko-Dadzie also led the closing ceremony of the course on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning in Peace Support Operations in Africa.