Kenyan Peacekeeper wins United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year 2020 Award

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KDF Gender Advisor Major Steplyne Nyaboga who served in the recently completed UN-African Hybrid Union Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) has been recognized for the excellence of her work, for which she was awarded the 2020 UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award.    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has recognized the 32-year-old’s efforts in Darfur while on a mission in South Sudan.

“Peace and security can only be achieved and sustained if all members of society have equal opportunities, protection, access to resources and services and can participate in decision-making”, he said. 

“Through her efforts, Major Nyaboga introduced new perspectives and increased awareness of crucial gender dimensions across the Mission and helped strengthen our engagement with Darfuri women”, Mr. Guterres added.  

Reflecting on her peacekeeping role, Major Nyaboga said that she was “elated” that the UN’s efforts in serving humanity have had a positive impact and were being recognized.  

“Peacekeeping is a human enterprise: placing women and girls at the centre of our efforts and concerns, will help us better protect civilians and build a more sustainable peace”, she said. 

Major Nyaboga deployed to the UNAMID mission in February 2019. Throughout her two years in Zalingei, a town in western Sudan, she worked diligently to mainstream gender issues in military activities by bringing awareness to dynamics in the field.  

Specifically, she encouraged gender-sensitive outreach to local communities, to enhance civilian protection. She also focused on gender education for other military peacekeepers, training nearly 95 per cent of the UNAMID’s military contingent by December of last year.  

Additionally, she advised the force on how to better identify and integrate the needs of vulnerable men, women, boys and girls into UNAMID’s analysis, planning and operations – a move that greatly improved the mission’s understanding of, and response to, protection needs.  

Working together with human rights, gender and communications colleagues, the Major also organized campaigns and workshops for staff and civil society activists to address issues affecting Darfuri women and girls. 

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