Gender Responsive Leaders: Ms. Rovena Voda completed the Gender Coach Programme

Ms. Rovena Voda, Deputy Interior Minister in Albania and Head of SALW Commission was awarded the title of “Pioneer of gender equality” during the 12th SALW Commissions Meeting organized in Tirana, on 22 November 2019, for completing the Gender Coach Programme.

Ms. Rovena Voda joined UNDP SEESAC’s Gender Coach Programme in 2018. Over the course of the Programme, Ms. Voda had several one-on-one sessions with Mr. Dragan Bozanic, UNDP SEESAC Gender and Research Project Officer, discussing a wide range of topics from stereotypes and discrimination, to gender analysis, misuse of firearms in domestic violence and linkages between masculine norms and demand for firearms.

Ms. Voda steered the SALW Commission towards the achievement of significant results in area of gender and SALW, including:

  • Members of SALW Commission were trained on how to practically address the gender aspects of SALW and meaningfully integrate the gender perspective in SALW control legislation and policies;
  • Women are now significantly represented in the SALW Commission and account for 5 out 12 members - an important achievement in a field traditionally dominated by men;
  • Gender responsive measures were integrated in the national action plan developed by Albania, in line with the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap - the region’s most complex SALW control exercise;
  • The lessons learnt during the Gender Coach Programme were shared with policy-makers in South East Europe on key regional cooperation forums from regional to global events.

The Gender Coach Programme in Albania is the third programme completed by the Heads of the SALW Commissions in South East Europe, after Mr. Ermin Pešto, Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mr. Mladen Marković, President of the National SALW Commission in the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro received the title of “Pioneers of gender equality” in November 2018. Supported by the European Union (EU), the Gender Coach Programme was specifically designed for high rank officials, leaders in SALW control, and it aimed at boosting the gender-responsiveness of SALW control institutions and policies by developing competences and fostering commitment among the senior management.


The Gender Coach Programme was implemented in Sweden in 2007 and piloted in the Western Balkans for the first time by SEESAC within the Gender Equality in the Military project. The programme is based on a peer to peer approach, between relevant representatives of institutions, presidents of SALW commissions, and SEESAC’s gender and SALW experts. Confidentiality is one of the Gender Coach Programme’s strongest assets. The programme is also accompanied by long-term consultative support, where SEESAC experts are available to respond on a case-by-case basis to institutions’ needs. SEESAC works under the framework of EU COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2016/2356.