At an event that brought together more than 350 representatives from Member States, UN organizations, academia and civil society, the Elsie Initiative Fund (EIF) launched a third call for funding proposals to support the meaningful participation of uniformed women in UN peace operations.
“A more gender-responsive mission builds trust with the communities they serve and improves its effectiveness,” said UN Women’s Executive Director Sima Bahous while opening the event. Further, she highlighted the vital role women play in today’s multidimensional peacekeeping missions and stressed the need to ensure women’s equal participation. UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix called on Member States to continue promoting women’s meaningful participation in peacekeeping. “Our gender parity efforts are also a matter of justice—there should be no limitation on the grounds of gender to what women can achieve, in all roles and at all levels,” he stressed in his opening remarks.
Since its creation in 2019, the EIF has awarded over USD $17 million in grants to 20 projects. Among the recipients, the Ghanaian Armed Forces and the Senegalese Police and Gendarmerie have deployed four gender-strong units comprising of 1,277 personnel with 18 per cent women across all ranks. 14 EIF-supported security institutions have surveyed 3,689 personnel to examine barriers limiting women’s participation and committed to implementing evidence-based solutions to address identified barriers.
Meanwhile, the Togolese Armed Forces and the Senegalese Police raised awareness among 5,000 people on challenging gender stereotypes and encouraging women to join security institutions as part of large-scale recruitment campaigns. Five EIF-funded projects are creating inclusive environments for women, including through the construction of gender-sensitive accommodation and facilities in Jordan, Senegal, and Togo and improving deployment conditions for their uniformed women peacekeepers deployed to UN peace operations in Mali and Lebanon.
Commending the impact of the EIF, British Minister of State Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon announced an additional contribution of £1 million (USD $1.23 million) to the EIF. “It is wonderful to see how projects supported by the EIF are already tackling obstacles to participation. More investment will mean the Fund can scale up that impact and make gender parity a future reality,” he said at the event. The Republic of Korea also announced an additional contribution of USD $500,000. Meanwhile, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security Jacqueline O’Neill announced that the EIF’s lifespan has been extended to 31 December 2025 as “Canada is committed to continuing to support the EIF.”
Representatives of the Ghanaian and the Uruguayan Armed Forces also spoke at the event about innovative practices developed with EIF funding, including piloting gender- and family- friendly policies and providing cross-training to prepare military women for all roles and functions.
Through this third programming round, the Elsie Initiative Fund can accept Letters of Interest from current and potential Troop and Police Contributing Countries and as UN organizations. Three funding modalities are available: (1) barrier assessment (2) flexible project funding and (3) gender-strong unit premium. For more information on applying to the EIF, visit elsiefund.org/call-for-proposals to download the Letter of Interest Form and supporting resources.