The important role of women in the prevention of violent extremism and terrorism must not be taken for granted, the Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peace Training Centre (KAIPTC), Major General Richard Addo Gyane has said.
That, he said, was because women were indispensable change agents in preventing violent extremism.
Women, he said, make invaluable contributions to the development of every society, with the domain of peace and security being no exception.
He was speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop last Wednesday in Accra on the theme "the role of women and youth in the prevention and fight against violent extremism in West Africa and the Sahel.
The workshop is being organised by Partners West Africa under their Regional Programme for monitoring women and youth participation in Violence Extremism in ECOWAS and the Sahel Region.
The programme, dubbed "The sentinels of resolutions, women, peace and security and social cohesion, was aimed at contributing to the promotion and protection of the rights of women and the youth.
Participants at the workshop also reviewed the phenomenon of violent extremism in West Africa and discussed the challenges of women’s participation in the fight against violent extremism while recommendations and proposals from the meeting would be compiled as a policy brief.
Major General Gyane said the recent canker of violent extremism in some West African states had become an issue of great concern both at the regional and national levels.
The evolution of violent extremism in West Africa, he said, had presented women as active players and contributors to violent extremism.
The Special Advisor to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, on the Accra Initiative, Major General (Rtd) Francis Adu-Amanfoh, in an address, said women have God-given talents that need to be tapped.
"They are the mothers of the young people who are recruited and trained for the perpetration of violence extremism and terrorism and also the wives of the perpetrators of these criminal activities.
They can dissuade their children and husbands from perpetrating violent extremism and other crimes.
We cannot leave women out in combating violent extremism."
He said the Accra Initiative, spearheaded by the government of Ghana in collaboration with six other countries -Côte D'Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Mali, Burkina and Niger- is an interstate organisation with an aim to address issues of transnational organised crime and violent extremism.
The Regional President of the Peace and Security Network for Women in the ECOWAS Region, Diago Ndiaye, said the organisation was committed to promoting the inclusiveness of women and the youth in efforts to address violent extremism, terrorism and transnational organised crime.