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Field Visit: Working with Zonta in Rwanda

Last week, I had the privilege of visiting one of the most beautiful countries on earth, Rwanda. I was there with delegates from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s longstanding partner, Zonta International—a global organization working to advance the status of women worldwide. Zonta has chosen to invest in the futures of women and children in Rwanda by supporting UNICEF’s work to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV and prevent gender-based violence. Together, Zonta International, UNICEF and its many partners are working toward—and are on track to reaching—a generation in Rwanda born free from HIV by 2015.

Zonta International and U.S. Fund for UNICEF in Rwanda

Lynn McKenzie and Pauliina Auckee from Zonta International meet with UNICEF colleagues and Rwanda Government Officials. Photo by Lynn McKenzie.

This was not my first visit to witness UNICEF’s lifesaving programs, but it was an experience that was truly unforgettable. We visited health clinics that are working to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV, One Stop Centers that are offering legal, social and health services to victims of violence, and income-generating programs that are helping women to garner job skills. At every stop I was astonished at the extent to which partners are working together with one voice and one goal: to save and protect the lives of women and children in Rwanda. Because of support from organizations like Zonta International, programs on the ground in Rwanda are working. Access to health and welfare services are increasing, leading to healthy mothers and babies. Progress is being made, and mothers have reason to hope and dream for a better future for their children and themselves.

The power of partnership cannot be emphasized enough, and I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to see the incredible impact that Zonta International, UNICEF, and its partners are making. The future is bright for the women and children of Rwanda, and we look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership with Zonta to ensure that all children have a safe and healthy childhood.

One Comment

  1. Lynn McKenzie, Zonta International President
    Posted February 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    An amazing experience Kristi, thank you for making it easy for us. Our trip shows the positive impact of collective action – Rwanda Government, Community, local NGO’s, UN organisations like UNICEF and international NGO’s like Zonta – together we can make the world a better place for women and children.

    Rwanda – a country undergoing transformational change- made possible through vision, leadership, community engagement, no tolerance for corruption and importantly for Zonta, has as one of its foundation stones- gender equality.

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