South Sudan: First Person – Women Peacekeepers a ‘Powerful Image for Girls in Remote Villages’

Deputy Inspector Martina de Maria Sandoval Linares, from El Salvador always wanted to help others. Now, working as a UN Police officer, she has found her vocation, far from home in South Sudan. Ms. Linares, whose eight-year-old daughter and family are back in El Salvador, told UN News why the job is so rewarding, despite the sacrifices she makes.

“This is my first posting with the UN Police Force, known as UNPOL. I arrived in South Sudan in December 2019 to work in the UN peacekeeping mission, UNMISS.

I am part of the assessment team office, collecting and analyzing information on any serious incidents that take place in the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp in Juba, the country’s capital. We are here to protect them and ensure that the security situation within the camp remains stable.

I think the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge we are facing. When the virus first spread in South Sudan, there was limited knowledge about our safety and that of the communities we serve.

But we teamed up, and made sure we had access to masks, gloves, disinfectants, and everything else needed to keep on doing our job.

I am very proud of the team I work with. It has not been easy, but because we come from so many different countries, we shared our police experiences to ensure a smooth operation.

Women inspire peace

Keeping the peace can be difficult: you will learn to live in distant lands with people you do not know, you will have to overcome many obstacles and take risks, but it will change your life in a way you have never imagined.