Lebanese women join UNIFIL peacekeepers in marking International Women’s Day
UNIFIL peacekeepers marked this year’s International Women’s Day (8 March) by organizing and participating in a wide range of activities with and for the benefit of local women in south Lebanon this week.
The activities ranged from a virtual discussion with Lebanese women leaders to the mission’s peacekeepers participating in sports activities, extending health support as well as promoting local women-led businesses.
In his remarks at a virtual event marking the Day on 8 March, UNIFIL Deputy Head of Mission Jack Christofides highlighted UNIFIL’s efforts to support host communities to lead more sustainable lives by implementing various health, environmental and community support initiatives.
“I am pleased with our efforts, and we will continue in this direction and support women and girls in our area of operations to maintain the communities we serve,” he said, echoing the global theme of this year’s observances, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.”
On 10 March, UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura hosted a cultural event and an exhibition of local handicrafts. While Ghanaian, Malaysian and Nepalese peacekeepers displayed their respective national cultures through music and dance, Lebanese women entrepreneurs benefited through the sale of their handicrafts.
Separately, hundreds of peacekeepers visited a UNIFIL-hosted exhibition of Lebanese handicrafts to promote women-run local businesses in the south-western village of Shama, and purchased products on display.
On 9 March, Nepalese peacekeepers organized, in coordination with Social Development Centre (SDC), a session on oral hygiene and women’s health in the south-eastern village of Meiss ej Jebel. A total of 25 local women attended the three-hour session. This was followed by a free dental camp.
Meanwhile, in the south-eastern village of El Fraidiss on 6 March, a UNIFIL team of female peacekeepers from India, Indonesia, Serbia and Spain played a friendly football match with a team of young local women. On the occasion, UNIFIL Sector East Commander Ramón Armada Vázquez expressed his gratitude to the local leaders, including the President of the Al Arkoub Union of Municipalities, Mohamad Saab, and the El Fraidiss Mayor Kamal Slika, for their continued support to the UNIFIL mission.
Officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977, International Women's Day is celebrated globally as a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. This year’s theme recognizes that advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risks is one of the greatest global challenges of the century.
Marking the Day, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz said on Twitter: “@UNIFIL_ women lead patrols, work [with] local communities, remove landmines, provide medical care, among other roles. More #womeninpeacekeeping means more effective peacekeeping. On #IWD2022 we celebrate the contributions women have made toward peace in [south] Lebanon & around the world.”