Brazilian woman wins UN Military Gender Advocate award

The accolade will be handed over on Friday by UN chief António Guterre

Published in 28/03/2019 - 16:17 By Agência Brasil - Brasília

Lieutenant Commander Márcia Andrade Braga, of the Brazilian Navy, is the recipient of the United Nations (UN) Military Gender Advocate of the Year award. She has served in the UN mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) since 2018.

The accolade was created in 2016 to acknowledge the dedication and individual efforts of peace soldiers in “promoting the principles of UN Security Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on women, peace and security.”

Brasileira vence Prêmio de Defensora Militar do Gênero das Nações Unidas,Márcia Andrade Braga
Lieutenant Commander Márcia Braga (left, in blue) in Africa – Minusca / Hervé Serefio

The Navy officer will receive her award on Friday (Mar. 29) from the hands of UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 2019 Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference, slated to take place at the UN New York headquarters.

Pride

Márcia Braga was a teacher and also helped train her colleagues in the Navy, in addition to raising awareness, regarding gender dynamics in the peace operation. After learning of the award, she said she was proud to have been selected, adding that “UN missions need more women peacekeepers so local women can talk more freely about the issues that affect their lives.”

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Subsecretary-General from the UN Department of Peace Operations, said that the Brazilian officer “is a stellar example” of why the US needs more women in peacekeeping.

Efforts work “effectively when women play meaningful roles and when women in the host communities are directly engaged,” he added.

Needs and accomplishments

As military gender adviser with Minusca, the captain helped create a network of gender advisers and create focal points between military units. She also promoted the use of mixed teams of men and women to patrol the country, who “collected information to help understand the exclusive protection needs,” of people of all genders.

The people who benefited from the initiative helped develop community projects to help vulnerable communities, including the installation of water pumps close to villages, solar-powered lighting and the development of community gardens to cut down the distances women have to travel to tend their crops.

The UN describes Márcia Braga as “a driving force behind MINUSCA leadership’s engagement with local women leaders, making sure that the voice of Central African women is heard throughout the ongoing peace process.”

*With information from UN News

Edition: Augusto Queiroz

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