WHO and UNV launch the second phase of Africa Women Health Champions initiative on International Women's Day 2023

The World Health Organization's African Region (WHO-AFRO) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme today launched the second phase of the Africa Women Health Champions (AWHC) initiative to recruit young African women professionals to help drive the region's health agendas and objectives.  

Following the successful implementation of the first phase, the AWHC initiative continues its mission of placing young African women professionals aged between 22 and 35 years as UN Volunteer health champions across WHO Country Offices in Africa. Through the initiative, WHO-AFRO and UNV commit to improving health for people on the continent, expanding opportunities for African public health professionals, and nurturing the next generation of women health leaders in Africa, while contributing to gender parity for the WHO workforce.

Based on the success of the first phase, it is with pleasure that I announce the launch of the second phase starting today. With the partnership of the UNV programme and the support of all the country offices, we aim to recruit more young women who are determined to contribute to the continent’s development in the health sector as UN Volunteers.” -- Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional  Director for Africa.

The Africa Women Health Champions initiative has been a resounding success, with 120 women health champions deployed in 38 countries, representing 36 nationalities, and from more than 25 professional fields. The health champions contributed to response efforts by WHO to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ebola epidemic, the cholera outbreak, and other health emergencies in the region. Professional areas of the deployment included public health, emergency health surveillance, food security, biomedical engineering, and laboratory technology, among others.

There is still much to do to achieve better health for everyone on the continent. Today, WHO and UNV are starting the second phase of the initiative. With more scale and new ambition. With focus on diversity. With outreach to underrepresented countries.” -- Mr. Toily Kurbanov, UNV Executive Coordinator.

The second phase of the AWHC initiative will run for 24 months, offering young professionals from the African continent exciting career opportunities to engage in public health initiatives in priority result areas for WHO. The health champions will be placed as national and international UN Volunteers in WHO country offices and at WHO Africa Regional Office. The second phase of the initiative will focus more on expanding health career development opportunities, increasing diversity, and engagement of underrepresented countries.



For more information:

WHO Regional Office in Africa: Collins Boakye-Agyemang, Communications Officer.

UNV Regional Office for West and Central Africa: Aminah Mbacke, Communication Analyst.

UNV Regional Office for East and South Africa: Kevin Ochieng, UNV Communication Analyst.