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UNODC supports women in the maritime sector

Mogadishu, Somalia 3 July- As requested by Security Council resolution 2662, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Global Maritime Crime Programme (UNODC GMCP)  has enhanced maritime domain awareness across Somalia by training maritime law enforcement officers to detect suspicious vessel behaviour and maritime threats using technology, including UNODC-donated marine radar. The training brought together eleven male and one female officers of the Somali Police Force Coast Guard Department (SPF-DCG) in Mogadishu.

“A police unit without females is no force. Females are pioneers and can be leaders in the maritime police force,” said Constable Fadumo Ahmed. Gender equality and women empowerment are crucial aspects of promoting peace and security in any society and UN Security Council resolution 1325 emphasises the importance of women’s participation in peace processes.  

UNODC GMCP has joined the Woman in Maritime Sector action plan (WIMS), which seeks to break down barriers and stereotypes that hinder women's participation in the maritime and blue economy sector. By doing so, it creates  a more diverse and vibrant workforce that harnesses the full potential of Somali women in driving the sector's success. “The WIMS National Action Plan will help to ensure that women operating across the maritime domain are provided increased visibility and opportunities to not only participate in, but also benefit from, the sector,” the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Anita Kiki Gbeho, said in her remarks.

Ms Ahmed’s involvement in the maritime police unit exemplifies how women can contribute to law enforcement. As one of Somalia’s only female maritime communications officers she brings a unique perspective and skill set that enhances the effectiveness of policing efforts. Her presence challenges traditional gender roles and stereotypes whilst proving that women can excel in demanding roles within the maritime sector. She said she is proud to represent all Somali females when participating in any training. ”I am showing them that we are strong and can do anything we put our minds to regardless of the stereotypes we face and battle. Through my work, I can encourage more females to join the maritime police”.

Through the maritime domain awareness training (MDA), UNODC has procured a lattice mast and marine radar for the communications room to enhance the capabilities of the SPF-DCG and improve the overall communication system. Ms. Ahmed assisted the UNODC mentor in linking the VHF and HF antennas and a repeater station from headquarters to the training facility. This led to real-time updates and feedback and enabled more efficient decision-making. Additionally, her expertise in configuring marine radar allowed for the identification of potential threats, which further enhanced safety and efficiency of operations. She stated, “Through the MDA training, my skills have improved significantly, allowing me to take on more complex tasks and responsibilities confidently. I have gained a deeper understanding of the MDA framework and its practical applications, enabling me to analyse data and make informed decisions.”

UNODC communications trainer, praised Ms. Ahmed’s progress, noting, “Having previously attended two training sessions on maritime communications, she has shown tremendous progress and brings a dedication to learn and prove herself within the SPF-DCG. Her demonstration of working knowledge of communication equipment, procedures, techniques and her leadership skills, speaks to the great impact that continuous capacity building through training and mentorship has to offer”. 

UNODC efforts to support women across the maritime sector and have been made possible thanks to generous funding from the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (US INL).  


For more information, please contact:

Mr. David O’Connell (

Western Indian Ocean Programme Coordinator

Global Maritime Crime Programme

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


Click here to review the catalogue with UNODC maritime domain awareness courses. 

Click here to visit the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme website.