Balkissa – a Nigerien female gendarme committed to security and stability
Balkissa Yayé Goumeye is a gendarme working in Niger’s northern region Agadez. Since 2018, she also serves as EUCAP’s focal point for intelligence techniques at the regional gendarmerie forces. With over 15 years of experience as a female gendarme, she speaks about her career, the difficulties she has faced on her way and shares with us the keys to her success.
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 uniforms. But while growing up, I have also felt anxious. In my country, wearing a uniform is rather something for men, » she says.
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 » said Balkissa. She added « 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. »
After having receveived trainings at EUCAP Sahel Niger, she was chosen to become a Nigerien trainer herself. Her family helped her at that time to improve her skills as a trainer. « In the beginning, my husband suggested me to be my first student and we trained together ,» recalls Balkissa and smiles when she thinks back. « This support helped me to carry out later my first own training to my colleagues.»
Balkissa believes that Niger needs more women in the security sector, especially in intelligene techniques. “These competencies are so important and help us in taking strategic decisions, whether it is in order to anticipate terrorist acts, the fight against drugs and arms trafficking or smuggling. Security is capital and concerns everbody and I wish to see more women joining the internal security forces and contributing to the country’s stability.”
“ 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 indispensible part for the safety of our country”, concluded Balkissa.