SOUTH SUDAN / OUTGOING POLICE COMMISSIONER

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07-Oct-2021 00:06:07
The first-ever woman Police Commissioner at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, ended her tenure but is leaving behind a formidable legacy of leadership, empathy and operational effectiveness. UNMISS

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STORY: SOUTH SUDAN / OUTGOING POLICE COMMISSIONER
TRT: 6:04
SOURCE: UNMISS
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN / FILE

SHOTLIST:

05 MAY 2018, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

1. Various shots, UNMISS outgoing Police Commissioner in Protection of Civilians site and office

07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“Coming into this mission was really the biggest professional risk that I took. At the time I came I was the Assistant Police Commissioner back at home, and I had been trying to get into a United Nations peacekeeping mission. I felt at the time - as well back at home - I was also hitting the glass ceiling. So, I knew I had to find my lateral exit as well, and the United Nations was one of my - I kept my eye on it.”

11 SEPTEMBER 2020, TEREKEKA, SOUTH SUDAN

3. Various of Police Commissioner at Police Outpost Handover

07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

4. SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“Before I assumed the position of Police Commissioner, I was first an individual Police Officer and I worked in the protection of civilians sites. And I was in the site during the 2016 crisis. After the crisis in 2016 – as I worked in the protection of civilian site - I noticed that the men were mostly in the site, whereas women were going out to collect firewood, to get food. And I started to question, because for where I come from, that’s not the culture.”

05 MAY 2018, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

5. Med shot, Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa speaking to girl

07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“And I started to ask questions because I wasn’t understanding the dynamics. I was surprised with the answer I was given. So, a group of women that I was conversing with then told me, ‘You know for us, after the war, it’s the women who go out to collect firewood, to bring food; the men remain in the camp. And the reason is, for us, when women and girls go out to do that, the risk is there that we can be raped, we can be attacked, but we will not be killed. But for our men when they go out, there is no two ways about it. They will be killed. And from there it changed my perspective completely of the women of South Sudan. And it just goes to show how resilient they are.”

11 MAY 2021, KWAJOK, SOUTH SUDAN

7. Various shots, Police Commissioner at table with other UN officials meeting local officials

07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“I feel emotional intelligence is something that we must really learn, and I have learned also in the mission. And it really is very prominent, and also particularly for us as women leaders. We have a lot of it, emotions, but how you use it to enhance your leadership ability is very, very important. You will be able to build a good team, a team that is formidable, a team that comes together and be able to work together. You’ll also be able to make good decisions, because you know the environment around you; you know yourself, and you’re able to relate. So, empathy is very much part of it as well.”

28 SEPTEMBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

9. Med shot, UNMISS Police Commissioner standing at attention with Rwandan FPU female commander
10. Med shot, UNMISS Police Commissioner seated with the head of UNMISS

07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

11. SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“As a leader, as a Police Commissioner, we have people around us who are also experts in their own fields, and that’s one of the aspects of leadership that I’ve learnt over time—to consult. I know that time can be of the essence in some of the situations, but as much as I do try to get the advice of those around me.”

28 SEPTEMBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

12. Med shot, UNMISS Police Commissioner pinning medal on Rwandan FPU Officer

07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

13. SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“Leaving my children behind - and that’s going to be the same for many of us career women that have families. So, missing out on birthdays, missing out on very important dates, particularly for our children is something that is really the biggest sacrifice. I left my youngest daughter when she was just starting high school, and now I will be going back to my youngest daughter who is now in university.”

12 MAY 2021, RUMBEK, SOUTH SUDAN

14. Pan right, UNMISS Police Commissioner walking under mango tree for a meeting
15. Med shot, UNMISS Police Commissioner seated and speaking

07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

16. SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“The voices of women need to be heard. The voices of women need to be included in the process. We bring to the table a lot of dimensions that may not be there if we are not there, which will enhance peace in the community. And women are also naturally peacebuilders. We do that all the time within our homes.”

21 JUNE 2019, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

17. Med shot, UNMISS Police Commissioner presenting certificate to Zambian female UNPOL

11 JUNE 2019, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

18. UNMISS PC pinning UN medal on female UNPOL from Zimbabwe

07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

19. SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“So, it’s very important that women are included at the table in terms of peace talks, in terms of peace implementation and peacebuilding, every aspect of the way.”

07 OCTOBER 2021, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

20. Pan right, UNMISS Police Commissioner walking to stand to see final Guard of Honour
21. Wide shot, UNMISS Police Commissioner being saluted farewell by fellow Fijian police officer

STORYLINE:

The first-ever woman Police Commissioner at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, ended her tenure but is leaving behind a formidable legacy of leadership, empathy and operational effectiveness.

Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa is a mother, a top police officer in her country, Fiji, and the first woman to lead the Police component in the world’s largest peacekeeping mission.

As a young girl in her beautiful island home in the Pacific, she, like many others, initially wanted to be a teacher. Fate intervened and she ended up applying to the police, starting a career path that enabled her to shatter many glass ceilings.

SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“Coming into this mission was really the biggest professional risk that I took. At the time I came I was the Assistant Police Commissioner back at home, and I had been trying to get into a United Nations peacekeeping mission. I felt at the time - as well back at home - I was also hitting the glass ceiling. So, I knew I had to find my lateral exit as well, and the United Nations was one of my - I kept my eye on it.”

When Commissioner Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa joined UNMISS, she and her team embarked on creating a roadmap from 2018-2021 which enabled them to focus on increasing operational effectiveness, providing technical guidance and training to South Sudanese police officers, and supporting infrastructure-building for local police through Quick Impact Projects.

Ensuring gender-responsiveness in policing is an ideal that Police Commissioner Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa is committed to. This reflects in a 35 per cent increase in women UNPOL officers as well as her innate respect for South Sudanese women.

SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“Before I assumed the position of Police Commissioner, I was first an individual Police Officer and I worked in the protection of civilians sites. And I was in the site during the 2016 crisis. After the crisis in 2016 – as I worked in the protection of civilian site - I noticed that the men were mostly in the site, whereas women were going out to collect firewood, to get food. And I started to question, because for where I come from, that’s not the culture.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“And I started to ask questions because I wasn’t understanding the dynamics. I was surprised with the answer I was given. So, a group of women that I was conversing with then told me, ‘You know for us, after the war, it’s the women who go out to collect firewood, to bring food; the men remain in the camp. And the reason is, for us, when women and girls go out to do that, the risk is there that we can be raped, we can be attacked, but we will not be killed. But for our men when they go out, there is no two ways about it. They will be killed. And from there it changed my perspective completely of the women of South Sudan. And it just goes to show how resilient they are.”

For her part, a leadership lesson that she has learned is the need for emotional intelligence while delivering on the mission’s mandate.

SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“I feel emotional intelligence is something that we must really learn, and I have learned also in the mission. And it really is very prominent, and also particularly for us as women leaders. We have a lot of it, emotions, but how you use it to enhance your leadership ability is very, very important. You will be able to build a good team, a team that is formidable, a team that comes together and be able to work together. You’ll also be able to make good decisions, because you know the environment around you; you know yourself, and you’re able to relate. So, empathy is very much part of it as well.”

Commissioner Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa led a team of UNPOL officers drawn from 46 different countries and attributes her achievements to always encouraging this large and diverse component to play to their strengths.

SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“As a leader, as a Police Commissioner, we have people around us who are also experts in their own fields, and that’s one of the aspects of leadership that I’ve learnt over time—to consult. I know that time can be of the essence in some of the situations, but as much as I do try to get the advice of those around me.”

Serving for peace isn’t easy and sacrifices have to be made, she revealed.

SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“Leaving my children behind - and that’s going to be the same for many of us career women that have families. So, missing out on birthdays, missing out on very important dates, particularly for our children is something that is really the biggest sacrifice. I left my youngest daughter when she was just starting high school, and now I will be going back to my youngest daughter who is now in university.”

But despite the hardships, she believes women in peacekeeping can have it all— a thriving personal life as well as a shining career. But most importantly, she said, women’s voices must be truly included for peace processes to be sustainable across the world.

SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“The voices of women need to be heard. The voices of women need to be included in the process. We bring to the table a lot of dimensions that may not be there if we are not there, which will enhance peace in the community. And women are also naturally peacebuilders. We do that all the time within our homes.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa, Police Commissioner, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“So, it’s very important that women are included at the table in terms of peace talks, in terms of peace implementation and peacebuilding, every aspect of the way.”
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