Mogadishu, 9 March 2018 – Female peacekeepers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) yesterday marked the International Women’s Day with a call on governments to enlist more women in peacekeeping missions.
The women drawn from all the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (TCCs) and Somali national security institutions, gathered in Mogadishu to take stock of their contribution to peace in Somalia, Africa and the world and also press for the deployment of more women in peacekeeping missions.
Wearing red, white and blue t-shirts with the imprinted words ‘women in peacekeeping; 50/50 by 2030’, the peacekeepers kicked off the daylong activities with a march to celebrate the positive contribution being made by women to global peace and conflict resolution.
The march culminated in a conference on leadership, which focused on this year’s campaign theme, ‘press for progress’ that seeks to commit the world to a gender equality mindset.
The conference was attended by AMISOM’s senior leadership among them the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo; the AMISOM Deputy Force Commander In Charge of Operations and Plans, Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai, and the Acting Police Commissioner, Daniel Ali Gwambal.
Also present were Somali National Army representatives and keynote speakers Brig. Gen. Gertrude Bili Mwale, a Defence Advisor accredited to the African Union and Dr. Ngaite Nkomo Mgeni, an international consultant on leadership.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Mulongo lauded the women for their invaluable contribution to the Mission and reiterated AMISOMs commitment to ensure gender parity.
“In AMISOM, as the African Union we do not only recognise the potential of a woman but will make sure that the woman is given space to practice and exercise her fundamental aptitude to contribute to peacemaking and peacebuilding,” he stated.
The DSRCC called for greater participation of women in peacekeeping missions and appealed to all the Troop and Police Contributing Countries to take into consideration gender parity while sending personnel to serve in the Mission.
“I want to use this chance to encourage the Troop Contributing Countries to ensure that they tend towards the gender parity when they are sending forces- both the police and the military to the mission in Somalia,” Mr. Mulongo said.
On the fight against Al-Shabaab, the DSRCC called for closer working relations between female and male peacekeepers to enable the Mission achieve its mandate of eradicating terrorism in Somalia.
“You make us proud. Women in AMISOM, women in national security services like the Somali National Army, NISA (National Intelligence and Security Agency), the Somali National Police and those serving in the federal states armed forces, you make us proud,” Mr. Mulongo added.
Brigadier General Mwale noted that there is need to eradicate vices and practices that disenfranchise women and called for greater inclusion of women in decision making process.
“There is need to include and embrace more women in decision making processes, than we are currently,” observed the Brigadier General. “If there is more inclusion, then it will contribute to the elimination of inequalities that have relegated women to the back seat.”