Australia: Zimbabwe Republic Police Assistant Inspector Annah Chota has received the International Female Police Peacekeeper Award for her service and achievements in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei.

The award was given at the International Women and Law Enforcement Conference in Cairns, Australia, on September 18. Chota is the first police officer from Zimbabwe to receive the award. It recognises the outstanding accomplishments of female police officers serving the United Nations and has been bestowed annually since 2011.

As head of the Gender and Children Affairs Unit in the police component of UNISFA, Chota helped establish a women’s network in Abyei.

 Through training workshops and campaigns with local communities, Chota contributed to a shift in how communities deal with rape, domestic violence, child marriages and forced marriages, by recognising rape of a wife by a husband as an offence.

As a result, more women are reporting gender-based violence, and in the absence of a police service in Abyei, community protection committees can now record and recognise sexual and gender-based crimes.

Upon receiving the award, Chota stressed that it underscored “the value of hard work, professionalism, teamwork and discipline, which every peacekeeper must exhibit”.

UN police adviser, Commissioner Stefan Feller, lauded Chota’s efforts to promote community-oriented policing in Abyei.