Just as the summer heat cools, so too have activities at the West Africa Regional Training Center (WARTC) after a busy summer schedule. Since its inception in 2012, approximately 3,399 Law Enforcement professionals have passed through the halls of the WARTC. An important pillar of the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI) is to facilitate lasting relationships to buttress the future impact of our programming. For this reason, CTP actively invests in employing Alumni Coordinators to foster connections formed while at the center. One of the outreach tools to facilitate collaboration and information sharing among participants is the Alumni portal found on the WARTC website. Over the past several years, WARTC staff has engaged alumni through daily emails and via a monthly newsletter featured on the West Africa Regional Training Center website (www.westafricartc.org), which has paid great dividends for the program. We are elated to hear stories of cross border collaboration leading to successful investigations and the resolution of cases, as a result of connections made while at the WARTC. We would like to highlight the invaluable contributions of one WARTC staffer, Ms. Sarah Dadson who recently departed to pursue a master’s degree at New York University. Sarah kept alumni activities up and running during a staffing gap and her contributions were key in helping to double the staff handling alumni coordination activities. We wish her the very best in her future endeavors and hope our paths may cross again.
One example of the impact of the WARTC program comes from the Republic of Ghana Immigration Service. For August’s newsletter, the RTC Alumni team showcased the successes of Madam Amo-Richmond, who is a Deputy Superintendent of Immigration of a Republic of Ghana Immigration office. She is a recent graduate of a Trafficking in Persons course held at the WARTC. Madam Amo-Richmond embarked on a three year project in 2014 to tackle the trafficking of children from a local Ghanaian municipality. Through surveys, Madam Amo-Richmond and her team identified 15 local communities specifically impacted by high levels of trafficking and began a public awareness campaign to educate communities on the dangers of trafficking. The team conducted door-to-door campaigns covering approximately 300 households, radio and television broadcasts, a free national health insurance registration initiative, and evening community meetings hosting over 1000 community leaders to discuss the topic of trafficking and its impact on their neighborhoods. Additionally, there were capacity building workshops targeted at churches, community centers, security officers, assembly members, opinion leaders, reverend ministers, pastors, other members of the clergy as well as community health practitioners. Through this effort, Madam Amo-Richmond’s team have made arrests of some alleged traffickers and turned them over for prosecution.
Here are just a few quotes submitted by participants via the RTC Alumni portal. For security and privacy, we will list them anonymously.
“The training is very timely. It has sharpened and enhanced my investigative skills. I suggest that other colleagues who have not had the opportunity to sit in courses at the RTC should be given the privilege. I urge all participants who sit in trainings at the RTC to make very good use of the skills that they acquire for the benefit of their agencies. This will go a long way to compliment the efforts of law enforcement officers in fighting crimes of all kinds.”
“The training has actually built my capacity in my field of work. I will therefore be proactive in assisting the police and immigration officers in identifying cases related to trafficking in persons. I will also do my best to refer all cases to the Attorney General’s Department for prosecution. I want to appeal to your institution (RTC) to organize periodic workshops of this kind for the security agencies.”
“As soon as we arrived in Cote d’Ivoire, we presented a report about our RTC training to our superiors. Given the quality of the report we presented, our authorities decided to organize a restitution session on the workshop we attended at the RTC. This session was also a form of training for our colleagues and it took place in the conference hall of our organization. Apart from the Director and his two deputies, the meeting was also attended by about ten police commissioners and about thirty police officers. At the end of the session, we received words of commendation from all the participants including our three Directors. Furthermore, the idea of knowing that after participating in a workshop and upon one’s return, it will simply not be a matter of just writing and depositing a report but that it will be followed by a session in the presence of our bosses and colleagues, is a source of motivation for us to follow the training with keen attention. ‘Failure is an orphan but victory has many fathers.’ For us, this victory preeminently is yours- you the RTC officials, the various facilitators and trainers due to the quality of teaching you imparted to us. We are grateful to you and we hope that you continue to be there for us so that others will benefit from your knowledge, trainings and guidance just as we have also benefitted. Thank you.”