The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Zimbabwean Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda as deputy executive director for Normative Support, United Nations System Coordination and Program Results at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).
In an exclusive interview with VOA Zimbabwe Service, Gumbondzvanda said, “I feel humbled and challenged by being trusted, by the confidence that has been bestowed in me. I was born in my village, grew up in my village and have worked in various positions and so to just know that little girls in our communities can grow professionally, can be nurtured, supported and mentored and take such positions, is very significant for me. It is also I feel, very significant for the work I have done for decades with girls and young women in marginalized communities.”
Gumbodzvanda urged governments to prioritize equality of opportunities between men and women.
In a press statement announcing the appointment, the UN said, “Ms. Gumbonzvanda is the Founder and Executive Director for Rozaria Memorial Trust based in Zimbabwe. Prior to that, she served as the General Secretary of the World Young Women’s Christian Association and United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Regional Programming 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 joining UNICEF, she served as the Interim Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association and Assistant Law Officer at the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Constitutional Affairs of Zimbabwe.
In 2014, Gumbonzvanda, a trained human rights lawyer, was appointed the Africa Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriages.
Ms. Gumbonzvanda holds a Doctor of Laws degree (Honoris Causa) from the University of Massachusetts in the United States, 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 (Honours) degree from the University of Zimbabwe.
Gumbodzvanda is the second Zimbabwean to be appointed to such a powerful post at the United Nations. In 2015, then United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Fadzai Gwaradzimba as the Assistant Secretary-General for Safety and Security.