War and violent conflict have a disproportionate and unique impact on women and girls, recognised by UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. This resolution also acknowledges the vital role women play in building more peaceful and stable communities, through participation in peace processes, post-conflict reconstruction and security efforts.
However, in areas such as Weapons and Ammunition Management, women are heavily under represented—according to research by UNIDIR, men constituted 86 per cent of all participants in WAM training. Gender stereotypes, lack of access to training and poor infrastructure often impede women from entering the sector.
HALO is committed to ensuring women's full participation in the arms control sector. Thanks to the support of The Government of Canada we have developed a three year programme to provide technical weapons and ammunition training to increase the participation of 'Women in WAM' and build a new generation of female experts and leaders in the field.
"Empowering women to meaningfully engage in tackling issues like weapons proliferation brings new perspectives and ideas to a largely male dominated space. Providing technical training and skills development enables women to engage in WAM-related roles and become trainers and technical experts."
The project aims to provide high quality technical training, including in: weapons and explosive ordnance destruction, stockpile and ammunition management, weapons marking and armourer qualifications.
The uncontrolled spread and availability of guns and ammunition exacerbates violence, and prolongs conflict. Unsecured weapons run the risk of illicit diversion, falling into the hands of terrorists or criminal gangs. Poor storage also increases the likelihood of unplanned explosions—for example in Beirut in August 2020 and the unplanned explosion at a military base in Equatorial Guinea in 2021—threatening the lives of local families.
HALO works with host-nations to develop comprehensive Weapons and Ammunition Management systems, build securement infrastructure, and provide professional development for security force personnel, reducing the human suffering caused by uncontrolled weapons supplies. The women trained under this programme will play a vital role in building a more secure future for affected communities.
"Attending HALO’s weapons anti-trafficking course helped me to develop my technical knowledge on issues relating to Small Arms and Light Weapons management, weapon types and functions as well as increasing my awareness of key weapons trafficking issues, all of which I can apply directly to my daily work."