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Dr Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda’s UN appointment affirms Zim’s competencies

Story by Wellington Makonese

THE appointment of Dr Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda as UN Women Deputy Executive Director for Normative Support, System Coordination and Programme Results has been described as an acknowledgement of the country and Africa’s competencies in the global arena.

Born in Magaya Village in Murehwa where she attended school, Dr Gumbonzvanda like any other rural girl grew up carrying out menial work, including working in the fields to get money for schooling.

After breaking the geographical barriers, her resilience and philanthropic works took her out of the village to the heights of being recognised by the United Nations Secretary General as an envoy.

“I feel humbled, I owe this to my family community and those who have been working towards my growth, it’s a victory for the girl child born and bred here that she can go out there it’s an affirmation to us as Africa to our competences,” said Dr Gumbonzvanda.

Dr Gumbonzvanda believes her elevation is an endorsement of the country’s progressive policies.

“I’m taking the role with my head high because I will carry my country’s constitution, we have revised age of consent, I will go with my head high knowing that I have traditional leaders who are transforming the communities. We have laws that uphold human rights, and protect children and I also have responsibilities to other nations as what affects Mozambique affects all of us.”

Her appointment has inspired many, including professionals and village girls.

“She is a testimony of hard work and evidence that roots do not define destination,” said a village girl.

Another said, “We are inspired as rural girls, she grew up in this place just like me and has shown us that I can be someone great.”

“Her humility is a lesson to some of us that we grow by uplifting each other, many of us have gained employment.”

“When we heard the news, we felt like it’s us as well who have been recognized,” added another.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced the appointment of Dr Gumbonzvanda as Deputy Director for Normative Support, United Nations System Coordination and Programme Results at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

She takes over from Sarah Hendriks of Canada who is serving on an interim basis.

Dr Gumbonzvanda has vast experience in humanitarian work, having founded Rozaria Memorial Trust in Murehwa and served as General Secretary of the World Young Women’s Christian Association and United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Regional Programing Director in the East and Horn of Africa.

She has also served in the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as a Human Rights Officer in Liberia and National Child Rights Adviser in Zimbabwe.

Before UNICEF, she was the Interim Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Women’s Lawyers Association and Assistant Law Officer at the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Zimbabwe and was also appointed the first African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage.

She is a holder of a Doctors Laws degree (Honoris Causa) from the University of Massachusetts in the US, a Master in Laws degree from the University of South Africa, a Post Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation from Uppsala University in Sweden and a Bachelor of Laws (Honors) degree from the University of Zimbabwe.

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