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My name is Emmanuel Adare, but my friends call me Kuuku. In 2012, I joined UNFPA as a staff in the IT department, where I have worked for almost 8 years now. I can say with no hesitation that my time at UNFPA Ghana has been a fulfilling experience.

Albeit being in the IT department, which to many seems like a department with limited engagement that functions in the background, I have had the opportunity to learn much about the mandate of the organisation. One thing that I really appreciate is the valuable efforts being made to end gender-based violence and the high premium placed on youth inclusion.

I grew up learning from the example of my parents who did not resort to fighting when there was a dispute. I never saw my father lift his hand to hit my mother or do anything that infringed on her rights as a person. Thus, when I grew up and realised that the ideal home that I was privileged to have is not a reality for so many women and girls, and even some men, I was saddened. This is why I believe and unflinchingly support efforts at changing behavioural norms of society so that there is zero tolerance to all forms of gender-based violence.

Another area in which UNFPA is a leading light of which I am an example, it the value placed on the ability of young people to make meaningful contributions to sustainable development, when given the opportunity to grow. I joined the organisation as a young person, and over the years, I have observed the consistent increase in value that is placed on developing young people’s potential. For instance, more and more interns are joining the office, and over the past year, the novel Youth Leaders Fellowship Programme was rolled out to give more specialised capacity building to young people in the organisation. These young people are being engaged in programming and decision making, and are contributing to the output of the office. A second cohort of the fellowship has been inaugurated, and based on what I observed last year, the prospects of vibrancy, edge and efficiency that the office is going to benefit from, excites me.

It warms my heart to see this because I understand the importance of supporting young people in their career growth through mentoring and guidance. I was privileged to do my National Service with a UN agency, where I was much younger than most of my colleagues at the time. Based on recommendations, I moved to work with a sister UN organisation, and finally landed a job at UNFPA Ghana where I was the youngest member of staff. Here, I benefitted from the overwhelming support from colleagues in my work as the IT focal point for the organization. For this I am eternally grateful.

Last year, I was proud to be a part of the UNFPA Ghana family when we celebrated fifty (50) years of our existence and twenty-five (25) years since the adoption of the ICPD Programme of Action. I was also proud to be Ghanaian, due to my knowledge of the major role that a senior compatriot, the late Professor Fred T. Sai, played in the putting together of the ICPD Programme of Action. He and other leaders of UNFPA at country and global level are an inspiration to us.