Egyptian Female U.N. Peacekeeper Awarded a Medal for Her Work in Congo
On Monday, in an honoring ceremony, the Force Commander of the United Nations Organization for Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo Lieutenant-General Elias Rodrigues Martins Filho presented Egyptian Peacekeeper, Nahed Salah, with the United Nations Medal in recognition of her efforts.
The ceremony, which was held at the mission’s headquarters at the city of Goma, saw Salah being honored along with additional 51 military personnel from all over the globe, according to an official press release by the U.N. Information Center in Cairo.
In 2014, Nahed Salah was the first Egyptian woman to join the U.N. peacekeeping forces. At that time, she served as the head of the police department of U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in Morrocco. Her main task involved providing assistance to the victims of sexual assault and protecting local women from sexual violence.
Since Salah’s appointment to the U.N. peacekeeping force, the Egyptian minister of interior has increased the number of Egyptian females joining peacekeeping missions. According to a report by Egyptian Streets, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has stated that as of 2018, around 3,000 Egyptians; men and women, served in U.N. missions across troubled areas in Congo, Mali, Central African Republic, and Darfur.
Currently, female peacekeepers form only 4% out of a total of 80,000 U.N. peacekeeping officers. The U.N. is looking forward to increasing this number for the valor that women have shown in the communities they serve. For instance, the U.N. has found that women play a significant role in the prevention of sexual violence during conflict and are more likely to be trusted by the women of the afflicted community.
In addition, in a time of need, female peacekeepers present themselves as role models to young girls of the community, inspiring them to pursue their dreams and aspire for gender equality.
To increase the role of women in the peacekeeping effort, the Female Military Officers Course, funded by the governments of the Netherlands, Norway, Australia, and Finland, has trained 340 women officers and held 10 sessions in India, China, South Africa, as well as Kenya.
“Female military officers and soldiers need to go out, there is a real need, not just to make up the numbers because we stand at 4 percent. There is a need for more women to be on the ground, more women to deal with the victims and the most vulnerable. There is a need for women to walk in the streets unarmed and engage with the locals,” Captain Anaseini Navua Vuniwaqa of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces stated in May 2018 to U.N. Women.