WCO further enhances the skills of Customs Administrations in the East and Southern Africa region on Gender Equality

24 May 2019

Under the framework of the Finland East and Southern Africa (ESA) Programme II, the WCO successfully delivered a second regional workshop from 6-10th of May at the Regional Training Centre (RTC) in Port Louis, Mauritius. This follow-up workshop built on the outcomes of the May 2018 workshop and aimed at enhancing the skills of the four RTCs and five additional countries in the ESA region to effectively use WCO tools on gender equality within their Customs administrations to ensure sustainability. The workshop provided an opportunity for 15 participants from 9 countries in the region (Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Uganda, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe) to enhance their skills on how to implement gender mainstreaming by using a project management approach including principles of strategic planning and change management with a particular focus on monitoring and evaluation.

The participants also increased their knowledge on WCO initiatives and tools related to gender equality and diversity including the updated version of the Gender Equality Organizational Assessment Tool (GEOAT), the Blended Training Package on Advancing Gender Equality in Customs including its e-learning module and the WCO Virtual Working Group on gender equality and diversity. Participants shared practical examples of gender equality and diversity related initiatives from their respective administrations. Through group work participants were able to develop practical guidelines and recommendations for the ESA region on the three thematic topics of Training, Human Resource Management, Communication and Stakeholder Engagement. These recommendations will be presented in the forthcoming weeks for Commissioners and Director Generals part of the Steering Committee of the Finland ESA Project II.

Lastly, as part of the mission, a two-day assessment using the GEOAT as a baseline was conducted with different units of the MRA to review current practices related to gender equality and diversity.  Meetings were held with the Ministry of Gender Equality in Mauritius, as well as the national UNDP office and an association of women entrepreneurs to get a better overview of the national context of gender equality in Mauritius. The outcomes of these discussions along with recommendations on how to further improve and sustain MRAs work on gender equality and diversity, with help of WCO instruments and tools, will be provided to the MRA in the forthcoming weeks. The WCO looks forward to continue collaboration with customs administrations in the ESA region and elsewhere to further advance the gender equality and diversity agenda.