7th Nov. 2012 OeKG Meeting


and secure environment for ALL people in Kosovo, KFOR needs to be aware of their security concerns.”

Using a Gender perspective helps to get closer to the population which is the center of gravity. The benefits of having a Gender Advisor are twofold.  It not only benefits the military operation, it also benefits the local population.  More voices are heard and understood by the military planners and they take these voices into consideration in their plans.  

Dr. Schleicher's presentation provided us with an overview on the role of the Gender Advisor and how KFOR integrates a gender perspective into its operations.


Gender in KFOR

KFOR is convinced that lasting peace in Kosovo will only be achieved by

fully engaging all members of Kosovo society in the peace process. As

women and minorities are often not represented, even proportionally, in

formal or official positions, NATO and KFOR have established methods

to reach out to them and create a dialogue to further the peace process in


These efforts, first and foremost, include the creation of the office of

Gender Advisor in November 2010. This position is staffed by an officer

who receives special training in Gender and its role in conflict resolution.

KFOR’s Gender Advisor reports directly to the KFOR Commander and

provides advice to him as well as to other members of the command

group and senior staff in KFOR. In this role, she ensures that the strategic

guidance given at the command level includes a Gender Perspective.

To implement this Gender Perspective, she is included at the outset of plan

development and ensures that the roles of men, women, boys, and girls are

included in the planning and execution of all of KFOR’s operations. She

works with various staff and command levels to propose methods to ensure

that KFOR’s operations have maximum benefit for all people in Kosovo.

KFOR’s Gender Advisor is the primary liaison KFOR has with women’s

organizations in Kosovo. She is responsible for developing relationships

between KFOR and these groups and then trying to identify areas of

mutual benefit.

She is also tasked with ensuring that KFOR’s soldiers are trained in

Gender Awareness. Much of her time is dedicated to training on the

benefits of reaching out to women in Kosovo and the how to perform this


The Commander of KFOR has given specific instructions that this outreach

is performed and then integrated into KFOR’s planning process.



But what does this mean in practical terms? One short example of the

KFOR Gender Advisor’s work concerns the development of relationships

between KFOR and the Kosovo populace:

In order to strengthen KFOR’s active relationships with women’s groups in

Kosovo, KFOR’s Gender Advisor identified many such groups, including

NGOs, GOs, etc, and developed relationships between them and KFOR.

A fruitful example of this has been the contacts made with Community

Building Mitrovica (CBM), a multiethnic organization in the north of Kosovo.

KFOR’s Gender Advisor arranged for KFOR to host a Women’s Day

event where women’s groups from throughout Kosovo were invited to our

Headquarters. At the event, each group was invited to give a short speech

on their group and its activities. At the end, the KFOR Commander gave

a speech and was presented with gifts from various groups. This event

presented KFOR to these women on a much more personal level and

allowed many of them the opportunity to meet each other for the first time.

One of the local women’s groups is active in creating income for women

in Kosovo. They have a retail store where they sell hand made rugs and

other products. Much of their income is taken up just in paying for this

retail space. KFOR’s Gender Advisor arranged for them to be allowed

to sell rugs one Sunday at the American Camp (Bondsteel). We were

lucky enough to be collocated with a waffle sale on a day when the Dining

Facility was closed. In all they sold enough on that one day to cover their

expenses for months.

The NGO Medica Kosova supports Kosovar women traumatized by the

war, regardless of their ethnicity and religion. The NGO provided a lecture

for KFOR soldiers on what to be aware of when operating in an area with

traumatized people and to learn methods to reduce the negative effects of

military operations without compromising the mission. The NGO worked

with the Liaison Monitoring Teams and set up several meetings to meet

women from different ethnic backgrounds in rural villages. This increased

situational awareness in these communities.

In November 2012 COM KFOR directed that Gender Focal Points be

appointed in a ceremony where members of governmental and non-

governmental are present. The most recent event also commemorated

the 12th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of

Resolution 1325 on 31 October 2000.