By Staff Reporter
Newly appointed UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale, presented his credentials Thursday to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Hon. Frederick Shava.
Dr. Oyewale takes the helm of the UN Children’s Fund in Zimbabwe and will oversee the development and implementation of the new UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation in the country.
He takes over from the previous representative, Ms. Laylee Moshiri.
Accepting Dr. Oyewale’s credentials, Minister Shava said: “I look forward to working closely with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under your leadership as we seek to promote and fulfil children’s rights in Zimbabwe. I am confident that through your leadership, the relations between Zimbabwe and UNICEF will continue to grow. Zimbabwe is committed to deepening this collaboration and joint efforts in health, child protection and education.”
The Minister added that the Government was grateful for the continued humanitarian assistance extended by UNICEF to Zimbabwe via collaboration with various Ministries to address among other challenges, the impact of natural disasters and pandemics.
Speaking on the ongoing efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister shava said: “Despite the achievements in dealing with COVID-19 so far, there was a lot of work ahead particularly on addressing vaccine hesitancy in the public as Zimbabwe works towards achieving head immunity.
Dr. Oyewale has worked with UNICEF for 19 years. He started his career working as a Medical Doctor in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2002 he joined UNICEF working as the HIV/AIDS and Adolescent Participation Specialist for UNICEF Nigeria based in Abuja.
Prior to his new assignment, he was the UNICEF Deputy Representative in Pakistan with a responsibility for the formulation, management and oversight of UNICEF’s programmes, humanitarian action, and partnerships with the Government, development partners and the private sector. Prior to that he was the UNICEF Acting Representative and Deputy Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Dr Oyewale has also undertaken postings to Bangladesh and Indonesia as well as high level programme and management roles in UNICEF Headquarters in New York.
Dr Oyewale said: “My primary goal is to support the Government in ensuring the development of children in Zimbabwe. I commend the Government of Zimbabwe on the development and adoption of the National Development Strategy 1, which has a comprehensive coverage of children issues. I commit to supporting the Government in its implementation and the achievement of its vision.”
He also informed that UNICEF Zimbabwe was in the process of developing a new Country Programme which will guide programming from 2022 to 2026 and count on the continuing engagement of the Government and Development Partners in this process.
“The new country programme will aim at sustaining gains achieved and improve on areas of health, education, nutrition, WASH, child protection, HIV/AIDS and adolescent development. It will also support the Government’s devolution agenda through public finance analysis and management, social policy and social protection, ” Dr Oyewale.
The Representative commended the Government of Zimbabwe on its COVID-19 response, which has seen the country successfully containing the COVID-19 situation as well as launching the free National Vaccination Programme. He however encouraged the country to guard against complacency.
Dr. Oyewale holds Doctor of Literature and Philosophy (Dlitt Et Phil) in Health Studies from the University of Pretoria, a Master of Public Health from the University of South Africa and Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Degree from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos in Nigeria.