As the daughter of a Nigerien soldier, Balkissa’s wish has always been to become a gendarme. Although her dream eventually became true, she has also experienced difficulties on her way: “ I cannot explain why I felt attracted by this job. I was simply fascinated by the work. But while growing up, I have also felt anxious. In my country, wearing a uniform is rather something for men, “ she says.
After having received training at the civilian EU Capacity Building Mission, Balkissa became a trainer herself and serves as a focal point between the Gendarmerie and EUCAP Sahel Niger in Agadez.
Her dream came true
As she looks back, Balkissa confesses that at a certain time, she was fearful about failing to keep up with the task. Her father’s support was of great help to overcome her doubts. Later, she could also fall back on the support of her husband and her family.
“I decided to pass the gendarmerie exams due to my dad’s encouragements. He wanted me to follow his path“says Balkissa. She adds “First, I thought I better become a teacher and I even applied for a teacher’s curriculum. But then my father convinced me to join the Gendarmerie. “
Her father’s words boosted her intention of joining the Nigerien Gendarmerie. Today, she is in regular contact with EUCAP Sahel Niger. After having received trainings at EUCAP Sahel Niger, she was chosen to become a Nigerien trainer herself.
“I am proud of what I am doing. And I would say to all women who want to work for the security forces to be brave and self-confident. With will and motivation, women can do way more than they can imagine, and thus become an indispensable part for the safety of our country”, concludes Balkissa.
Background: Launched in July 2012 the civilian EU Capacity Building Mission (EUCAP Sahel Niger) supports the Nigerien security forces through training and advice to fight terrorism, organised crime and irregular migration in an integrated, sustainable and human rights-centred manner.