The IMATC was officially opened in Feb 2005 as a joint military venture between
UK and Kenya. It was based on the previously successful partnership between the
two nations in preparing KENYAN military personnel for deployment on humanitarian
de mining ops in support of the UN (UNMEE/ UNMIS).
The Concept for IMATC was a permanent centre of excellence for training the Regions
military in humanitarian de mining. Although the centre was mandated to provide
training for Eastern African military de miners, it should be noted that the centre
provided training to other military and institutions across the continent of Africa.
It became clear that the centre had greater capacity for training combined with
a desire to make a greater contribution to humanitarian de mining. The focus for
the centre's output was therefore widened to include NGO/ commercial/ IC communities.
Despite this programme of expansion, it was clear that the future success and financial
viability of the centre would remain vulnerable unless it further diversified its
There are a number of predisposing factors why the pursuance of humanitarian de
mining as the sole output of the centre was untenable. Firstly; having trained a
significant proportion of the available EA Mil in HDM there was a case for recognising
market saturation. Secondly; the original intention of attracting external funding
and donor support in order to provide financial endurance and independence never
CASE OF DIVERSIFICATION
In recognition of the above, there was a pressing case for diversifying the output
of the centre to remain relevant and also attract external funding. At the time,
PSTC was limited by resources and facilities, so it was decided to decant its PSO
(T) training and delivery into IMATC. The logic behind this move was that IMATC
had more appropriate facilities to absorb the larger volume of PSO (T) whilst at
the same time freeing up PSTC in order that it could focus on the more appropriate
operational and strategic aspects of PSO.
The desire for KMoD to deliver a disaster response capability led to the formation
of The Disaster Management training Wing. It was recognised from the outset that
this would be a multi-agency response, and therefore the training conducted at IMATC
would reflect the Civ/ Mil spectrum of interest.
The International community were increasingly recognising the significant threat
posed by small arms ammunition and light weapons (SALW). Given that the management,
destruction, disposal of such items had synergies with EOD/ERW it seemed entirely
appropriate that the centre should set up a SALW Cell within the existing de mining/
EOD capability. Thus during 2007/08 the centre transformed from delivering a single
capability to a much larger institution containing three distinct wings; PSO (T),
Disaster Management and EOD/ SALW.
NON CORE ACTIVITIES
From the outset it was important to reduce the financial dependency of IMATC on
the UK budgetary contribution. Therefore, it made sense to set up a number of strategic
alliances (partnerships) IOT leverage IMATC capability and resources. The principle
partners to IMATC are; Cranfield University (CU) and Mine Awareness Trust (MAT).
CU is heavily involved in providing academic support to the UK's Defence Academy,
Shrivenham. They have a global reputation, in particular, the Resilience Centre,
which delivers disaster management training. They were originally co-opted to provide
academic support to the centre's EOD/ de mining capability. These were principally
middle and senior management courses. With the reduced emphasis on EOD/de mining,
the Cranfield relationship evolved into them delivering their own courses/ curriculum
mainly in support of the Sudan Mine Action Programme (MAP), funded by the US State
Dept. Latterly, they have supported the development of the centre's disaster management
programme and are keen to maintain a supporting role in this domain.
MAT is a UK based NGO that was involved from the outset in setting up the Mine Dog
Detection (MDD) facility. They provided an international trainer to support the
Kenyan military dog handlers. Though the MDD facility provided a useful demonstration
and training tool, it never realised the ambition of delivering true MDD operational
capability. The MAT role and focus also changed to one of providing technical instruction
in de mining/EOD that neatly complimented the centre's changing profile.
It is highly desirable that IMATC and any future iteration that succeeds it continues
to foster a relationship with both partners.
The centre has increasingly relied on other external agencies/ institutions to provide
additional income to support core IMATC activity. Organisations such as UNDP and
ICRC tend to be the most prolific users of the centre's facilities.
The justification for continually supporting non-core activities within the centre,
where spare capacity exists, is irrefutable. Most of the institutions that use the
facilities have international credentials, if not global reputations. Firstly, the
IMATC benefits from hosting these institutions by association and reputational enhancement.
Secondly, most of these institutions are able to attract students and funding by
dint of their respective reputations and global reach. Finally, the additional income
that they generate contributes significantly towards offsetting the considerable
running costs of the centre and the delivery of its core activities.
Though change and re-branding can often evoke much sentiment and debate, there were
clear objectives in re-naming IMATC. The principal objective was to ensure that
the future name would accurately reflect the projected future output of the IMATC
successor. Another consideration was how to convey the intellectual subordination
between the proposed tactical training centre in Embakasi and the proposed academy
in Karen. It was also deemed appropriate to somehow preserve the IMATC de-mining
legacy without detracting from the future focus of PSO (T). It was also important
to capture the spectrum of humanitarian activity that the new centre would conceptually
deliver. Though strictly not an objective, it was considered desirable to ensure
that the name was short, manageable and easily pronounceable/ memorable. Out of
these considerations was born the recommended title The Humanitarian and Peace Support
Having made the logical case for diversification as described in paragraph 5.2,
it is strongly recommended that the output of the future HPSS is divided between
the following capabilities; PSO (T), DM and EOD/ SALW. Each of these capabilities
will form an independent Wing. Therefore there will be a continuation of the current
de-mining/EOD output, but on a much reduced scale. SALW will be incorporated into
this existing capability. This will be further complimented by a DM capability as
well as well as absorbing the transfer of PSO (T) from PSTC. Due to the increase
in the new centre's output, it will be necessary to enhance current training support
The HPSS School is organized into the following Wings:
- Pre-deployment Wing - This includes training of the UN/AU police, MILOBS and the
- Mine Action and Disarmament Wing - This includes Humanitarian Deming Training on
Mines/UXO, Explosives Ordinance Disposal, and small arms and light weapons.
- Disaster Management Training Wing - It provides operational and tactical levels
of disaster management and response training to military and inter-agency response
units and organizations within East Africa.