Fatima-Zahra Benyahia is an international UN Volunteer Partnership and Innovation Specialist with UNFPA Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) since March 2022. She amplifies the voices of women and girls by documenting and sharing their stories.
Fatima-Zahra has been a volunteer for the civil society since 2008. After she began her UN Volunteer assignment, she wanted to connect with people especially youth, women and girls who benefit from UNFPA initiatives. In her role, she documents stories centering on issues of stigma and reasons that prevent women, girls, and youth from fulfilling their potential such as child marriage, early pregnancy, maternal death, and gender-based violence.
In collaboration with other colleagues, I build communication tools to raise awareness about women and girls’ rights, promoting them and their life stories to raise their voices at the national, regional and global scene," says Fatima-Zahra.
Fatima-Zahra has written more than 50 human interest stories highlighting the support UNFPA provides women and girls. The support includes family planning measures, sexual and reproductive health services, midwifery, access to comprehensive sexuality education, women empowerment, and vocational training.
The most gratifying part of my assignment is telling the stories of women and girls who we aim to see powerful, empowered, capable and able to enjoy their rights and lives,” says Fatima-Zahra.
As a UN Volunteer, Fatima-Zahra seeks partnership opportunities for projects to promote women's rights and their empowerment. She also monitors the impact of UNFPA programmes .
Her typical day at work includes overseeing UNFPA partnership contracts and requirements of donors, participating in project proposals, writing success stories, and highlighting emerging issues of women and youth.
Fatima-Zahra and her operations team help setup the activities for women empowerment. Through concrete documentation, she also ensures that donors see the impact of UNFPA’s programmes so their economic support to ongoing projects remains intact.
Fatima-Zahra is an example of a female professional who demonstrates UNV and UN values. She has a passion to learn, looks for solutions and embraces the values of advancing rights and choices for women and girls." -- Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative in Lao PDR.
Fatima-Zahra Benyahia (third from left) international UN Volunteer Partnership and Innovation Specialist manning UNFPA booth at International Youth Day 2022 in Vientiane. @ UNV, 2022.
Besides supporting UNFPA's commitments, she inspires a positive attitude wherever she goes. She believes positivity gives way to more positivity that people around her can learn from.
I strongly believe that by giving opportunities to other women, as it was given to me, we ensure women continue to grow, to gain confidence and show to the world what women are capable of," she Fatima-Zahra.