Kenyan peacekeeper wins UN military gender advocate award

UNAMID Kenyan peacekeeper, Steplyne Nyaboga, conducts basic gender training to Pakistani troops in Darfur. (file)

A Kenyan peacekeeper, who recently completed her assignment in Sudan’s Darfur region, is the winner of the UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award for 2020, said the UN secretary-general’s press office on Monday.

Maj. Steplyne Nyaboga, 32, who served in the recently ended UN-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), will receive the award at a virtual ceremony on Thursday.

Throughout her two-year deployment in Darfur, Nyaboga worked diligently to mainstream gender in military components by bringing awareness to gender dynamics in the field, said the press office.

She specifically encouraged gender-sensitive outreach to local communities, in an effort to enhance the protection of civilians. She also focused on gender training for her fellow military peacekeepers.

She advised the force on how to better identify and integrate the needs of men, women, boys and girls groups in vulnerable contexts 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, Nyaboga also organized campaigns and workshops for staff and civil society activists to address issues affecting Darfuri women and girls.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commended Nyaboga.”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 was quoted as saying.

“Through her efforts, Maj. Nyaboga introduced new perspectives and increased awareness of crucial gender dimensions across the mission and helped strengthen our engagement with Darfuri women.

The United Nations remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that women sit at the political table and make their full contributions to peace, and Maj. Nyaboga’s dedication has advanced the vital clause.”

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