In honor of Women’s History Month, three young girls Tanatswa Chiura (12 years old), Mellissah Jamare (16 years old), and Shirley Baloyi (18 years old), took over the World Health Organization (WHO) Zimbabwe office on March 29, 2023 as part of UN Women Zimbabwe’ Girls Take Over Initiative. WHO Zimbabwe focused on encouraging and empowering the girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Highlighting the importance of inspiring young girls to break gender barriers and pursue their dreams in traditionally male-dominated fields.
During their visit, the girls engaged with female staff members from WHO, who shared their own experiences and offered valuable advice on pursuing a career in health and science. Additionally, the girls received personalized mentorship from WHO Zimbabwe Technical Officers, Dr Muchaneta Mugabe and Dr Tsitsi Siwela, who took the opportunity to impart their knowledge on what it takes to become a doctor.
The girls also participated in a variety of activities, including a tour of the WHO Zimbabwe offices and attending a high-level meeting on the Cholera outbreak. This meeting provided them with the chance to learn more about the important work that WHO Zimbabwe does to support The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) in Zimbabwe.
One of the girls, Mellissah Jamare, expressed her excitement about learning about the work of the organization, as she aspires to become a doctor and work there one day. Mellissah was grateful for the opportunity to gain guidance from accomplished doctors on the subjects she needs to study to achieve her dream. She was particularly inspired by the journeys of Dr Mugabe and Dr Siwela, which gave her confidence that she too can achieve her dreams.
A total of 20 girls took part in the Girls take-over Initiative at different organizations including WHO Zimbabwe. The initiative was designed by UN Women and the Zimbabwe Youth Council as part of the Women’s History Month commemorations and in line with the UN Youth 2030 strategy on working with and for youth. The overall goal was to inspire intergenerational leadership and mentorship by offering girls a shadowing experience and an opportunity to interact with and learn from foremost leaders in Government, Private Sector, Civil Society, UN Agencies, Embassies and Development Partners among other professionals within Zimbabwe.
“Empowering women starts with protecting girls, and UN Women is dedicated to spearheading and coordinating efforts within the United Nations System to ensure that commitments to gender equality and mainstreaming are implemented across various sectors and levels in Zimbabwe,” says Ms. Fatou Aminata Lo, UN Women Country Representative.
The WHO Zimbabwe Country Representative a.i, Professor Jean-Marie Dangou, highlighted that women account for only 30% of the global scientific research workforce. He emphasized that empowering girls to pursue STEM careers is crucial for achieving gender equality and improving global health outcomes.
The Girls Takeover activities at the WHO Zimbabwe office were instrumental in inspiring more girls to pursue careers in STEM fields and contribute to the advancement of Health For All.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organzation (WHO) – Zimbabwe.