UN peacekeeper in DR Congo honoured for combatting sexual violence on the frontlines

Major Pearl Block, Information Operations Officer with the UN Stabilization mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). Photo: UNIC Pretoria

15 November 2017 – United Nations peacekeeper Major Seitebatso Pearl Block was commended on Wednesday for developing a Mission-wide, short message service (SMS) campaign to combat gender-based abuse by connecting with women in remote parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“I’m very happy, I’m proud to have been recognized for the good that I’ve done in the DRC, and I’m very happy to be receiving this award, I’m ecstatic,” said Major Block, an Information Operations Officer with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).

During a ceremony at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference, under way in Vancouver, Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix presented Major Block with the UN Gender Military Advocate Award for her outstanding work on the frontlines.

Mr. Lacroix called her “an inspiration to us all and a strong example of how peacekeeping is about our personnel taking personal initiatives and interacting with local communities to help find solutions to their problems, better protecting civilians and, in turn, saving lives.”

In an exclusive interview with UN News, Major Block talks about her work and the role women can play in making the UN more responsive and inclusive.

Audio Link : https://soundcloud.com/unradio/we-will-not-allow-ourselves-to-be-limited-gender-advocate-award-winner