When I decided to join the Tanzanian People’s Defense Force in 2010, my parents were completely against it because I was a woman. They believed such a career was unsuitable for a woman, and even my friends expressed some doubts. However, I have demonstrated that it is indeed possible, and now young women come to me for advice on how to follow a similar career path.
I joined the military out of a deep sense of patriotism for my country. I wanted to change the traditional notion that a woman’s role was confined to the household. I also had a deep desire to serve others and contribute to building a safer world.
This dream was finally realized in 2022, when I joined the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic, taking on responsibilities that included patrols, community engagement, and safeguarding civilians.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my peacekeeping missions is the opportunity to interact with local communities. Through these interactions, I’ve been able to inspire women and men to engage in activities promoting peace and economic empowerment. As a gender officer, I raise awareness, advocate for women’s rights, and help establish platforms for their voices to be heard and their needs to be addressed.
Women and children are the most vulnerable in conflict-affected areas, and I have witnessed some of the unimaginable hardships that they face. My mission as a peacekeeper is to prioritize their protection, empower their involvement in peace processes, and provide the support necessary for them to rebuild their lives.
I am committed to creating lasting positive change within communities by forming support groups, promoting women’s leadership and participation in decision-making, and providing broader access to training and seminars. My hope is also that one day, women and men will be able to participate equally in peacekeeping missions.
The inclusion of women is essential because we bring unique perspectives, skills, and experiences to effective and sustainable peacebuilding. However, we must keep ensuring that women receive relevant training and increase opportunities for them to grow. Male peacekeepers also have a crucial role to play here, in advocating for gender equality and supporting women’s participation through mentorship and policy advocacy.
As a woman peacekeeper, I am proud to continue serving my country, to challenge traditional gender roles, and to make a positive impact on the lives of women and children affected by conflict. I am proud that others can look at me and see that it can be done. It is an honor to continue serving communities in this capacity and contributing to building a more inclusive and peaceful world.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.