DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance
Measuring Opportunities for Women in Peace Operations Barrier Assessment Methodology

DCAF is in the final stages of testing its Measuring Opportunities for Women in Peace Operations (MOWIP) Barrier Assessment Methodology, developed in partnership with Cornell University and eight partner research institutions across a range of gendarmerie, military and police institutions from different geographic, cultural and linguistic regions across the globe, and informed by the DCAF 2018 Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations Baseline Study. The methodology is designed to assess the degree to which each country and institution is affected by each of  ten structural and cultural barriers to women’s participation in peace operations.

The main research questions the DCAF MOWIP Barrier Assessment methodology is seeking to understand are: ​

  • What are the main barriers to women’s participation in UN peace operations? ​
  • Are these challenges unique to women? ​
  • Are these challenges unique to a country context? ​
  • What are the experiences of men and women with respect to UN peace operations? ​
  • What are concrete recommendations to reduce barriers to women’s participation in UN peace operations?

A draft version of the MOWIP methodology is currently available on request (English) and DCAF anticipates that the published version will be released early in Q3, 2020, with French, Spanish and Arabic translations available shortly afterwards. This document explains in detail, the MOWIP Barrier Assessment methodology and its conduct including the three different tools used to collect data. It also guides researchers and institutions in how to apply the methodology including planning, seeking access to required personnel, collection and analysis of data, the writing of reports based on evidence, and validating recommendations.​

The MOWIP Barrier Assessment Methodology is designed to identify good practices and analyze gaps within a specific gendarmerie, military or police institution within that country-specific context. High-level gendarmerie, military or police ownership of the assessment and commitment to address outcomes to ascertain the nature and extent of barriers impeding their deployment of trained and qualified women peacekeepers, is required. Additionally, the methodology:

  • seeks to assess the degree to which each country is affected by each barrier. While these barriers affect the deployment of female personnel overall, each country and institution may be affected by individual barriers to different degrees
  • allows each country to develop indicators to measure each barrier within a country context; it allows for comparisons across barriers to determine which barriers are most significant for that country; and it helps identify which challenges are unique to women and which challenges are shared by women and men
  • is used to identify evidence-based good practices that could potentially be replicated by other institutions, both in the same country and in other Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCC)
  • is also used to identify where the greatest amount of change should be made based on where the major barriers are for the specific country. Hence, it will help countries identify and take ownership of a country specific strategy that supports their institution’s longer-term strategic planning, and where to allocate resources efficiently to achieve short-term improvements, as well as structural or organizational initiatives that lead to sustainable change and an increase in women’s participation in peace operations.  

Data Collection Methods. The MOWIP Barrier Assessment methodology involves three complementary types of data collection methods. They are used together to ensure a comprehensive approach to the research, and to produce a final report including actionable recommendations:​

  • an institutional fact-finding form: a pre-designed 200 question template used by the assessment team to gather basic institutional / country facts about each of the 10 barriers
  • a set of key decision-makers interviews: conducted with key government and peacekeeping decision-makers who make decisions about peace operation deployments. Information gained from these interviews informs the fact-finding form
  • a representative survey: an hour-long survey, tailored to the particular institution’s context including the use of institutional language and terminology, conducted with 380 (190 men and 190 women) of the country’s gendarmerie, military or police institution, used to collect data on individual perceptions and experiences of the barriers and of UN peace operation deployments. The survey data is anonymized and de-identified by the research institution.​

MOWIP Barrier Assessment Reports. The security institution is involved through a participatory process, in the validation of the findings and recommendations of the assessment before the reporting is finalized. This process ensures institutional legitimacy and ownership of the information. Two reports are produced:​

  • a confidential detailed report is provided to the institution by the organization contracted to complete the study. This detailed, inwards facing report is only provided to the institution. It includes a range of recommendations for the organization to consider, and importantly, all information is held on secure servers. This report contains anonymized data to enable respondents to provide frank and honest responses
  • a public report with all sensitive and classified information removed. This report is only released following the assessed security institution’s approval. The security institution has full authority to decide on the information to be included in this public report. It would highlight the importance of barriers / measuring women’s participation in peace operations from a country context and provide evidence-based recommendations for policy and programmatic actions to overcome these barriers. This report would be publicly available; it would also contribute to the global conversation on increasing the representation of uniformed women in UN peace operations – one of the impacts the Elsie Initiative Fund aims to inform.

Planning. The conduct of a MOWIP Barrier Assessment is a deliberate process; significant financial and human resources are required to plan, conduct and project manage the assessment. DCAF recommend that it is conducted by a trusted independent organization, a partner that is external to a country’s gendarmerie, military or police institutions. This could be a think tank, an NGO, a research or academic institution, and preferably with some knowledge of the institution. ​The research organization can be based within the country or regionally.

Cost to conduct. The approximate cost to conduct a MOWIP Barrier Assessment is in the region of US$80,000-120,000 for data collection, plus a similar amount on top in fees for the research institution. This variation is dependent on the size and geographical spread of the country and its gendarmerie, military or police institutions, and the requirements of the partner organization completing the MOWIP Barrier Assessment, including researchers and enumerators as well as the labor and transport costs of the research institution (which could be based within the country or abroad).

Research Partner. Prior to submitting a Letter of Interest (LOI) to conduct a MOWIP Barrier Assessment, it is recommended that a partner research institution be identified and engaged, and preliminary discussions held to confirm their ability and suitability to support and work in partnership with the country’s gendarmerie, military or police institutions to conduct a MOWIP Barrier Assessment.​ On identification of a suitable research partner, this document highlights the key components that would be included in a Barrier Assessment Agreement between the country’s gendarmerie, military or police institution and the research partner.

Good Practices and Lessons Learnt. The Zambia Police Service (ZPS) and their research partner, the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) recently conducted a MOWIP Barrier Assessment and are in the final report writing stage. This document provides information on good practices, lessons and how the SACCORD and the ZPS planned and conducted the DCAF MOWIP Barrier Assessment together.