Cognisant of the fact that there are peacekeeping training centres in Africa and in the sub-region, the Government of Rwanda (GoR) established the Rwanda Peace Academy.
The Academy was established with the initial financial support from the Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The GoR also provided, and continues to provide, support in various forms. The project for the establishment of the RPA ended on 31st December 2012 when the training facility and its equipment were officially handed over to the Government of Rwanda.
Currently, the RPA is a member of the Association of Security Sector Reform Education and Training (ASSET). It is also member of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres (IAPTC) as well as the African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA). The East African Community (EAC) has designated the RPA as the sole peacekeeping training institution charged with training of personnel from corrections/prison services of the EAC Partner States in the area of Peace Support Operations (PSO). The RPA is the only peacekeeping training and research centre in Rwanda that offers integrated PSO training.
The RPA equips military, police and civilian personnel, mainly but not limited to the EASF region, with the competences and knowledge required to participate in Peace Support Operations (PSOs) that seek to meet Africa’s present and future complex peace and security challenges.
The Academy contributes to the full operationalization of the EASF and consequently the African Standby Force (ASF) by enhancing sub-regional and regional capacity for conflict prevention, management, resolution and peace building.
The RPA intends to conduct academic studies in future. This strategic plan (2016-2021) sets out key considerations and objectives with the aim of developing the RPA as an institution over the next five years. The strategic plan is a framework for the RPA’s operations including a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) component.
The establishment of the RPA was informed by five factors.
First, while several shortcomings of PSOs can be explained by political issues related to the specific context of the conflict, poor performance of international stabilisation and PSOs can also be explained by a lack of staff with the right skills. The RPA attempts to address this point by focussing on practical elements of peacekeeping and peace building in all its training programmes and by using real world situations and scenarios drawn from current PSOs as the basis for instruction.
Second, in addition to regional and international best practices, Rwanda offers a unique background of experiences to draw from in the area of post-conflict recovery and peace building including practical case studies of home grown solutions. Rwanda’s own experience of liberation war and the Genocide against the Tutsi and ensuing efforts to develop the country provide important contexts for developing training in conflict management and resolution.
Third, the establishment of the RPA was informed by Rwanda’s active and significant contribution to regional and international peacekeeping. Rwanda is the second largest African Troop and Police Contributing Country to the UN peacekeeping operations and the 5th largest globally; more than ever before, Rwanda needs a peacekeeping training and research centre. Moreover, the RPA is the only peacekeeping training institution in the country that offers integrated PSO training.
Fourth, while there are several peacekeeping training centres in other sub-regions, there are only two in Eastern Africa (Kenya and Ethiopia). There is need therefore to expand out the regional PSO training infrastructure in Eastern Africa in order to support a growing eastern African peace and security architecture.
Fifth, while there is peace in Rwanda, it was felt that the Rwanda Peace Academy could contribute to further national peace consolidation through developing a cutting edge peace training and research. There is a strong realization in Rwanda that sustainable development cannot be achieved if there is no peace and security in the country.