BY OLORUNSOLA JOHN OLUDAISI with agency report
Lydia Zigomo has been appointed Regional Director of UNFPA East and Southern Africa.
A human rights lawyer and international development and humanitarian leader, she takes over from Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, the outgoing Regional Director ad interim.
Ms. Zigomo, a Zimbabwean national, previously served as Global Programmes Director for Oxfam International in Kenya, where she also spent four years as Regional Director for the Horn, East, and Central Africa region. Prior to that, she served as Water Aid’s Regional Director in East Africa for more than ten years.
Ms. Zigomo holds a master’s degree in civil liberties and human rights law from the University of Leicester, and a bachelor of laws honours degree from the University of Zimbabwe. She was also an Eisenhower Fellow in 2001 and a former participant of the British Council Leadership Programme in Zimbabwe.
“UNFPA’s vision of achieving a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled is close to my heart,” Ms. Zigomo said.
“My focus as Regional Director will be to intensify efforts to achieve UNFPA’s three transformative results – ending preventable maternal deaths, ending unintended pregnancies by meeting the demand for family planning, as well as ending gender-based violence and harmful practices such as child marriage by 2030.”
“As we begin to emerge from the challenging years of COVID-19, which severely strained health system service delivery and set back our mandate in the region, we will approach each day with agile solutions, ingenuity and strengthened resolve to ensure that we leave no woman or adolescent girl behind,” she said.