WHO African Regional Office, UN Volunteers Programme partner to boost gender parity

WHO African Regional Office, UN Volunteers Programme partner to boost gender parity

Brazzaville, 6 March 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa and the United Nations Volunteers have launched the Africa Young Women Health Champions, an initiative to recruit early to middle career women professionals across 47 countries in the African region.

The institutions will jointly hire around 100 young African women as national and international UN Volunteers. The recruitment will focus on female professionals in public health, epidemiology, health research, health emergency management, data management, statistics, or other health-related fields, as well as information management, innovation, communications, administration and external relations.

In a region with some of the highest disease burden in the world, the Africa Young Women Health Champions initiative will provide women with the opportunity to serve to improve the health and well-being of people in Africa.

“This initiative comes at the right time for WHO in the African Region. We have committed to achieving gender parity among WHO staff, and although we are making progress, we still have work to do,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Since 1973, WHO has been partnering with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme to provide essential social services, primary health care, and combat diseases through awareness and prevention. In the last ten years, 439 UN Volunteers served with WHO, supporting its mission to promote health, keep people safe, and serve the vulnerable.

“With the Africa Young Women Health Champions initiative, we are opening the doors for 100 women professionals to join WHO offices across Africa as United Nations Volunteers. WHO and UNV share the goal to empower women while helping countries on the continent to improve people’s health. And these new colleagues will be the agents of change and champions of Africa’s healthy future,” said: Toily Kurbanov, UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator.

This initiative has the potential to empower the next generation of female health leaders on the continent. It aligns with the theme of the International Women Day this year, which is: I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women's Rights. The launch of the initiative is in the spirit of this theme. It shows a strong commitment of WHO in supporting the next generation of female leaders in health in Africa.

Gender equality is a priority now, and for the health and well-being of future generations. Investments in equality will benefit us all – women, men, girls, and boys.

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