Fourth peacekeeping deployment for SAAF officer


SA Air Force Major Caroline Komsana is currently on her fourth deployment to a United Nations peacekeeping mission and is a CIMIC (civil military co-ordination) officer at UNAMID in Darfur, Sudan.

In an interview she said as chief CIMIC officer she collaborates with UNAMID’s civilian peacekeepers and the UN country team monitoring projects to benefit local communities.
“These include rehabilitation of physical infrastructure, free medical campaigns and providing access to water for those in need. The community stabilisation efforts are mostly actioned through UNAMID’s Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme.
“Additionally, in my capacity as Gender Focal Point, I facilitate training sessions for the Mission’s military peacekeepers on specific security risks faced by Darfuri women such as conflict-related sexual violence. I sensitise them on key issues including sexual exploitation and abuse and ensure gender perspectives are part of all military interactions with the local populace.”

Achievements over the past 12 months she specifically remembers are the rehabilitation and handover of a girls’ school and a clinic for girls and women.
“These were both close to my heart and I was also part of facilitation that saw primary school established for returnees and other rehabilitation projects including schools and a drug control centre. These and other efforts go a long way to reinforcing UNAMID’s mandate of improving the lives of Darfuris.”

Asked what it is important to invest in peace, the South African officer said: “the absence of peace implies an absence of hope”.
“Peacekeeping, peace building and conflict prevention are essential prerequisites to bring hope to people living in conflict-affected regions. Only a peaceful society can ensure its inhabitants enjoy their human rights, socio-economic freedom and unbiased rule of law institutions. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘We commit ourselves to the construction of a just, lasting peace.’ This commitment motivates me.”