Rwanda: Women Urged to Take Up UN Peacekeeping Jobs

Inspector General Emanuel Gasana briefs female peacekeepers before their departure for Darfur.

The number of women employed by the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions is still low and more women should apply for positions to fill the existing gap.

According to Floresha Berisha, the Human Resource Officer Standing Diversity and Outreach Section at United Nations, women representation in various positions is still low yet the organisation strives for gender equality.

She was speaking on Wednesday during the outreach briefing on UN field careers that seeks to inform Rwandans of opportunities to work with UN and how to apply using its recruitment system (inspira) and practical tips on how to prepare their applications or tests.

The three-day event underway in Kigali targets academia, security enforcers as well as public servants.

In most cases, the applicants who have professional and academic background required by UN for various positions fail to understand the application process to go through to be selected for tests.

"We want to encourage female candidates to apply. Currently, the organisations have a gender gap; for example, in peacekeeping we have 29 per cent women yet our objective is to have fifty-fifty gender party," Berisha said.

The percentage is also low in other areas both in field and non-field positions, she said.

In general, she noted that not many Rwandans are employed by UN secretariat and there is a need for awareness if they are to understand what it requires for qualified candidates to navigate the process and apply for different positions.

'The purpose of this outreach is to raise the awareness about job opportunities to work in UN missions' secretariat including peacekeeping operations, Rwanda is ranked the third country in contributing troops to peacekeeping missions and we believe that raising awareness of job opportunities among the nationals of Rwanda we give them the opportunity to apply for the jobs," Berisha said.

"Informing them about the requirements and about the recruitment process, the organisation aims at having diverse geographically and gender balance and multi-talented workforce, having that in mind we would want to raise awareness among all member states," she added.

The event was organised by the UN in partnership with various ministries such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Rwanda National Police, among others.

Participants welcomed the training saying it would not only help them understand the requirements to apply for UN jobs but also how the organisation operates.

"This is a big opportunity because some of us thought that applying for UN positions is just like it is done for other positions in various institutions, I have understood the process to apply and benefits from working with the UN and hope that I will be able to follow the process to get selected and compete for such positions," said Liliane Uwumutima, a medical student at the University of Rwanda.

"I also understood the gender gap and will make sure that I do all I can to compete so that I fill that gap, this means that women stand more chances than men," she added.

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