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As we close another memorable and challenging year, allow me to take a moment to reflect on and take pride in how we remained committed to changing the lives of women and girls against the backdrop of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

In my role of Regional Director a.i. for UNFPA East and Southern Africa, I am in awe of how the UNFPA family and partners navigated the eddies with resilience, and how we rose high when wave after wave of challenges pulled us low. From the pandemic to climate-related issues, conflicts and other problems buffeting our region, our perseverance, passion and commitment enabled us to rise above all these.

As we wrap up the year, our lessons and experiences will bring us to the next year with more vigour, clarity and optimism. The new UNFPA Strategic Plan is our blueprint and our collective call to action. What this means is that we need to speed up our pace, lace our hands more tightly with development partners, and run together to reach the end of the relay  achieving the ICPD Programme of Action and the three truly transformative results by 2030.

With your continued commitment that will bring us to the next year and our drive to reach the finish line of 2030, let us remain relentless in not letting go of our vision  our ideal world where empowered women and girls of East and Southern Africa can walk freely with full human rights, live in dignity, and contribute to building the future we all want.

May the Holiday Season bring us more hope and resilience to our region, our communities, and our families.

Warm regards,

Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi
Regional Director, a.i.
UNFPA East and Southern Africa