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Meet Three Women Peace-Builders and Peacekeepers

Women’s courage in times of conflict and crisis is a force for change: They are often at the forefront of the humanitarian responses, mobilizing communities, advocating for human rights and the restoration of peace. Yet, they are starkly absent from decision-making. Despite progress, their voices are still too often sidelined and their experience unrecognized. 

In this article, we bring you the voices of women who challenge traditional gender roles in peace-building and peacekeeping on a daily basis. Their stories testify to their contribution to fostering positive change within peacekeeping operations and at the level of local communities, and demonstrate why we need more women in political processes and U.N. Peacekeeping.

1. Téné Maimouna Zoungrana (Burkina Faso)

Corrections officer and commander of the Rapid Response Team at the U.N. Mission Stabilization in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) Corrections Unit and winner of the 2021 Women Trailblazer of the Year Award

Prison officer from Burkina Faso serving with the U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and winner of the United Nations Trailblazer Award, Téné Maimouna Zoungrana, leads the rapid intervention activities in the Ngaragba Prison in the Central African Republic. The largest in the country, this high-security detention center is located in the capital city of Bangui and hosts just over 1,300 inmates—all men.

As the main trainer and coordinator of rapid intervention activities, she supports national prison staff in incident and crisis management. Maimouna Téné is responsible for introducing rapid intervention training modules into the national curriculum for the prison administration.

Téne reveals what it is like to work in a traditionally male-dominated field and how she draws on her strengths to overcome challenges.

2. Colonel Stephanie Tutton (USA)

Chief of policy and doctrine, United Nations Office of Military Affairs

Stephanie Tutton started her career as a U.S. military academy recruit and was soon commissioned as a field artillery lieutenant in 1991. At the time there were only 21 women in field artillery, one of the largest U.S. army branches. According to Tutton, breaking gender barriers has been difficult.

We asked her about her experiences and how she endeavors to help more women break gender barriers in the military.

3. Anny Tengamendite Modi (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Youth advocate, African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) and executive director, Afia Mama (“women’s health”) organization

Peace-building is not only confined to peace talks that take place in big rooms, between senior officials, it also means working with communities to cultivate peace and healing. 

Anny Tengamendite Modi runs a nonprofit organization based in the DRC that aims to eradicate stigma and discrimination towards survivors of gender-based violence named Afia Mama, meaning “women’s health.”

We spoke with Anny about her personal story and experiences. After her father died, Anny was displaced from her home in central DRC and fled to Goma in the east. Women in Goma have, and continue, to experience a high rate of sexual and gender-based violence. War broke out soon after Anny moved there.

Ms. Magazine

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