A Brazilian peacekeeper serving in the Central African Republic has been selected to receive the United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award.
Lieutenant Commander Marcia Andrade Braga, a Naval officer working in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, will receive the award from UN Secretary-General António Guterres during the 2019 Peacekeeping Ministerial, held at the UN Headquarters in New York on Friday, 29 March.
Created in 2016, the United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award recognises the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
“I am so proud to be selected”, said Lt Cdr Braga upon receiving the news of her award. “UN Missions need more women peacekeepers so local women can talk more freely about the issues that affect their lives”, she added, also expressing her gratitude to her colleagues in the Central African Republic.
Serving as the Military Gender Advisor in MINUSCA Force Headquarters since April 2018, Lt Cdr Braga helped build a network of trained gender advisors and focal points among the Mission’s military units and promoted the use of mixed teams of men and women to conduct community-based patrols around the country.
These “Engagement Teams” were able to gather critical information to help the Mission understand the unique protection needs of men, women, boys and girls. They in turn helped develop community projects that support vulnerable communities go about their lives through, among others, the installation of water pumps close to villages, solar-powered lighting and the development of community gardens so that women do not have to travel great distances to tend their crops.
Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix commented that “Marcia Andrade Braga is a stellar example of why we need more women in peacekeeping. Peacekeeping works effectively when women play meaningful roles and when women in the host communities are directly engaged.”
Lt Cdr Braga is also a driving force behind the Mission leadership’s engagement with local women leaders, making sure that the voice of Central African women is heard in the ongoing peace process. A former teacher, she has also helped train and raise awareness among her peers on gender dynamics within the Mission.
UN Peacekeeping Ministerial photo gallery
The Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award is underpinned by the principles outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). The Resolution provides three provisions, called the “3 Ps.” The first two “Ps” are “prevention” of conflict and “protection” of women and their rights during and after conflict. The third “P” is “participation” and refers to increasing the numbers of women in all mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict.
In current peacekeeping operations, it is vital that peacekeepers understand how women and men experience conflict differently. The Resolution calls on all actors to adopt a gender perspective to better understand the special needs of women and girls and ensure their participation, protection from and prevention of sexual violence in conflict.
The Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award recognises the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UNSCR 1325 within a military context, as nominated by Force Commanders and Heads of peacekeeping missions. The award also raises the profile and understanding of what mainstreaming a gender perspective within a military context in peacekeeping mission means.