Celebrating Women in the Security Sector: Major Coumba Ngouye THIAM
September 17, 2020
Meet Major Coumba NGouye THIAM, who held 37-years of service with the Senegalese police from 1981-2018 as a police detective with facilitation and senior training skills. During her civil service career, Maj. THIAM blazed trails for African women in the security and defense sector in her home nation of Senegal. Initially drawn to the sector’s police branch by the sharp and powerful uniforms worn in 1981, her motivation later evolved to a more substantive purpose of becoming an actor for security and defense. And Maj.
THIAM would go on to do precisely that in her illustrious career. Initially having embarked upon her professional course in Senegal, Maj. THIAM’s direction took a new trajectory towards service in several diverse missions of the United Nations. This focused dedication propelled Maj. THIAM to advocate for more representation of women in her role as the Chief of Staff by responding to gaps in how the United Nations Police (UNPOL) and Formed Police Unit (FPU) in the Democratic Republic of Congo overlooked gender-equality. Her draft proposal of a Women’s Office within these UN security entities was submitted and approved by MONUSCO police chiefs.
This accolade transpired into her election as president of her proposed Women’s Office. Maj. THIAM subsequently has served proudly in the UN country missions of Cameroon and Burkina Faso as MONUSCO’s Chief of Staff. She led an “All Female Training” program that mentored women of the defense and security forces to pass the mission aptitude test. Maj. THIAM’s and her teams’ training produced never before seen success rates of deployed women in UN missions. Today as a decorated retiree, she continues her work by mentoring up and coming women police officers. She is currently a member of the Association of Female Pioneers of the National Police as the General Secretary. Maj. THIAM also consults Partners West Africa Senegal (PWAS) and with international and national organizations on trainings in the security sector and defense.