Experiences and challenges of military personnel in pursuing peace and conflict studies: a study of Zambia army.

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Sitali, John Sitali
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The University of Zambia
This study sought to establish the experiences and challenges of the military personnel in pursuing peace and conflict studies by the Zambia Army. The study, was guided by the following objectives: establish the number of military personnel pursuing Peace and Conflict Studies in Zambia Army; determine the relevance of Peace and Conflict Studies to military personnel; establish the experiences of military personnel in pursuing Peace and Conflict Studies; establish the challenges faced by military personnel in pursuing Peace and Conflict Studies and suggest alternative strategies aimed at addressing challenges that military personnel face in trying to pursue Peace and Conflict Studies. A qualitative research approach using a descriptive phenomenological research design was used to conduct the study. The study targeted military officers from Military Training Establishment of Zambia (MILTEZ), Arakan, Mikango and Chindwin barracks. The participants for the study sample were 40 and these included: Commandant Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC), the Chief of Training, the Chief of Operations and the Commandant of the Peacekeeping Mission Training Centre (PMTC), by virtue of their positions. On the other hand, convenience sampling was used to select the sample for the study. The study established that few military personnel were pursuing peace and conflict studies in the Zambia army. It was also established that peace and conflict studies helped the military personnel to handle peace and security matters of the nation professionally, helped the officers to manage and resolve national, regional and international conflicts and also help the officers to remain current in knowledge and skills. On the experiences of the officers in pursuing peace and conflict studies, it was established that the officers found it interesting and easy to pursue such a programme despite the challenges of securing study leave and inadequate financial resources for undertaking of the programme. Based on these findings, the study concludes that peace and conflict studies are relevant to the military personnel because the knowledge and skills acquired from these studies help them to perform their duties professionally during management and conflict resolutions at national, regional and international arenas. In view of the above findings and the conclusion drawn, the researcher made the following recommendations: The Government of Republic of Zambia (GRZ) through the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to ensure that study leave is made available to deserving officers so as to increase the chances of the military officers pursuing peace and conflict studies; the M.O.D to ensure that officers who are granted study leave to pursue peace and conflict studies are elevated in rank upon completion so as to motivate them and also encourage others to undertake similar studies; the M.O.D to introduce education loans at lower interest rate to officers under taking a course of study in peace studies to facilitate payments of tuition fees by the officers under taking the studies and finally, the MOD to ensure that the curriculum for the military personnel training is revised to include the component of peace and conflict studies at all levels of training so as to help each and every military personnel acquire the knowledge and skills in peace and conflict management and resolution.
Military personnel--Peace and stability. , Zambia army.