New York, Wednesday, 7 June 2022 – The United Nations will bestow the first United Nations Trailblazer Award for Women Justice and Corrections Officers to Téné Maïmouna Zoungrana of Burkina Faso at a ceremony at United Nations Headquarters in New York today.
The Chef de Cabinet of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, Courtenay Rattray will present the award to Ms Zoungrana on behalf of the Secretary-General.
Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Sima Sami Bahous, will also deliver remarks.
Téné Maïmouna Zoungrana, who first deployed to United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) between 2014 and 2017 and later in 2020, supports one of the most difficult tasks of the mission - the demilitarization of the Central African Republic (CAR) prison system. She also leads and coordinates rapid-intervention and riot-control activities at the all-male Ngaragba Central Prison in Bangui, the largest and most volatile prison in CAR with a population of detainees classified as high-risk.
With her vast technical expertise in crisis intervention, Ms. Zoungrana has mentored United Nations colleagues and national prison staff and created a women-only rapid intervention team.
“Prison security has long been characterized by stereotypes that have hindered the development of women prison administrators. I am very pleased that today opportunities are given to women to work in prisons, and to perform all roles without distinction, and I feel empowered,” said Téné Maïmouna Zoungrana as she was notified of the award.
Among her achievements, she integrated rapid intervention training into the national procedures of the penitentiary curriculum and helped improve the effectiveness and accountability of CAR penitentiary institutions, leading to a significant reduction in the number of escapes at the prison.
“United Nations corrections officers, such as Ms. Zoungrana, work hand in hand with national corrections staff to ensure public safety. Corrections Officers carry out this work under difficult circumstances,” explained Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.
“We face intersecting global threats to peace, justice and gender equality and growing pushback that threatens years of progress, it is more crucial than ever that the UN reflects its core values of fairness and equality. This starts with ensuring that more women have access to leadership and decision-making roles,” stated Executive Director of UN Women, Sima Sami Bahous.
The UN Trailblazer Award was established in 2022 by the Justice and Corrections Service in Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, part of the Department of Peace Operations. It aims to showcase incredible women justice and corrections officers who have broken through gender barriers in difficult and dangerous contexts and proven that women are a crucial part of every peace operation’s mandate to create sustainable peace.
Congratulations to Téné Maïmouna Zoungrana for her accomplishment of winning the award and to all the other nominees including the shortlisted candidates Mboahangy “Fana” Rakotoarisoa of Madagascar deployed to MINUSMA; Wedji Mbengue of Senegal deployed to MINSUCA; Beatrice Were of Kenya previously deployed to MONUSCO; and Karima Dannauda Mohammed of Nigeria deployed to MONUSCO.
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