Zonta International Commits to the Women and Children of Rwanda
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By Cayce Pack
Cayce works in the Civil Society Partnerships department at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF
In 40 years of friendship, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Zonta International have worked together on a variety of projects for the world’s women and children. In recent years, we’ve been privileged to partner on two lifesaving programs in Rwanda: the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and support for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence.
Because of champions like Zonta, Rwanda has come to a pivotal point and is on the verge of achieving its first HIV-free generation by 2015. To ensure the country meets that groundbreaking goal, we are pleased to announce that Zonta International will once again partner with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. As one of their International Service Projects for their 2012-2014 Biennium, Zonta has selected to continue their outstanding work in Rwanda.
Specifically, in the next two years, Zonta’s funding will help UNICEF and the Rwandan Government establish new, district-wide strategies to eliminate pediatric HIV infections and support male and female-centered approaches in PMTCT. Zonta’s focus is on the most vulnerable and hard to reach women, as well as adolescent girls. Zonta will also support the Rwandan government’s UNICEF-assisted expansion of “One-Stop Centers,” which are comprehensive safe havens for women victimized by domestic and gender-based violence. Community awareness campaigns to prevent violence are also being planned nationwide, with a special focus on sexual violence against girls.
Of course, these are just a few examples of the major impact Zonta’s support will have. Rwanda is on the brink of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and bringing profound changes to the lives of women and children. Zonta’s commitment to this country is not simply helping in the here and now—it is making history for generations to come.
Lynn McKenzie, International President of Zonta International, stated, “Zonta International is pleased to continue its partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to provide support and services for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence in Rwanda. Zonta will have been supporting this project for six years by the end of June 2014. UNICEF is making a difference in the lives of children around the globe, and Zonta is proud to donate a record $1 million from 2012–2014 to support UNICEF’s efforts in Rwanda, bringing our total contribution to UNICEF to just under $5 million. Zonta’s 30,000 members in 63 countries worldwide join me in our commitment to support Rwanda in achieving its goal of having the first HIV-free generation by 2015.”
Thank you, Zonta International, for your continued commitment to the world’s children.