Text by Anders Fjellestad • Photo by Torbjørn Kjosvold and private • Video by Line Bie
When a soldier is killed, someone has to inform his or her national military representative. In Mali, that "someone" is Trine Jørgensen.
“That part of my job is
challenging. In the past few months, we have lost
seventeen soldiers. It touches me when I see UN flag-draped coffins being
carried into memorial ceremonies”, says Colonel Lieutenant Jørgensen.
past year, she has been working at the MINUSMA headquarters in Bamako, Mali. She
is deputy head of the HR department. The department assists UN troops with
everything from housing, enrolment, leaves and salaries. But the security
situation in Mali is unstable and dangerous, and sometimes the department have to
assist when soldiers are killed.
ones who coordinate all the information when a soldier dies: names,
photos, transport, and speeches. In addition, we rehearse the memorial
ceremony the day
before. So in a way I get a double dose of funerals”, she says.
grew up in Kirkenes, northern Norway. Situated next to the Russian border,
Kirkenes is a town with a strong military presence. This paved her way into the
Armed Forces and Jørgensen wanted to prove that women too can be soldiers.
has a varied experience, including operations in Lebanon and Afghanistan. For the last years, she has worked with HR and administration, and now she gets
to do that in Mali.
“I want to
contribute to something bigger than myself. I want to be a soldier who works for
securing peace and stability in another country. I also wanted to work in a
multicultural environment”, she says.
nations participating nations, MINUSMA gives her plenty of opportunities to do
so. At Jørgensen's office alone, they are eleven people from ten nations.
thing is getting to know people from different cultures. It is also exciting to
learn the culture of Bamako. There are so many happy people and so much to see
and experience”, she says.
At the same
time, the cultural differences within the UN can also be frustrating from time
“Work procedures are different from home. There is a
lot of bureaucracy and you meet many different types of people. It is exciting –
but also demanding – trying to get everyone to work towards a common goal”, she says.
another challenge. The official MINUSMA language is English, but not
everyone speaks English.
you have to work with someone who does not understand what is written or what
you are saying. And they cannot express their opinions or suggestions in return. In
some cases, you need a colleague as interpreter”, she says.
works ten hours a day, and days are busy and intense. That makes her appreciate
her spare time even more.
“I hang a
lot with my Swedish neighbours. Every Saturday there are hikes in various
places around Bamako. We also have time to enjoy the city life of
Bamako, and every other Friday we have barbeque and dance inside the camp.”
was never in doubt that she wanted to go abroad and work for the UN.
want a challenging job and to do something bigger than yourself – you should take a
military education and embark on a UN mission. I have served almost two years
in the UN and it gives you memories for life. You also get valuable experience that
is useful at home. But the most important thing is that you contribute to creating peace.”
more women should join UN operations. In MINUSMA, women comprise just 3 per cent
of the total troops. The UN wants to increase the number of women in its peace
as important”, Jørgensen says, adding: “If you want to achieve long-term peace,
then the local women too must be allowed to participate in the peace talks.”
|en_245_trineinmali||en_242_theunwantsmorewoment||/en/newsroom/the-un-wants-more-women-to-serve||/media/PubImages/kvinner-fn-tobb.jpg||The UN wants more women to serve||Just 4 per cent of the personnel in UN missions are women and more than 30 countries do not have a single woman in UN service. The UN now takes steps to increase the number of women in its organisation. ||en_245_trineinmali||http://forsvaret.no/en/Lists/RelatedPages/DispForm.aspx?ID=132|