Woman peacekeeper and Indian Army officer, Major Suman Gawani has been selected for the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award (2019). She was described as “powerful role models” by the UN Chief Antonio Guterres. The champion is recognized for her work her campaign against sexual violence, ANI reported.

This is also for the first time an Indian peacekeeper will be awarded the prestigious honour, Gawani joined the Indian Army in the year 2011 after graduating from the Officers Training Academy. She was posted in South Sudan under a UN mission.

Praising the achievers for their excellent work UN Chief Antonio, said, ”Through their work, they have brought new perspectives and have helped to build trust and confidence among the communities we serve.”

Key Takeaways:

  • An Indian Army officer Suman Gawani will be awarded the UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award. She is sharing the award with a Brazilian woman Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo.
  • For the first time, an Indian peacekeeper will be awarded the prestigious honour. Gawani  was posted in South Sudan under a UN mission.
  • This is for the first time that the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award is being shared by two women.

UN military gender award for women peacekeepers

Major Gawani is sharing the award with a Brazilian woman Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo.

Created in 2016, the award recognizes the dedication and contribution of individual military peacekeepers in promoting peace and security, and gender protection in the operations.  The officers will receive the award during an online ceremony on May 29, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Also Read: First Woman Army Officer To Win Gallantry Award Gets Permanent Commission

Major Suman Gawani’s contribution

Gawani, who is with the Army Signal Corps, has been instrumental in conducting gender-responsive training. “Through her support, mentoring, guidance and leadership, she helped to create enabling environment for UN Peacekeepers by combating sexual violence in conflict situations,” the UN said on Tuesday announcing the award.

Speaking on the achievement Gawani said, “Whatever our function, position or rank, it is our duty as peacekeepers to integrate an all-genders perspective into our daily work and own it in our interactions with colleagues as well as with communities.”

Gawani was deployed as a military observer with the UN Mission in South Sudan. “She mentored over 230 UN Military Observers on conflict-related sexual violence and ensured the presence of women military observers in each of the Mission’s team sites,” it said.

“She also trained South Sudanese government forces and helped them to launch their action plan on conflict-related sexual violence.”

Brazilian Woman Commander Araujo has been working as a trainer on gender and protection and during her duty tour the number of gender-responsive patrols engaging with local communities increased from 574 to nearly 3,000 per month.

Expressing gratitude on her win, Araujo said, ”It’s very gratifying for me and the Mission to see that our initiatives are bearing fruit.”

Also read: India women army officers talk about the hurdles they face

Feature Image CreditNewsd.in

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