A Nepalese peacekeeper serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was on Friday named the recipient of the UN Woman Police Officer of the Year Award.
Superintendent Sangya Malla with the UN mission in the country, MONUSCO, is Chief of its Police Health and Environment Unit, based in the capital, Kinshasa.
Ms. Malla, a medical professional by training, helped establish the unit, which is responsible for implementing policies and procedures concerning the health and well-being of personnel as well as United Nations Police environmental initiatives.
Safety during crises
Her contributions have been especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, past Ebola outbreaks, and natural and humanitarian crises such as the volcanic eruption in the city of Goma last May. During that emergency, her unit alerted the local population and UN staff of precautionary measures.
“I am honored to receive this award, and I hope it will encourage more young women in my country and around the world to pursue careers in policing, which is still too often viewed as ‘man’s work’,” she said.
Ms. Malla will be presented with the award by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at a virtual ceremony on Tuesday.
Representing the best of the UN
The UN chief praised the “blue helmet” for her work in enhancing the safety and welfare of UN peacekeepers by mitigating their risks from COVID-19 and other threats.
“And she represents something far larger – the many contributions of women police officers in advancing peace and security around the world,” Mr. Guterres added. “Through her work, Superintendent Malla embodies the best of the United Nations.”
Ms. Malla helped develop guidance for preventing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
She has organized over 300 awareness sessions this year on coronavirus prevention as well as environmental protection for the local population, Congolese authorities and UN staff.
As the MONUSCO Police’s focal point on COVID-19, she has also been disseminating information about vaccines and promoting vaccination efforts.