May 20, 2020

Rwandan Peacekeeper: “I Admire the Resilience and Welcoming Spirit of South Sudanese”

Trustworthy and indepth news stories are more important now than ever.
Support our newsroom by MAKING A CONTRIBUTION HERE

29 May is the International Day of UN Peacekeepers – a day to pay tribute to our uniformed and civilian personnel. As international community commemorates the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, Africa Renewal magazine is profiling female peacekeepers and hear them tell their stories in their own words. The current edition’s peacekeeper is from Rwanda.

Jackline Urujeni from Rwanda, serving in South Sudan

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Jackline Urujeni and I am from Rwanda. I’m 39 years old, married with three children. I have been a police officer for 19 years and I’m at the rank of Senior Superintendent.

Where are you based?

I am the Commanding Officer of the Rwandan Formed Police Unit in Juba, South Sudan.

What are your responsibilities in the mission? 

My responsibilities are many. Our Unit consists of 160 police officers, half of whom are women. I manage and supervise their work on a daily basis. I coordinate and schedule confidence building patrols in town and in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) protection sites. At these sites I manage the gates, escort visiting humanitarians and UN personnel, and conduct search operations to confiscate weapons, drugs and other prohibited items in the premises. We also engage in different capacity building and awareness-raising sessions with people sheltering at the protection site, especially women. 

What does your typical day look like?

I start my day at 5.00 am with a 4-km run at least thrice a week. In the office, I chair a daily morning briefing at 7.30 am where we review what has happened over the last 24 hours, discuss and solve problems that may hinder our work, go through the tasks of the day ahead and assign tasks.

I set aside an hour every day, usually between 10.00 am and 11.00 am, to attend to individual officers who want to meet me in person to discuss all sorts of issues, ranging from the professional to the personal.

I spend a lot of time at my desk, but always monitor my radio and listen in on how our activities are proceeding and make decisions when necessary.

How do you spend your free time? 

When I have a bit of spare time, I like to go to the gym or communicate with my family back home. I also socialize with my colleagues and participate in sports, social events, and other recreational games organized to keep our spirits up, to boost morale and mental well-being.

How long have you been a UN peacekeeper, and how did you become one?

I have been here in Juba since June 2019, but before coming to South Sudan I did my first tour of duty as a UN peacekeeper in Darfur during 2016-2017. I had seen a lot of suffering in my own country and I also observed and admired how individuals, not least our national leadership, made a real difference, transformed the country and improved the lives of many people. I was inspired by those actions and decided that I wanted to do my part by doing something meaningful for others. Speaking as a woman, I also want to demonstrate how strong and effective we can be at building peace and unity.

What did your family and friends back home think about your decision to leave your country and work for a UN peacekeeping mission?

When I told my family, they just couldn’t believe it. They were shocked, confused and not at all happy with my decision. It took some convincing to get them on board. I had to tell them “look, many people have done the same thing before me and everything has been okay”. I explained to them that I do see it [going away on a peacekeeping mission] as part of my job, and after some time they began to understand me. Now they are happy and proud of me and what I do.

What are some of the highlights of your service at your current peacekeeping mission?

I like that I can make a tangible difference in people’s lives I’ll give you an example. Shortly after we arrived in June 2019, we were deployed to one of the protection sites and I could tell that there were no ablution units, especially for girls and women. So, my colleagues and I decided to build a pit latrine for them. It is still being used today.

What are three things you like most about the mission and the country?

I admire the resilience and welcoming spirit of the people in South Sudan. Despite going through a very long period of conflict and violence, they are still friendly and manage to stay positive. I love our interactions with the internally displaced women. Feeling how much trust these women have in us is something very special. Many times, they don’t even consider us as police officers – we are more like friends or sisters. In fact, several of them call us “sisters”, and one little boy in there insists on calling me ‘Mommy’. 

What part of your job do you find most challenging, and why?

The biggest challenge is when a fellow peacekeeper is attacked or injured. We are here to do good, so when someone is attacked it puts us in a difficult situation, and it makes me sad. Violence against colleagues is one reason why we (peacekeepers), and maybe females in particular, have to be courageous and involve the people we serve in community engagement activities. If we can connect, we can win their hearts and minds and make everyone understand why we are in South Sudan in general and in the protection sites in particular.

Do you think female peacekeepers serve as role models for the local population?

We play a big role in inspiring girls and women here. Most African countries and cultures are male dominated, with many people, both men and women, thinking that a woman cannot be a police officer, cannot carry heavy gear or handle a gun. Women here have asked me a lot of questions, especially when they understand that I’m the commanding officer of a big group of police officers. They ask me: “How can you be a commander? Don’t you have men in your country?” I notice that girls and women here are gradually becoming aware of their rights to become who they want to be. They understand that girls don’t exist just to get married and have babies. We are opening their eyes to new possibilities, to new choices that they should be allowed to make.

What would you say to women considering a career in peacekeeping?

I always encourage women to become peacekeepers because I can see with my own eyes that we are needed and can make a real difference. There are things in such situations that we can handle that our male colleagues cannot, or will find it harder to do, for example, gaining the trust of vulnerable girls and women. That trust yields useful information, which makes it possible for us to do a better job protecting them and improving their lives.

Text adapted from Africa Renewal

We can't do quality journalism without your support

Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue are declining, The Chronicles remains committed to "Serving Your Right To Know The Truth". Stand with us as we document Rwanda's remarkable journey for you and the future generation. Do you value our journalism? We can't do it without you. Show us with your support by CONTRIBUTING HERE.
Email your news TIPS to or WhatsApp +250788351327.
You can also find us on Signal


  1. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site thus i came to “return the
    favor”.I’m trying to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your

  2. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It’s the little changes that will make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  3. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your blog.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility
    problems? A few of my blog readers have complained about my
    website not working correctly in Explorer but looks
    great in Chrome. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this problem?

  4. It’s awesome to pay a visit this web site and reading the views of all colleagues concerning this article, while I am also eager of getting familiarity.

  5. Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some
    overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!

    Other then that, wonderful blog!

  6. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the
    future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post
    and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or tips.

    Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read even more things about it!

  7. After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me
    when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.
    Perhaps there is a means you are able to remove me from that service?

    Appreciate it!

  8. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you ought
    to publish more on this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but typically folks
    don’t speak about these subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!

  9. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays.

  10. My brother recommended I may like this blog.
    He used to be entirely right. This submit actually made my
    day. You can not consider simply how so much time I had spent for this
    information! Thanks!

  11. Pretty portion of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that
    I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds or even I success you access
    constantly quickly.

  12. May I simply just say what a comfort to find someone who genuinely understands what they’re discussing on the net. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren’t more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

  13. Hi! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look.
    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and
    will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and excellent style
    and design.

  14. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and would
    like to find out where u got this from. thank you

  15. Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog!We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You havedone a marvellous job!

  16. Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  17. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as
    though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting
    videos to your blog when you could be giving us
    something informative to read?

  18. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging
    on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis.
    It will always be exciting to read articles from other authors and practice something from other web sites.

  19. Right here is the perfect website for everyone who would like to find out about
    this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you
    (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a
    fresh spin on a topic which has been written about for ages.
    Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

  20. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d
    certainly donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for
    now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google
    account. I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this
    site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  21. I seriously love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my very own blog and would love
    to know where you got this from or just what the theme is named.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *