Related Tools

Deliver training to be sustainable over the long-term

Last edited: December 29, 2011

This content is available in

  • Institutionalize training: Ongoing opportunities for learning are essential to effectively increase knowledge, improve attitudes and skills, and strengthened capacities over time. One off-training is insufficient to adequately prepare personnel to respond appropriately to survivors (Population Council, 2010; United Nations, 2006; Bott, Morrison and Ellsberg, 2005). In addition to its importance for advancing individual learning outcomes, institutionalizing training:

  • Sends a signal that the whole institution is intent on addressing violence against women as part of its wider mandate.

  • Allows coordination of different training courses, providers and materials, reducing duplication and building on best-practice and the evidence base.

  • Is usually more cost-effective (by reducing the number of resource-intensive start-up costs associated with individual training initiatives).

  • Follows the organizational structure of the army or police force, allowing for the systematic rolling-out and updating of training to in-service personnel.

  • Provides the whole unit with a common language on the issue.

  • Ensures continuity of skilled personnel over the longer-term as donors and international organizations withdraw or change their areas of support.

  • Among the benefits of training intact units/platoons (across ranks) rather than providing specialized training for a few individuals, group training helps to normalize the issue, which can support continued opportunities for discussion between personnel. 

  • Components of an integrated and institutionalized approach to training include:

    • Basic training on gender equality, women’s human rights, violence against women and key institutional policies, which is integrated into the training curricula and provided to all new recruits via a police or military training academy.

    • Provision of basic training programmes to both civilian staff as well as security personnel of all ranks and levels, with leaders attending alongside other personnel.

    • Managerial support and (where possible), direct funding for training programmes by the operational command (i.e. the individual units or institutions where personnel work).

    • Regular in-service training and refresher training opportunities to all active personnel (as part of annual professional development or continuing education requirements).

  • In many cases, the success of initial training courses on violence against women delivered by external organizations with the involvement of the police and military leadership can provide the momentum for longer-term institutionalization of training.


Example:  Gender sensitization of the Delhi Police (India)

On International Women’s Day in March 2003, in partnership with the World Bank and the Coalition for Rural Empowerment consortium of NGOs, the Delhi police (India) launched the first of 114 gender sensitization workshops held over the year for 124 police stations, involving 6,000 police personnel. The programme was designed to respond to the lack of awareness among police of the relevant laws concerning women’s rights and to determine how to better address the high levels of crime against women in the city, including domestic violence.

Gender experts, NGO workers, women’s activists, judicial officials and senior police officers provided training on a range of topics, including gender and HIV and AIDS. The training location at the Sudinalay Rehabilitation Shelter Home for Women and Children, where the Coalition for Rural Empowerment operates, provided an opportunity for the participating police personnel to learn first-hand from survivors the impact of violence upon their lives. Observers from other state police forces attended the training, with the intention of implementing similar programmes in their own states. As a result of the initiative, the Delhi police have since incorporated a major gender sensitization module into the regular training course for police personnel at the Delhi Police Training Academy.

Source: World Bank. 2005. ‘The World Bank and the Beijing Platform for Action’. World Bank. Washington, D.C.


  • Engage police and military institutions, leaders and trainers from the onset. One of the key challenges to sustaining achievements related to attitudes and practices is ensuring the coordination of different training courses. In many countries, there has been a proliferation of one-off trainings, provided by different organizations, often with a significant overlap and duplication of training resources. Many of these courses are not repeated for new recruits or when staff move posts, which is necessary to maintain standard levels of knowledge and skills among personnel. Securing engagement from the police or military leadership (e.g. Ministry of Defense or Interior, Chief of Police, etc.) from the planning and design through the implementation of training programmes can help to establish a system-wide and streamlined approach to training on the issue with security personnel. It is also useful to have trainers from police or military academies involved in providing and coordinating such training, which can help increase the level of engagement and acceptance of the topic amongst personnel.

  • Determine the appropriate mix of standalone training courses and modules integrated into a broader mandatory training curriculum. While it is important to integrate training on fundamental concepts such as gender, women’s rights and definitions of violence against women into a wider syllabus, it is also critical to deliver dedicated training courses to particular police or military units or in-service staff without basic training, which may be more appropriate in relation to response protocols for domestic or sexual violence; investigation techniques, interviewing techniques, etc.). See also training content section. A combination of approaches is likely to be most successful and has numerous advantages:

    • It presents gender-based violence as an integral part of the duties of security personnel which can increase its legitimacy, rather than being seen as a separate issue.

    • It encourages all personnel to understand how addressing the issue can be incorporated into their day-to-day work, while ensuring specialized staff receive the technical skills needed to appropriately respond.

    • It maximizes limited resources and is more efficient by establishing a standard-level of awareness and response capacity among all personnel. Standardized training can help to focus investments in isolated training courses (which require more human and financial resources) on technical skills for dedicated personnel or units rather than for advancing wide-scale sensitization needed by all personnel.

    • It ensures that a wider range of security sector staff receive violence against women training, which can help mainstream efforts to address the issue, which is often marginalized when specific training is only provided to those working in police desks/family protection units.  

  • Promote partnerships involving local and international expertise to develop and deliver training: In many countries, the first training of the police and military on addressing violence against women may be provided and financed by an external organization/ individual – most typically an international donor (as part of wider support to the sector) or non-governmental organization. Within this context, and where an international partner is engaged, involving a local partner is usually most effective to establish a foundation for local ownership and leadership on the issue. Local organizations have expertise in the socio-cultural and political context and may better understand the relationships between actors; which can help to highlight specific challenges and showcase relevant practical examples from the wider community. International experts may offer a global perspective, bringing expertise from various contexts and may be able to raise sensitive subjects more easily than local experts (especially where violence has been perpetrated by security personnel).

  • Invest in training development programmes and use a training of trainers approach. It is important to strengthen the capacities of local and national-level trainers to deliver effective training across the sector over time. The training of trainers approach is particularly valuable to develop internal awareness and skills of security institutions rapidly in situations of low capacity approach can be implemented alongside the delivery of the training curriculum to the wider group of personnel.

Example: International Association of Chiefs of Police Trainer Development Programme

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Trainer Development Programme on violence against women provides the opportunity for trainers to strengthen their core training skills, incorporate experiential learning into instruction, manage group dynamics and practice problem-solving with the following key components:

1. Effectively Reaching a Law Enforcement Audience: Trainers need skills to develop their own law enforcement presentations as well as evaluate the effectiveness of the training they deliver. The Program enables trainers to:

  • Identify the needs and learning styles of audiences and adjust training accordingly

  • Incorporate adult learning principles into educational presentations

  • Utilize technology to conduct self-evaluations and receive feedback on presentations

  • Design an evaluation form to assess aspects of training delivery and participant performance that can help improve future presentations

2. Experience as a Teaching Tool: In order to learn effectively, adults must be able to apply their learned knowledge in practical, hands-on ways that reflect the realities of their work experience. Trainers will be shown how to best engage learners by:

  • Incorporating learning exercises into training events

  • Finding innovative methods of engaging participants

  • Selecting appropriate forms of experiential and hands-on learning exercises

3. Classroom Management: Instructors must have the ability to actively and effectively engage audiences in the educational process. The Program improves trainer capacity to:

  • Facilitate small and large group discussions

  • Manage time efficiently

  • Recognize and respond to verbal and nonverbal communications

  • Identify cultural differences and overcome stereotypes or personal biases

  • Deal with challenging individuals and group dynamics

4. Technology and Training Tips: The knowledge and correct use of technology has become an increasingly important element of effective training. Utilizing technology properly, along with other strategies to increase the impact of trainings, is key to a successful presentation. Trainers learn to:

  • Identify various types of equipment that can enhance a presentation

  • Design and employ visual aids in the classroom effectively

  • Understand the benefits and drawbacks of using various modes of technology

  • Troubleshoot and overcome technology mishaps

  • Identify “Ten Trainer Pitfalls” and learn how to avoid them

  • Develop concrete strategies for improving their training style and delivery, and classroom management

5. Organization and Preparation Critical to effective instruction, a successful trainer must possess the ability to design and utilize practical educational tools for the classroom. Trainers learn to:

  • Assess agency or audience needs to develop appropriate learning objectives

  • Develop realistic goals, learning objectives, and lesson plans for topic-specific trainings

  • Determine course content and structure course layout

  • Identify and incorporate useful instructional tools and resources

  • Evaluate and enhance curriculum, handouts, and training agendas

  • Manage training logistics, including pre-event planning and consultant contracts

Excerpt: IACP. National trainer development program on violence against women.

  • Provide refresher training at regular intervals so that all in-service personnel are trained (not just new recruits) and their knowledge is updated through the course of their career and professional growth. One approach is to split training into modules / levels that can be completed over time.

Example: Phased training in the occupied Palestinian territories

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as part of a holistic multisectoral programme to address violence against women, UN Women (initially through UNIFEM) and the non-governmental organization SAWA (which runs a hotline) have developed a phased training for the police, working collaboratively with the Ministry of Interior (including, by conducting workshops on violence against women and girls for the Ministry).

The training was developed following a collaborative process of analysis to understand the context and challenges to addressing the issue, which highlighted a variety of factors which prevented women from seeking the protection of police, including:

  • negative attitudes and treatment of survivors by security and judicial personnel;

  • social norms which prioritized family unity and protection, which discouraged survivors to speak out against perpetrators within the family;

  • strong role of the extended family and clans in informal justice and protection matters, which challenged women’s ability to seek external support; and

  • lack of specifically-trained police officers to receive and respond to cases of violence, which contributed to inappropriate case assessments and response measures which were disrespectful of women’s rights and needs.

These factors affected women’s trust and perception of the potential protection they could receive from police. In 2008 and 2009, training on violence against women (levels 1 and 2) was conducted for 85 security officers - including police– belonging to various security forces. The training was structured into levels which aimed to provide police with a gradual, more in-depth understanding of the issue and enhanced ability to deal with cases. Specialized SAWA anti-violence helpline staff delivered the training, which strengthened cooperation and coordination between police, security officials and the helpline.

The training supports are complemented by efforts, provided in response to requests from the officials themselves, to strengthen the operational capacity and effectiveness of family protection units and other security actors, through strategic planning, development of protocols and other guidance for dealing with cases of violence against women. This evolution of capacity supports demonstrates the value of the relational and gradual approach to training undertaken over several years.

Source: Communication with UN Women staff in the occupied Palestinian territory. 2011.