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Structures for Success: Gender Focal Point Network key for effective gender mainstreaming at EUMM

The Gender Focal Point Network is the backbone of gender mainstreaming efforts at the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia. The network, comprised of 17 staff members, including 11 women and six men from all three Field Offices as well as Headquarters, provides support and guidance in the Mission’s internal and external gender mainstreaming efforts. 

Incorporating gender perspectives into all aspects of peace operations is one of the key goals of the Women, Peace and Security agenda formed by the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and its subsequent resolutions. 

Gender Focal Points provide guidance to staff members on gender mainstreaming in programme planning, patrolling, monitoring, reporting, data collection and analysis. They also support capacity building activities, for example delivering induction trainings and briefings to new staff on issues related to gender and the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Gender Focal Points also actively support collaboration with civil society, as well as organise and coordinate specific outreach activities, for example campaigns relating to the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence and International Women’s Day.

“Acting as a Field Office Gender Focal Point has given me the opportunity to work together with other Focal Points to make an impact. Not only internally by raising awareness and improving data analysis but also externally during specific outreach campaigns. It has been especially inspiring to see colleagues from the entire Field Office pull together to conduct outreach on EU values in universities, schools and with key interlocutors. The Gender Focal Point network plays a key role in the Mission’s operational effectiveness and allows you to develop yourself and help others around you to evolve,” says Sanne Overvelde-Slagman, Gender Focal Point in Field Office Zugdidi.

Gender Focal Points work part time on gender issues and can hold a variety of roles in the Mission, for example as Monitors, Team Leaders, Reporting Officers and Human Resource Officers. EUMM Gender Focal Points have written terms of reference to guide their work. They are appointed on a voluntary basis, based on their motivation and interest in supporting the Mission’s efforts in advancing gender equality. 

The Gender Focal Point Network is coordinated by the Mission’s Gender Adviser, and it generally meets three times a year to exchange best practices and challenges, as well as plan and discuss initiatives related to Women, Peace and Security and other critical gender matters. The Mission currently has national and international Gender Focal Points at Headquarters and in its three Field Offices, including in the Administrative Boundary Line, Compliance and Human Security teams.

“The Gender Focal Point Network is one of the important ways in which the Mission works to strengthen gender mainstreaming and promote gender equality as a key value and cross-cutting issue in all our work. Our Gender Focal Points come from different backgrounds and have excellent ideas and initiatives, making our gender mainstreaming processes even stronger, with broader impact,” says the Mission’s Gender Adviser Sini Ramo.

From 2019, the EUMM Gender Focal Point Network was further strengthened by the inclusion of national staff members.

“In addition to being an interpreter on EUMM patrols, I am also very happy to work as a Gender Focal Point and, in this way, contribute to gender equality in the Mission. This also makes my work more interesting and I learn a lot in the process. For example, I support capacity building activities, monitor gender-related news in the local media, and seek out opportunities for collaboration with local actors," says Tatiana Skhirtladze, National Gender Focal Point in Field Office Mtskheta. 

"All staff members have a role to play in advancing gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the Mission, but Gender Focal Points play an active role in supporting these processes,” Ms Skhirtladze says.

The Gender Focal Point Network consists of staff members from the Field Offices and Mission headquarters.

(Photo from February 2020 GFP Network meeting)

Gender Focal Points meet regularly to conduct joint planning and exchange best practices.

(Photo from February 2020 GFP Network meeting)

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