Major Winnet Zharare
Major Winnet Zharare 1.jpg
BornWinnet Zharare
EducationZimbabwe Staff College
Years active2006-Present
EmployerZimbabwe National Army
OrganizationZimbabwe Defence Forces
Known forWinning the 2021 United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award
Home townMhondoro

Major Winnet Zharare is a member of the Zimbabwe National Army who was presented with a 2021 United Nations Military Gender Advocate of Year Award on 26 May 2022.


Born into a family of five girls and two boys in Mhondoro, Zimbabwe, she was raised with the same expectations in life as her siblings, regardless of gender. “My parents gave us equal opportunities with my brothers, so I believe that equal opportunities should be given to both men and women in all aspects of life,” says Major Zharare. This motivated her to become a fierce advocate for others to enjoy the same right.


She began her military career in 2006 as a Second Lieutenant and deployed as an Infantry Platoon Commander, doubling as a matron, in Mutare that same year. In 2009, she joined the logistics corps and completed the Junior Staff Course at the Zimbabwe Staff College and the Company Commanders' Course at the All-Arms Battle School in 2014.

Major Zharare then worked as a Protocol Officer from 2015 to 2019, after which she was nominated for deployment in UNMISS as a Military Observer in Bentiu, fulfilling roles including Chief Information Officer, Training Officer and Gender Focal Point.[1]

UN Deployment and Achievements

In 2006, she joined the Zimbabwe Defence Forces as a 2nd Lieutenant, determined to boost the participation of women in the predominantly male-dominated military sector. The same aim inspired her to seize the opportunity to join UN Peacekeeping in 2020. Her efforts were recognized, as Major Zharare became the first Zimbabwean to receive the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award for her outstanding efforts to integrate gender perspectives into peacekeeping activities.

In November 2020, Major Zharare was deployed to the Bentiu field office for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as a Military Observer and Chief Military Information Officer. Seeing first hand how women are often excluded from decision-making, she immediately launched a plan to help empower them. Major Zharare promoted mixed-gender patrols to build trust, improve protection efforts, and boost community engagement.

She successfully brought together women and men from local communities to farm and build dikes together to alleviate food shortages and prevent further displacement. She contributed to the increased production of gender-disaggregated data and advocated for gender parity within the mission. She made it a priority to ensure that local civilian and military authorities, as well as community representatives, involved both men and women in meetings with the UN.[2]

Major Zharare expressed her gratitude and pride for being selected to receive the award, which was presented by Secretary-General António Guterres during a ceremony marking the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on 26 May 2022. The Secretary-General has commended Major Zharare: “Major Zharare is a role model and a trailblazer." “Through her service, she has demonstrated the invaluable role that women play in building trust, advocating for change, and forging peace," he said. "Her example shows how we will all gain with more women at the decision-making table and gender parity in peace operations.” The United Nations Gender Advocate of the Year Award recognizes the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles within the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.


  1. [1], The Herald, Published: 27 May, 2022, Accessed: 27 May, 2022
  2. [2], United Nations, Published: 24 May, 2022, Accessed: 27 May, 2022