During his visit, Gavin Williamson thanked troops for their work, which ranges from delivering infantry training for partner militaries tackling terrorism, to teaching soldiers how to prevent and respond to sexual violence against women.
In positive meetings with defense ministers across East Africa, he said the UK is a trusted partner, committed to promoting prosperity and helping improve the security of people in vulnerable situations by increasing the participation of women and other non-traditional security actors.
He opened a Security Sector and Gender training course at the British Peace and Security Training center outside Nairobi, where hundreds of personnel from a dozen partner nations will be trained in techniques aimed at preventing and responding to sexual violence against women, men and children in conflict areas.
He discussed the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) – where the UK has built a field hospital for peacekeepers – and how British Aid is helping support voter education, women’s participation, and local conflict resolution.
In Somalia, British troops gave a demonstration of the work being done to train Somali forces against the threat from the insurgent group Al-Shabaab, as well as explaining their contribution to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which aims to maintain peace within the country.
The Defence Secretary met the President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, to discuss the UK’s continued training to tackle gender-based violence and suppressing the Al-Shabaab threat.
Later in Ethiopia, Mr Williamson met UK personnel and representatives of agencies working to combat violence against women, as well as making progress on UK-Ethiopian areas of co-operation in talks with Ethiopia’s Defence Minister Motuma Mekassa.