United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative for Guyana and Suriname, Ms. Marianne Flach who will be focusing on mainstreaming the fund’s multi-sectoral work with indigenous populations, as well as ensuring a more systematic approach to social issues and child protection, yesterday presented her Letter of Credence to Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett.
The Minister noted that Flach’s appointment comes at an interesting and important time for Guyana as it focuses on issues such corporal punishment, child and maternal mortality which are some of the issues that UNICEF will help to play a role in addressing.
Her appointment is viewed as a signal of UNICEF’s continued commitment to improving the lives of children and women in Guyana according to the minister, and government is happy to have a “very good partnership with UNICEF and other United Nations agencies”.
Ms Flach vowed to continue to assist government in the fight to reduce child mortality,
“Our focus will on neo natal mortality, that is the children who die before reaching the age of one month, together with maternal mortality because it goes very much together”. UNICEF will also place focus on malnutrition, HIV mother to child transmission, quality of education, corporal punishment, trafficking, sexual violence and will assist the Guyana Police Force with efforts to enhance its ability to address needs of vulnerable persons affected by domestic violence.
Prior to joining UNICEF, Ms. Flach was the Deputy Regional Director for Helen Keller International in the West-Africa region and also in DR-Congo. She has also spearheaded a World Food Programme food aid and training programme in Bangladesh, which focused on policy development and empowering women.
Flach succeeds Dr. Suleiman Braimoh, who completed his assignment in Guyana earlier this month. Ms. Flach is a national of the Netherlands, and previously served as UNICEF’s Representative in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), before being assigned to the Guyana-Suriname Office.
She has over 20 years of experience in rural development, with more than 12 years in management positions, in both Africa and Asia, in the area of food security, nutrition, health, water and sanitation
She takes the helm of the UNICEF Guyana and Suriname office, during in the second year of the new programme of cooperation between the Government of Guyana and UNICEF for the period 2012-2016.
During this five-year Country Programme, UNICEF is working with Guyana to develop capacities for results-based planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of equity and gender-sensitive policies, legislation and programmes for children and women. [GINA]