2019 Military Gender Advocate Award goes to Brazilian peacekeeper

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

New York | Department of Peace Operations (DPO) 

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 UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), will receive the award from the Secretary-General during the 2019 Peacekeeping Ministerial, held at the UN Headquarters on 29 March.

Created in 2016, the 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. “UN missions need more women peacekeepers so local women can talk more freely about the issues that affect their lives.”

She also expressed 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 people go about their lives, such as 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.

“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,” said Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

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 helped train and raise awareness among her peers on gender dynamics within the mission.

This award is underpinned by the principles of Security Council resolution 1325, which provides three provisions, called the “3 Ps”: “prevention” of conflict, “protection” of women and their rights during and after conflict, and increasing “participation” of women in all mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict.