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In an era where African countries including Kenya face complex risks such as terrorism, climate change, health crisis amongst others, advancing gender equality and mainstreaming requires emphasis. Studies show that women’s participation in peace negotiations increases the probability of violent conflict ending by 24%. Furthermore, researchers have drawn upon measures of gender equality to highlight correlations between gender discrimination and violence at the societal level, and the likelihood of conflict. The shortage of gender diversity in the security and defense forces operations, affects strategies, performance, efficiency, and most importantly, the capacity to understand and respond to the needs of communities.

With this in mind, Women in International Security (HoA) held the inaugural Women in Security Conference (WISC) themed, “Leveraging women’s roles in an era of complex risks” on 28 and 29 september 2022.

The inaugural conference partners included defense attaches from various nations, with support from supported by Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) and Kenya Defense Forces (KDF). The conference witnessed rich discussions and in-depth deliberations with the participation of high-level officials from government, development partners, international and regional organizations, representatives from civil society, think tanks and academia, and the private sector. Participants attended both virtually and online from ten (10) countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Japan, Chad, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Austria and Djibouti).

The conference was therefore premised on exploring means to leverage the transformational potential of women to address and support efforts to mitigate these complex risks. In particular, the conference through use of thematic and breakout sessions:-

  • Shed light on the emerging trends and responses to addressing contemporary security challenges such as gender stereotypes and climate change.
  • Take stock of good practices and lessons learned in integrating programs and teams that strengthen gender mainstreaming in the fight against terrorism and other security risks.
  • Take stock of challenges faced in day-to-day operations to provide for mitigation strategies and building trust with different stakeholders.


The conclusions attached encapsulate the outcomes of extensive deliberations held during the conference outlining key takeaways towards shaping action towards strengthening the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda with emphasis on strengthening prevention efforts and resilience of states (especially security related stakeholders) and communities, especially those affected by violent conflict, reinforced by regional and international cooperation that is more attuned to the evolving global landscape.


Fauziya Abdi Ali

President of Women in International Security (WIIS) Horn of Africa (HoA)

Col Tharommonay T. In

Director of Communications for Special Operations Command-Africa

Ambassador Margaret Whitman

US ambassador to Kenya.