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South Africa, 21 May 2018: “We have heard your call and would like to join hands” – UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Tlape
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore meets with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on 7 May 2018.

JOHANNESBURG/PRETORIA, South Africa, 6-10 May 2018 – From meeting the President of the country to being interviewed by youth reporters, from speaking with young mothers about their hopes and dreams to inspiring girl learners, Executive Director Henrietta Fore had a full and productive trip to South Africa.

Attending the Regional Management Team Meeting for East and Southern Africa in Johannesburg, the Executive Director took the opportunity of this mission to visit programmes supported by UNICEF South Africa in order to enhance her insights into the impact of the work being done by UNICEF in the country.

In Alexandra township in Johannesburg, Ms. Fore met with girl learners who form part of the TechnoGirl programme which is supported by UNICEF and other partners. TechnoGirl affords female high school students who are studying Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics the opportunity to gain internships and mentorships at large corporates. In her dialogue with these dynamic young leaders, Ms. Fore highlighted the importance of education and perseverance. Following this meeting, the Executive Director was interviewed by the Young Reporters from the Children’s Radio Foundation, an initiative supported by UNICEF. In a lively exchange of ideas, the Young Reporters shared their ideas on how they are uplifting their respective communities through the power of media and telling stories.

© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Hearfield
UNICEF Executive Director meets with young mothers at the Soshanguve Clinic outside Pretoria on 8 May 2018.

UNICEF South Africa works actively in supporting maternal care-programmes in the country, hence the Executive Director had the opportunity to visit a clinic in Soshanguve outside Pretoria where she met with young mothers. Confident and informed, the young women spoke of issues that are important to them including the benefits of breastfeeding as well as how they work to challenge prejudices in their respective communities.

One of the highlights of the visit was a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa who became South Africa’s head of state in February 2018. Issues discussed included the need for all children to have access to sanitation facilities, the importance of early childhood development centres as well as the urgent need to provide internship and employment opportunities for young people. Both President Ramaphosa and Executive Director Fore share a belief in the power of private-public partnerships as well as the need for active, sustainable youth engagement programmes. In thanking the Executive Director for her visit, President Ramaphosa noted that his government ““firmly believes in the work that the UN is doing in addressing challenges that young people are facing today.” In her response, the Executive Director pledged the ongoing support of UNICEF to helping South Africa achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, informing the President that “we have heard your call and would like to join hands.”

The visit of the Executive Director culminated in a gathering at the offices of UNICEF South Africa where she met with the Staff Association and then with all staff in a relaxed and open session on the terrace of the UNICEF office.

Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, 24 years ago, UNICEF has worked extensively to better the lives of children in the country. The visit of Executive Director Fore is a timely and tangible reminder that this journey continues through our collective efforts to leave no child behind.



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