State minister for foreign affairs Okello Oryem addresses the congregation during the graduation of 39 army and police women officers from 17 countries at the United Nationals Signals Academy Entebbe on March 17, 2017. Photos by Tony Rujuta.
Government through the ministry of Foreign Affairs has promised to avail more land to the UN Regional Service Centre (RSCE) in Entebbe for expansion.
The minister of state for foreign affairs Okello Oryem said the land will enable UN to expand the United Nations Signals Academy (UNSA), part of UN base for peacekeepers in and out of Africa.
“Government is ready to avail more land and facilitate the expansion of RSCE as UN Continues to provide support to peacekeeping missions,” Oryem said.
He made the statement in Entebbe on Friday during the awarding ceremony of 39 female peacekeepers with certificates in Women’s Outreach Course and ICT Skills in communication technology.
He added, “Uganda as the host nation will benefit since our security organizations will be trained here in different skills to beef up our security.”
RSCE was established in July 2010 by UN General Assembly resolution with an aim to provide efficient, scalable and client-oriented services for UN peacekeeping missions in East and Central Africa making it the biggest on the continent.
Since its inception, RSCE handles more than 7,000 trainees and conference participants each year for missions in Africa and the world.
He also expressed government commitment in extending security personnel to peacekeeping missions and willingness to have more partnerships with UN in regard to security.
The state minister for defense and veteran affairs Bright Rwamirama, extended government appreciation to UN for entrusting Uganda on security stability in the region
He added that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) will increase women participation in the peacekeeping missions in Africa.
Uganda provides the biggest contingent of soldiers to the AU force in Somalia with 6223 troops and Rwamirama estimated that about 30% of UPDF peacekeepers are female.
“Our security forces are disciplined while on peacekeeping missions and this explains why Uganda is a backbone of security and stability in the great lakes region.”
He backed Oryem on offering land for RSCE expansion adding that Uganda will be the beneficiary through providing accommodation facilities to peacekeepers while on training.
“As an economy we will benefit, peacekeepers will be accommodated in our hotels and this brings business to investments in the country,” he siad.
The UN resident coordinator in Uganda Rosa Malango extended her gratitude to Uganda as the lead host of refugees in Africa and second in the world.
“Uganda has been welcoming to refugees. Government allows them to work, send their children to school, and provide health facilities. We have to say thank to the Uganda government,” she noted.
The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) indicate that Uganda is hosting about 1 million asylum seekers majorly from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Somalia.
Malango is certain that the skills in communication technology attained by women will increase their appointment in peacekeeping forces.
The two weeks training was intended to avail skills in Information Communication Technology (ICT) for female security officers deployed in peacekeeping missions in war tone areas.
39 officers from 17 countries worldwide were awarded certificates of excellence and will spread the skills attained in the training to their counter parts in missions.
Lorna Mukhaye, a signaler with UPDF in Somalia noted she acquired skills in sending clear signals using the latest military technology.
Vistorina Nicodemus an IT specialist from Namibian Police Force explained that she is ready to take on assignments in IT systems that were dominated by men while on mission.
“Initially women were not given opportunities like men regarding military technology and I can now handle these positions,” she explained.