Media Business Woman Carol Bouwer Appointed Special Advocate for UNICEF South Africa’s Influential Women’s Forum
Pretoria, 12 February 2018 – UNICEF has announced the appointment of Mrs. Carol Bouwer as Special Advocate for UNICEF South Africa’s Influential Women’s Forum.
Taking stock of the many public and private initiatives already occurring in the country to tackle violence against children, it is UNICEF’s firm conviction that there is a need to establish a forum to mobilize a group of dynamic female leaders and philanthropists from across South Africa to bring about their acumen in enhancing the protection of children from violence and abuse.
The key role played by Mrs. Bouwer over the last few years in facilitating a series of high-level engagements between UNICEF and influential government leaders, private sector executives and high net-worth individuals and, in hosting events to advance the child agenda in South Africa led to the decision to formalise this partnership. By appointing Mrs. Bouwer, UNICEF wishes to recognize her genuine commitment to the cause of UNICEF and children, express its support for the establishment of the Influential Women’s Forum to be led by Mrs. Bouwer, and facilitate her endeavor in advancing this cause. - Herve Ludovic de Lys, UNICEF South Africa’s Representative
A media company owner and founder and CEO of Carol Bouwer productions, Mrs. Bouwer is also known for her long service to the Amy Biehl Foundation as a board member where they have impacted the lives of less advantaged youth positively. Mrs. Bouwer also hosted and still produces, the popular, long-running SABC2 talk show ‘Motswako’. Her passion for the arts combined with her gender activism saw her establish the Mbokodo Awards in 2012, a platform she took to the UN General Assembly in New York for the first time in 2017 to advance dialogue on gender-based violence. Her commitment to philanthropy is unquestionable and it is through her volunteer support to the public-private partnership ‘Techno Girl’ job-shadowing programme for girls from disadvantaged communities that UNICEF was first exposed to Mrs. Bouwer’ social activism for children. She also serves on the Second Chance panel, an NGO that provides care for young people and adults recovering from substance abuse.
Child protection and care is a key focus of the Government of South Africa and this commitment is best reflected in the massive investments made to ensure the delivery of quality health, education and protection services to our youngest citizens. Yet too many children still experience violence and abuse that cause lasting physical, mental and emotional harm and jeopardize their ability to become responsible, self-reliant and productive members of society.
Between 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys experience some form of violence prior to age 18 and many of them experience repeated and multiple forms of violence, most often by people they are close to and in places where they should feel safe - at home, in their communities and in schools. In disadvantaged communities, children often lack opportunities and safe spaces to learn, play and just enjoy their childhood.
Unless South Africa curbs the current levels of violence against children, it will be difficult to harness the full development potential of its younger generations. Mobilising influential women leaders is therefore crucial to advancing the agenda for mothers and children in general and to curtailing violence in particular. We are confident that the leadership of Mrs. Bouwer in mobilising influential women leaders will be a robust contribution in advancing one of UNICEF’ global and national priorities: ending violence against children, concluded Mr. Ludovic de Lys.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in over 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special efforts on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children everywhere.
Working with a range of partners, UNICEF has had a presence in South Africa since the end of apartheid and continues to work towards bettering the lives of all children in the country.
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