"I don’t get enough time to spend with my 10 year-old son, so I would dedicate the day to him and do whatever he wants."
Q&A With Vicky Chuwa, UNICEF Tanzania
HIV/AIDS Specialist, Dar es Salaam
If you had to describe your job to a 5 year old, how would you explain it?
I work with young people to make sure they have the correct information to help them live healthy lives so they can grow up to become healthy adults. I also help children who are sick to get the medicine that they need, as well as the love, care, and support, so that they can also grow up to become healthy adults and achieve their hopes and dreams.
Describe how you became a UNICEF employee.
Growing up, I knew that I wanted to work with an organisation that worked with children, and I had opportunities, while I was a student during my holidays, to volunteer for UNICEF. I was also very fortunate to get a three-month internship with UNICEF in Tanzania immediately after my graduation, an experience that I valued very much, and made me determined more than ever to one day come back and work with UNICEF, either in my country or abroad. After my three months with UNICEF, I joined Family Health International where I worked for four years as a Project Officer in the biggest AIDS Project funded by USAID in Tanzania. After four years, I left to pursue my Masters in Public Health, and upon my return, joined USAID, where I worked for seven years. There I was involved in the initiation and roll out of the PEPFAR programme in Tanzania. One of my friends who knew of my interest in working at UNICEF told me that a post for an HIV/AIDS Specialist had been advertised. I applied for the post and was recruited. I believe that my qualifications and experience, as well my knowledge of the landscape, networks and past performance were the key factors that contributed to my successful application and employment with UNICEF.
Any specific tips for getting noticed when applying for jobs like yours?
I think having the right qualifications and relevant past experience with international organisations was key in me getting noticed. Also, having worked on HIV/AIDS over a long period of time in Tanzania, I had established formal and informal networks and these may have been helpful (I hope!). Excellent references were also a plus.
Children’s Radio Foundation covers ICASA Conference
One recurring theme at the ICASA Conference on AIDS and STIs, underway now in Cape Town, South Africa, is the need for better engagement with young people about HIV prevention. The Children’s Radio Foundation, a UNICEF-supported initiative active in five African countries, is helping to do just that.
Journalists from the foundation are scouring the halls at ICASA for interviews with experts in the epidemic. In the picture above, reporter Brighton Kauma interviews UNAIDS Executive Director MIchel Sidibe.
Brighton and others like him explain HIV prevention in terms that their peers can understand and appreciate.
"You have to be very creative in how you package the message, so that the young people can be interested to listen," says another young radio journalist, 16-year-old Katongo Kampemba of Zambia. "I am here with my colleagues to report on HIV and AIDS because it affects us very much as young people."
The foundation operates in Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It exists to train young people in journalism skills. Their work is heard in their home countries and, sometimes, around the world.
"Issues need to be disseminated to, and accepted by, young people in Africa," says Shantha Bloemen, chief of communications for UNICEF’s Africa Service Unit, "and the best way is to use the young people themselves. The packages they are producing here will go back to reach out to their colleagues."
"This is building the skills of young journalists, which is critical to the future of Africa," Bloemen says. "Africa needs a new cadre of journalists who will help in (its) development."
Our latest ICASA newsletter - the fourth in a series - is out now, in collaboration with Inter Press Service and partners including UNAIDS and UNFPA. ICASA is Africa’s biggest conference on the HIV, AIDS and STIs. It’s underway now in Cape Town, South Africa.
Among the articles inside:
- How the “Double Dividend” action framework can improve efficiency for children living with HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa
- Dr Julitta Onabanjo of UNFPA on the importance of putting young people at the centre of reproductive health
- Uganda’s growing awareness of the health needs of sexual minoritities, including trans women sex workers living with HIV
The newsletter can be downloaded as a .pdf by clicking on the image above. We hope that you find it valuable.
The 17th ICASA conference, underway now, is Africa’s biggest gathering on HIV, AIDS and STIs. We’ve partnered with other UN agencies and the Inter Press Service to put out a newsletter on conference events.
Click here to download the .pdf version of the third in the newsletter series.
Over the weekend, UNICEF hosted a panel in South Africa on the response to paediatric HIV in the 22 African countries where the burden of the epidemic is greatest. The event took place in conjunction with the start of ICASA, a pan-African conference on AIDS and STIs now underway in Cape Town. Health ministers from the high-burden countries were among the attendees.
We presented the ministers with a new action framework for children living with HIV. It’s designed to help countries to blend HIV testing and services into other child health and survival programs. That means greater efficiency, broader reach, and - ultimately - more lives saved.
Our HIV and AIDS team is at ICASA now. We’ll have updates here and on our Twitter feed at @unicef_aids.
Photo credit: ©unicef/frisone/2013
"Children should be the first to benefit from our successes in defeating HIV, and the last to suffer from our failures."
- Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF
We’ve been working hard on the latest in UNICEF’s series of reports on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact on infants, children, adolescents and young people.
UNICEF is scheduled to launch its Sixth Stocktaking Report (2013) on Friday 29 November. Much has changed since we published the fifth edition of the report in 2010, including the growing use of simplified treatment - also known as WHO Option B+ - for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
For the first time, the report will be primarily digital. It offers the option to download the document itself, the executive summary and supporting materials such as charts and tables. It includes new country data, key facts, stories related to the epidemic and more.
This year’s edition uses a new approach to HIV and AIDS programming, centred on the first and second decades of a child’s life. It focuses on eliminating mother-to-child transmission and on the unique needs of adolescents affected by the epidemic.
From 29 November, you can find the report and its accompanying materials at www.childrenandaids.org.
An early response to the Gates Foundation’s call for a “next-generation condom.” Sometimes a bit of cheekiness helps when you’re out to change sexual behavior and prevent new HIV infections.
UNITE FOR CHILDREN - UNITE AGAINST AIDS
In Swaziland, a national push for an HIV-free generation
On March 22, the Government of Swaziland launched a framework to mount the final push toward achieving the goal of eliminating new HIV infections among children and improving the health of women within the next two years.
Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world. In 2010, an estimated 41 per cent of pregnant women in the country were infected with HIV.
Watch as we report on programmes in Swaziland that are helping HIV-positive parents lead healthy lives and have HIV-free children.
You can read more here