Ghanaian Woman Peacekeeper wins UN’s 2023 Military Gender Advocate award

October 15, 2023

Captain Cecilia Erzuah, commander of a Ghanaian engagement platoon with the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei, in Sudan, has been awarded the UN’s prestigious 2023 Military Gender Advocate of the Year award.

Captain Erzuah expressed her gratitude for being selected to receive the prize, which she called “an award for all of us,” referring to her 22-strong platoon, which is composed equally of men and women.  Erzuah and her team conduct patrols and meet with local leaders as well as women and youth groups. 

Erzuah worked as a teacher before joining the military and now uses that experience in her work with local communities as a UN peacekeeper.  When villages are attacked, “you see nursing mothers and parents carrying their children with one hand trying to salvage the few clothing they have and running for their lives,” she says. Peacekeepers help these internally displaced people get to safety.

Every month Erzuah and her team walk through the local market building strong relationships with traders and residents. In this way Erzuah’s platoon has gained the trust of local people, in particular women who felt encouraged by the presence of other women working in a typically male-dominated field. 

“When the woman smiles, you feel it is more genuine than the man,” Erzuah jokes. As a result of her platoon’s approach more women have joined community protection committees.

Although Ghana is the largest contributor of women military peacekeepers with 375 deployed, Captain Erzuah is the first Ghanaian to receive this prestigious UN award.

SecurityWomen sends congratulations to Captain Erzuah, and thanks her for being a role model to other women working as peacekeepers around the world.

For the full story please see:  Peacekeeper Cecilia Erzuah Promotes Gender Equality by Example | Inter Press Service (

And there is a video of the award being presented to Captain Erzuah at: Captain Cecilia Erzuah is UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year | United Nations

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