The CCP Women's Professional Development Programme (WPDP)

Following months of meticulous planning, the Women's Network officially launched its first Women's Professional Development Programme (WPDP) for CCP officers in South, Southeast Asia and the Pacific in July 2021. Implemented in partnership with the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, this four-week training offered 58 participants from 11 countries a unique chance to engage with speakers from universities, governments, policy institutes, and law enforcement leaders from around the world. 
 
Guest speakers included Comptroller Christine Stevenson from the New Zealand Customs Service, WCO Deputy Director of Capacity Building Ebenezer Tafili, and Assistant Commissioner Sharon Huey from the Australian Border Force, among others. Drawing on the experience of a wide range of experts, participants benefited from an honest and personalized dialogue on topics directly related to their work and daily challenges. The curriculum centered around four key modules, anchored in the operational work of the customs and law enforcement sectors: (1) Our Leadership Toolkit and Adaptive Mindsets; (2) Enhancing Our Technical Tradecraft; (3) Building Our Customs Network; and (4) Realizing Our Full Potential. Guided by experts, officers learned to identify their personal strengths, recognize their leadership potential, and market their skills for better career advancement, all while gaining knowledge about best practices, changes in the customs landscape and shifting trends in counter-trafficking.
Participants from Fiji in the WPDP.
Participants from Fiji in the WPDP.
At the conclusion of the training, participants tabled a Commitment Statement outlining future actions to be taken to strengthen women’s leadership. A key outcome was to develop and expand professional networks, in line with the course motto: “Together we are stronger”. Many reflected that this course was uniquely successful in that every participant gained a much larger network in counterpart agencies in other countries. The importance of meaningful working relationships, built on genuine trust and understanding, cannot be understated. Participants agreed that this forms the foundation for effective law enforcement cooperation and the timely exchange of intelligence, customs documents and other information. As one participant said, “I learned so much about the importance of collaboration and how to effectively form networks and maintain them.”

The course was extraordinarily well received by the participants, with all stating that the WPDP either met or exceeded their expectations. Remarkably, despite officers being asked to partake in multiple video calls per week and to complete assignments, all while working full-time in their day-to-day law enforcement roles, the participation rate each week was 100%. And the program continues to reap rewards even after its completion. Four weeks following graduation, participants continue to stay in regular contact by hosting "Zoom Cafés". During these gatherings, participants not only keep the bond generated during the WPDP strong but also reinforce their commitment to fostering regional cooperation in the fight against illicit trafficking.

The Women's Network is dedicated to advancing the role of CCP women officers. It is hoped that the success of the Women's Professional Development Programme will open up new and inspiring avenues to continue furthering this goal.