“During the testing of the gender training material in East Timor and Eritrea, the trainer found that he/she did not have enough current, context-specific information on the conflicts in those countries and the peace missions there. For this reason it was decided to open the gender-training sessions to both the military peacekeepers and the civilian population, so that the local men and women could provide their analyses and stories. Some local politicians, including mayors, and local women and men participated in the training. The trainer found that the most profound learning occurred when local civilians participated in the training sessions along with the military peacekeepers. This gave all participants an idea of how the conflict and peace mission had affected them and the role of gender within those experiences and structures. The trainer also found that often this was the first time that military peacekeepers had actually spoken with local people and heard their perspectives. This realization shows an important and useful way of developing an understanding of gender issues within the peace mission and the host society.”
Cited in McKay and Mazurana (2001), Raising Women’s Voices for Peacebuilding.