They may be small in number, but their task is huge.
Young graduates of Moyadishu National Police Academy will be deploying to support African Union troops. These courageous women fight terrorism in Africa.
Fatima Abdi Mohamed, 24, is one of the six graduating women entering Somalia’s emerging national police force. She is the first woman in her family to wear the uniform.
You may wonder why these young women are doing this. For most of their lives, Somalia has been in the middle of war. Over the last two years there has been opportunity for women to publicly participate in rebuilding their country.
They realize that in order to foster real change in their country, it’s going to take young, educated women to understand and establish the laws. Somalia’s police force is about 7,000 strong with 10 percent being women. The force recently recruited its first two female SWAT members which would have been unheard of just a short time ago.
Lt. Col. Zakia Hussen mentors the women during their months of training. Hussen is from the Somalia diaspora and holds three degrees, including a master’s in international relations. Her high rank earns her respect in a male-dominated society at only 32 years old.
“Women are the backbone of the Somali society. They are also better in community relations and management skills than the males. The Somali Police Force is in desperate need of such skills,” she says. These courageous women oversee neighborhood checkpoints and are frequently targets of attacks.
Samira Nuredin, 19, was born in Norway, came to Somalia for school and to join the police force. “I came back here because it’s my motherland,” she says. After 25 years of enduring the civil war, the city remains littered with destroyed buildings and attacks by militants.
However, resilience is in the midst due to their ability to rebuild and reclaim a sense of normal. Lt. Col Hussen says the majority of women in Somalia’s police force are educated, married and have children. Women will be able to serve and raise their families too. She finds that women who are mothers tend to be more dedicated and focused to their work. Their dedication and loyalty to their country is inspiring.