As a technical assistant to the Ministry of Gender in Liberia, Paavani Reddy discusses her key task of mainstreaming gender-based policies in the national security sector. She explains the challenges in increasing the number of women in the security sector and in making the services offered more gender friendly, which included limited capacity in terms of personnel and resources. Reddy describes the national police’s Accelerated Learning Program for women who were unable to complete their high school education; the program aimed to raise the number of female police by enabling them to meet the application requirements for recruitment. Also, she discusses violence against women, particularly rape and the need for the police to focus more on crime prevention through community policing. She highlights the significance of establishing a civilian oversight body that deals with both the army and the police to ensure that they are more gender sensitive.
At the time of this interview, Paavani Reddy was working as a civil society officer for the United Nations Development Programme, seconded to the Ministry of Gender of the government of Liberia as a technical assistant on policies. Her duties entailed mainstreaming gender-based policies in the national security sector and implementing the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Previously, she worked for CARE International (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc.) in Rwanda in 2005 and in New York in 2004.