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Newly-appointed UNICEF Chief in Pakistan lauded Saudi Support

photo_unicef_oct30-2014Lahore: The newly-appointed UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Angela Kearney, has said that Pakistan made significant progress in protecting and promoting the Child Rights in last years, adding that due to increasing number of polio cases in Pakistan one of the major challenges and priorities in her new function would be UNICEF’s continuous support to the country’s polio eradication programme. She made these remarks while presenting her credentials to the Government of Pakistan, here in Islamabad.

In the framework of the country’s UN Delivering as One Programme Ms. Kearney, a national of New Zealand, informed that she first joined UNICEF in 1998, as an emergency officer in Sudan, while In 2002 she transferred to Afghanistan as Deputy Representative.and now in Pakistan she will head a multi-sectorial operation in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, as well as in education and child protection across the country.

Before coming to Pakistan she was the UNICEF Representative in Indonesia. For four month following the Typhoon Haiyan disaster in the Philippines she led the UNICEF emergency response. She has also been the UNICEF Representative in Angola from 2006 to 2009 and in Liberia from 2003 to 2006.

“As we are approaching the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child to which Pakistan is signatory, I can see that the country has made significant progress in protecting and promoting the rights of its youngest and most vulnerable citizens,” said Ms. Kearney. “Much more needs to be done, however, to ensure that each child has a good start in life with access to health care, vaccination, a balanced and sufficient diet, education, hygiene and clean water. Most importantly all children must be protected from violence and abuse”, she further said.

Angela Kearney, while addressing at another ceremony, also expressed her gratitude to the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) for its support towards improving the teaching and learning environment through its generous contribution to provide furniture and other necessary supplies to schools in KP and FATA.

With funds from SFD, UNICEF has hand-overed school supplies including furniture, IT and library equipment of worth 14.4 Million US Dollars to the Education Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for more than 1,000 schools including 343 girls’ schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) benefitting more than 128,000 students and teachers.

“The importance of a good school environment cannot be overemphasised to ensure quality teaching and learning and most importantly the holistic grown of the child.” Ms. Kearney addressed.

The handover ceremony was attended by Jassim M. Al-Khaldi, Acting Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a high level SFD delegation led by Saeed Almshaikhi, Chief Specialist. On the occasion, the Director, Curriculum and Teacher Education, Bashir Hussain Shah received the school supplies.

Angela Kearney brings with her more than twenty years of experience in leading positions in protecting and promoting child rights.

Before working for UNICEF Angela Kearney held various positions within Save the Children in Iraq, Angola and Afghanistan. She is well familiar with the region as she was also Regional Coordination Officer with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in this Northern neighbour country of Pakistan from 1997-1998.

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