TAKING UNITED NATIONS MILITARY OBSERVERS TRAINING ONLINE

JLO subject matter experts (SMEs) delivered three United Nations Military Observers (UNMO) courses this summer in Nepal, Indonesia, and Vietnam in partnership with the Birendra Peace Operations Training Centre (BPOTC), the Indonesian Armed Forces Peacekeeping Center (PMPP TNI), and the Vietnam Peacekeeping Center Department of Peacekeeping Operations (VNDPKO).


Travel restrictions due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continue to highlight the need to deliver online trainings, and where possible, leverage JLO’s global network of SMEs living in partner countries to assist on-site and ensure impactful training.

The conversion of the UNMO course to a hybrid distance learning format is a considerable task. In addition to two weeks of academic coursework, the UNMO features a four-day Field Training Exercise (FTX) where participants are exposed to realistic mission scenarios including human rights violations, conflict-related sexual violence, violation of children’s rights, protection of civilians, humanitarian issues, and mines /UXO/ERW/IED, among others. These scenarios allow participants to practice key UNMO skills, such as patrolling, navigation, observation and reporting, liaison, negotiation, investigations, verifications, community engagement, and information collection.


As in a UN mission, the operational environment was varied and JLO SMEs adapted the distance learning setup and execution of the FTX for each of the three training centers. All exercises were comprised of one UNMO Sector HQ and two UNMO Team Sites. Participants used patrol vehicles, radio, and mobile devices to carry out exercise tasks and communications with UNMO Sector HQ, Team Sites, and patrols. External SMEs mentored participants via Zoom links to UNMO Sector HQ and Team sites and communicated with exercise control via separate controller Zoom links and WhatsApp.

In Vietnam, VNDPKO facilitated Zoom on mobile tablets enabling online SMEs to observe patrols and incident handling.


A detailed controller system for instruction and observation was implemented in consultation with host nation FTX controllers to capture UNMO behavior and provide accurate daily feedback to participants.


Our SMEs, both on the ground and online, worked closely with the staff at each training center to design and set up the IT infrastructure to support these events, including camera and audio equipment in the classroom and virtual syndicate rooms.