The United States provided a four-week training course for 30 Zambian military peacekeepers through the U.S. government’s Global Peace Operations Initiative (USGPOI), which culminated in a graduation ceremony on November 24. The training equipped the Zambian peacekeepers with the skills they needed to significantly advance the UN mission to maintain peace in the Central African Republic.
The graduates of the training program, named “Advanced Training Management/Training Resource Management,” were prepared to conduct future trainings for Zambian peacekeepers and to be skilled teachers and planners. In order to assist Zambia’s dedication to delivering high-quality support for United Nations peacekeeping operations, the USGPOI team has a long history of working there. Instructors for the USGPOI are ex-military, reserve, and non-commissioned officers with knowledge of operations, planning, and training.
To give ZDF soldiers top-notch training, USGPOI teachers collaborate with Zambian Defence Force (ZDF) instructors. The USGPOI team visits Zambia each year to engage with the departing peacekeepers and incorporate their experiences into pre-deployment trainings for the incoming cohorts of Zambian peacekeepers. The Kenneth Kaunda Peace Training Center in Zambia receives annual support and equipment worth more than $4.5 million (76 million kwacha) from the United States.
The US-Zambia relationship through USGPOI had wider impacts in uniting our people, in addition to enhancing the abilities and security of Zambian peacekeepers. For instance, the team leader of the USGPOI team, Colonel (Retired) Mark Drown, also serves as the technical director for the Zambian Army Rugby Team, known as the “Green Buffaloes.” He most recently competed for Zambia as an assistant coach for Andrew Kaminsa at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.