Uruguay and the drive towards women’s involvement in peacekeeping operations


380 surveys

personnel across the country.

The Elsie Initiative, was launched at the end of 2017 with the purpose of increasing women’s involvement in UN peacekeeping operations. The initiative was led by the Government of Canada and supported by countries that made up a Contact Group, which includes two Latin American countries: Argentina and Uruguay.


The initiative comprises various components, namely:

- A global fund to support the countries willing to deploy a larger number of women in peace operations. This fund made a first call in 2019 and plans to make a second call by September 2020.


- A comprehensive assessment of the barriers to the deployment of women in uniform. Such work was entrusted to the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, which prepared a base study with the aim to identify the main reasons explaining the limited participation of women in UN peacekeeping operations. Based on such base study, in collaboration with Cornell University, in 2019 DCAF developed the “Measuring Opportunities for Women in Peace Operations” (MOWIP) Barrier Assessment Methodology to measure the opportunities of women in peace operations (MOWIP), suggesting eight case studies to apply this methodology of evaluation: Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordania, Mongolia, Noruega, Senegal, Zambia, y Uruguay.


Uruguay, one of the first four countries to the implement the study in the world

Uruguay, a country with a long tradition of involvement in peace missions and a significant troop contribution, is the only Latin American country so far represented in the study, and one of the four countries in the world that completed the data collection by mid 2020 and entered the analysis phase, estimated to be completed in July this year. It will also be the only case of those participating in the study that has surveyed both the military as well as the police institutions.

To carry out the study, DCAF selected a local partner to apply the methodology. In the case of Uruguay, RESDAL was the implementing organization. Several institutions from the Uruguayan State provided their support to enable the conduct of the survey, mainly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs -through the Directorate of Multilateral Affairs and the Uruguayan Embassy in Canada; the Ministry of Defense, the National Navy, the National Army, the Uruguayan Air Force and the SINOMAPA; and the Ministry of the Interior, through the National Police.

The work was launched in March 2019 and the following surveys were completed as of May 2020:

384 surveys

to police personnel  at the detachments of Canelones, Cerro Largo, National Directorate of Police Training (Dirección Nacional de Enseñanza Policial), Republican Guard (Guardia Republicana), Maldonado, Montevideo (including personnel of the High Operating Dedication Police, PADO), Paysandu and San José.

Group of surveyors at Montevideo Operational Zone V.

Surveys to the National Army at the Military School in Toledo, Canelones.

Survey conducted at the Infantry Batallion 8 – Paysandú – National Army.

Surveys at the Cavalry Battallion 3 – Cerro Largo – National Army.

Surveys at the Third Reserve of the National Army.

Surveys at the Air Force, II Air Brigade, Durazno.

Surveys at the Navy, Salto Port Coast Guard (Prefectura).

In the case of the National Police, the National Police School provided its facilities to survey the personnel stationed close to the area; the Republican Guard and the PADO personnel were surveyed in their facilities of Montevideo, and in the case of Department Head Offices, (Jefaturas Departamentales), at their headquarters. The Police School also approved the participation of four cadets (students) to join the team of surveyors coordinated by RESDAL.


The three armed forces also allowed the personnel deployed in Congo to be interviewed. Thus, a cohort of 30 men and women was interviewed via Skype or WhatsApp, even during the COVID-19 emergency.

The surveys were conducted at military or police facilities, depending on the case, where the officers in charge facilitated their use and generously organized the schedules so that the personnel could have time to complete the survey (between one and two hours, depending on whether the person had taken part in a peace mission or not).

Thus, in the case of the Armed Forces, surveyors were welcomed at: the General Navy Command, La Paloma Naval Base (Apostadero Naval La Paloma), Air Naval Base C/C Carlos Curbelo, Coast Guard Units (Prefecturas) of Colonia and Salto, General Army Command, Army Divisions I, II, III and IV, Cavalry Brigade II, Military Institute of Higher Studies (Instituto Militar de Estudios Superiores), Military School, Military Institute of Branches and Specialties (Instituto Militar de Armas y Especialidades), Army General Reserve Command, Logistics Support Command of the Army, General Command of the Air Force, Air Brigades I, II and III, Military Air Force School (Escuela Militar de Aeronáutica), National Directorate of Civil Aviation and Aviation Infrastructure, Coordinating Centers of Peacekeeping Operations of the three armed forces, “Uruguay” Batallion deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and also senior and junior personnel of the Uruguayan Air Force and women officers in Peace Missions in that country.



Group of surveyors at the Escuela Policial de Estudios Superiores e Instituto de Posgrados Universitarios y Estudios Superiores (Police School of Higher Studies and Institute of University Postgraduate and Higher Studies) Crio. Gral (R) Julio C. Guarteche.

Against the backdrop of an election year in 2019, with two electoral processes in the last months of that year, the change in authorities and the impact of Covid-19 during 2020, the support and commitment of the institutions engaged in the study in Uruguay is noteworthy.

Being one of the four countries that implemented a study of this size in a short period of time in spite of the abovementioned circumstances, which included both the military and police forces in the study, the work of Uruguay is internationally recognized as to the women, peace and security agenda. Its success is based on the willingness, energy and uninterested collaboration of the people and institutions of Uruguay that made it possible to conduct more than seven hundred surveys.


RESDAL, also on behalf of DCAF, would like to thank all those who facilitated this process:

- To all military and police personnel who took time from their busy schedules with patience to respond to a survey of these characteristics.

- At the institutional level, we thank most especially the officials, chiefs and assistants who supported the organization. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our special thanks go to Ambassadors Adriana Lissidini and Noelia Martínez, and for his important effort, to Ambassador Martín Vidal in Ottawa, Canada.

We want to express our appreciation for the support provided by Defense Ministers José Bayardi and Javier García, and the Director of Human Resources Ángel Sánchez. In the National Navy, we thank Commander in Chief of the Navy Carlos Abilleira, former Chief of the Joint Staff and current Commander in Chief of the Navy Adm. Jorge Wilson; Chief of Staff of the Uruguayan Coast Guard (Prefectura) Cap. D´Anatro and SOS (ART) Ximena Etcheverry for her assistance. In the National Army, our thanks go to the Commanders in Chief of the National Army, Army General José González, Gen. Claudio Feola and Gen. Gerardo Fregossi, their Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mario Stevenazzi and Gen. Omar Carabajal. Also to the Commanders in Chief of the Uruguayan Air Force, Gen. Luis H. de León, Gen. Hugo Marenco and his Chief of Staff Gen. José Visconti, and the collaboration of May. Wiliams Veistaras. It was also key to receive support from the General Defense Staff Chiefs, Army Gen. Alfredo Erramun, Admiral Fernando Pérez Arana and Army Gen. Marcelo Montaner. We also want to acknowledge the National System of Peacekeeping Support (Sistema Nacional de Apoyo a las Operaciones de Paz), especially Col. Pedro Gómez and Dr. Carina de los Santos, as well as National Peace Operations School (Escuela Nacional de Operaciones de Paz) of Uruguay, in particular Col. Pablo Caubarrere. For the support afforded to carry out the surveys, we thank the personnel deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Col. Álvaro Barrabino and Lt. Col. Gabriel Cabrera.

- We recognize the Ministry of the Interior’s strong support, first by the then Minister Eduardo Bonomi, the Director of the National Police Gen. Comm. (R) Mario Layera, the Director of Police Planning and Strategy - DIPEP – Gen. Comm.(R) Julio del Río and special collaboration of Deputy Commissioner Monica Ferrero Mónica Ferraro (Departament of International Relations and CICAME). We want to thank very specially the National Directorate of Police Education (Dirección Nacional de la Educación Policial) and the Deputy Director of Police Education, Gen. Comm. Belén Camejo, who provided the facilities and the cadets of the National Police School who served as surveyors: Katherine Bortagaray, Victoria Gómez, Sandro Bueno and Carlos Madruga. For Montevideo, our special thanks to General Commissioner César Tourn, then Chief of Operational Zone V and current National Director of the Republican Guard.

All this effort was supported by the DCAF team, especially Daniel De Torres and Callum Watson, and the team from the Cornell University led by Sabrina Karim and Laura Huber.

The team in Uruguay is made up of Rosario Rodríguez, Juan Rial and Carina de los Santos, supported by Marcela Donadio and Samanta Kussrow from the Executive Secretariat of RESDAL. The survey oversight was under the responsibility of Rodriguez jointly with the Executive Secretariat.