As a trainer, what could be better than to be part of a multinational group with a variety of backgrounds, eagerly wanting to learn new skills? Especially when you get to be the course participant for a change.

I had a dual aim when I recently participated in the Gender Perspective in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy Course, organised by FBA under the auspices of the European Security and Defence College. Besides learning new gender mainstreaming skills, I also wanted to do some corporate espionage as FBA is known for its cutting edge pedagogical approach to adult training. I hoped that I could pick up a few things to use in my daily work as training specialist at the Crisis Management Centre Finland.

The three-day course, led by a team of experts from FBA in Sweden and the European External Action Service, had a very practical approach where the learner was at the centre of the training. Not only was the historical and contemporary international framework on women, peace and security presented, but also put into practice by the participants with multiple different assignments.

As Charlotta Isaksson, the principal gender adviser of the European External Action Service, aptly pointed to the participants: “We need to improve the implementation of the EU policy framework for gender mainstreaming.”

Well trained experts are a prerequisite for implementing policy in the field. Ultimately, we are all responsible for gender mainstreaming in our daily work. In order to achieve this, we do not only need solid understanding of the policy, but also concrete tools for implementing it.

And the course did deliver this. For example, after the course we were able to perform a gender analysis, which is the most important tool for gender mainstreaming in international peace and crisis management missions.

After taking the course, I have updated some of the training methods and the pedagogical approach that I use in my own work. And I have reviewed the content of the trainings that I am responsible for, to make sure that the content is gender responsive. As I have now realised, gender consciousness is a competence.