Captain Erzuah becomes 1st Ghanaian peacekeeper to receive United Nations Military Peacekeepers Advocate of the Year Award - 2022
26 May 2023
The prestigious United Nations Military Peacekeepers Advocate of the Year Award 2022 has been bestowed upon Captain Cecilia Erzuah from Ghana.
The award is in recognition of her phenomenon contribution towards gender equality and inclusiveness to in carrying out her duty as a peacekeeper with the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA). This noteworthy feat not only recognizes Captain Erzuah's dedication and commitment but is also a testament of the extraordinary efforts and contributions of Ghanaian women in the field of international peacekeeping.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres presented the award to Captain Cecelia Erzuah at a ceremony held in New York to coincide with the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. He said her work sets the standard for ensuring that women's needs and concerns are reflected across United Nations Peacekeeping operations.
In her acceptance speech, Captain Erzuah echoed the importance of gender parity and the deployment of more women in peacekeeping. “The right approach to gender parity means deploying more women in peacekeeping, including to leadership positions such as Platoon Commanders, Officers Commanding, and Commanding Officers” she added. Also, in an interview with Africa Renewal in New York, Capt. Erzuah discussed the significance of the award and her determination to keep fighting for gender equality. She said, “This acknowledgment reaffirms my belief in the importance of hard work and dedication to duty” adding that she considers the award a great honor.
Captain Erzuah becomes the first Ghanaian peacekeeper, and the first recipient from a contingent or a unit, to receive this prestigious award. A press release issued by the Department of Peace Operations notes that Capt. Erzuah in her mission as Commander of the first Ghanaian Battalion in Abyei, served as a role model for the women, children and all members of the communities. The engagement of her battalion with the communities facilitated the timely collection and exchange of information which enabled greater support to the diverse needs of the communities. She dedicated her award to the people of Abyei.
This prestigious award not only serve as a symbol of the can-do spirit of women when given responsibilities but also draws home the importance of gender equality and women's empowerment in the military and peacekeeping operations. This is also a reflection of the efforts of the Ghana Armed Forces in promoting gender equality in its ranks, and the significant steps the United Nations Peacekeeping operations continue to take to empower women.