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New UNICEF Representative in Rwanda

Rwanda, August 19, 2011: At a meeting in Kigali this afternoon, UNICEF’s newly appointed Representative to Rwanda, Ms. Noala Skinner, presented her credentials to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“It is an honour to serve as UNICEF’s Representative to Rwanda,” said Ms. Skinner, after her meeting. “Rwanda has the vision, the commitment and a clear track record in realising children’s rights. UNICEF remains committed, as part of the UN family, to accompanying Rwanda in transforming the nation, empowering families and reaching the most vulnerable children and women.”

Rwanda is one of eight pilot countries in the world that elected to implement a reform, which brought together all UN agencies in the country under one programming framework. Two-thirds of all expected results under this framework relate to improvements in the lives of children and women.

According to Ms. Skinner, investing in children so that they grow up healthy, well nourished, educated, protected and able to develop to their full potential is the best investment any person, partner or country can make. She also expressed her commitment to deepening UNICEF’s cooperation across the health, education and social protection areas.

Ms. Skinner has been with UNICEF since 1998 serving in Geneva, Kosovo, New York and Viet Nam, the latter, where she was responsible for leading UNICEF’s education programme. She has also developed advocacy and social mobilisation strategies in support of basic education, health, HIV and protection.

Prior to taking up her post in  Rwanda, Ms. Skinner served as UNICEF Representative to Montenegro from 2007 to 2011, where she positioned UNICEF assistance in a middle income country context, with a focus on  programmes related to legal reform and policy development for children, de-institutionalisation, juvenile justice, social protection and, inclusion of children with disabilities.

She is a national of the United Kingdom. She holds a Masters degree from the University of Cambridge in History, and a Masters in Diplomacy and International Relations from the University of Lancaster. Prior to joining UNICEF, Ms Skinner worked as a Research Associate with Common Security Forum (CSF) a network of academics and policy makers, with institutional bases in Cambridge and Harvard Universities, coordinating CSF Research Programmes on Children and Security.

Rwanda has experienced a remarkable recovery since the 1994 genocide. Known today for its good governance record and its “Vision 2020” to transform itself from a subsistence-based agricultural economy to a regional hub for business, the country has also achieved remarkable progress in accelerating child survival and primary school enrolment.



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