“We give young girls a goal to aspire to” –Dorothy Nyambe, UNPOL officer
Adviser Dorothy Nyambe leads busy days at UNMISS. Dorothy is Police Coordinator at the mission’s field office in Bor. She and her team of 27 UNPOL officers empower national policing counterparts to ensure that people living in the internally displaced camp next to the UNMISS base here are safe and secure.
“As you know, the UN Protection Site at Bor was re-designated as an IDP camp last year,” says Dorothy. “We are the first team of UNPOL officers building the capacity of our South Sudanese counterparts so that they are able to take the lead in protecting those who are living in the camp.”
Dorothy first wore the Blue Beret in 2001 when she was nominated by her country, Zambia, to serve at the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). “I was CIVPOL or civilian police at Kosovo and the only woman leading a team,” she reveals.
“It was a time of transition for Kosovo and we worked hard to ensure international rule of law standards were adhered to. It was an interesting experience, enriched by the fact that I worked in a multicultural environment,” she adds.
Dorothy believes that much has changed in UN peace operations since she first deployed as a peacekeeper. “The number of women has increased. You see many more civilian, police and military peacekeepers being deployed to deep field missions.”
Why is this significant? “We’re a part of society but too often we, as women, don’t get the opportunity to ensure our voices are heard and considered when governments pass laws. This is especially true in South Sudan where women have been disproportionately affected by the ongoing conflict,” states Dorothy.
“When women and young girls see women peacekeepers, women police officers, they feel instantly at ease. They share their lives with us and their struggles. Most importantly, many young girls want to be like us. We give them a goal to aspire to which is very important. They understand that they can grow up to be a police officer, they can earn money, they can do whatever men can do,” she adds.
When asked what her favorite thing is about being a peacekeeper, Dorothy’s answer is unequivocal: “It is a dual honor. I get to represent my country internationally and serve communities who need our help the most. Being a UN peacekeeper has been the most challenging and the most rewarding experience in my 25 years as a police officer.”