Friday, May 11, 2007

ADRA Names New Country Director for Sierra Leone and The Gambia

Silver Spring, Maryland—The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) announces the appointment of Beryl Aseno-Nyamwange as country director for ADRA Sierra Leone and ADRA Gambia. The appointment became effective January 15, 2007.

"Beryl is very purpose driven and organized, and I trust that she will make a difference in the lives of many in Sierra Leone and The Gambia," says Birgit Philipsen, director for the ADRA Africa regional office in Nairobi. "Her youthful enthusiasm is infectious. She is the right person for the job, who will use her abilities to benefit thousands as they strive to create a better life for themselves and their families."

As director of the Sierra Leone and The Gambia offices, Aseno-Nyamwange is responsible for the administration and supervision of all aspects of the offices, including hiring, recruiting, and training qualified staff, as well as managing project activities and securing project funding. She will represent the country offices to the ADRA network and other humanitarian agencies, and to local donor agencies, media, and governmental organizations.

Sierra Leone, located on the coast of West Africa, has struggled with civil war for more than a decade. One of the poorest countries in the world, it has a literacy rate of less than 50 percent and one of the highest mortality rates for children under five years of age.

"I envision education, health, economic development, and food security projects throughout the country," states Aseno-Nyamwange. "By enabling young women and men to have an education through adult literacy programs and girls' scholarships, and securing the future of children through malaria prevention and health education programs, coupled with a boost to body immunity through agriculture projects that ensure adequate food production and consumption, the vision of ADRA Sierra Leone-improving the quality of life-becomes a reality," she continues.

The Gambia is the smallest country on the continent of Africa and faces such environmental hazards as drought, desertification, and deforestation. Water-borne diseases are also prevalent. To minimize the risks of infectious and water-borne diseases, promote better health for the general population, and help ease The Gambia's high unemployment rate, Aseno-Nyamwange plans projects that will increase access to clean water and increase food production.

"I look forward to collaborating and forming partnerships with other humanitarian agencies to identify real needs among the vulnerable populations and a develop a plan of action to meet those needs and enable communities to take ownership of the projects through participation and decision-making," she concludes.

Prior to her appointment as country director for ADRA Sierra Leone and ADRA Gambia, Aseno-Nyamwange served as program coordinator, programs and planning director, and interim country director for ADRA Togo.

In addition, she has worked in Somalia as a project manager and administrator for the Horn of Africa Relief and Development Organization (Horn Relief) and as a program assistant and trainer for the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development (GECPD).

Aseno-Nyamwange earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Eastern Africa Baraton, in Eldoret, Kenya, where she studied foods and nutrition. She went on to earn a master's in communication from Daystar University in Nairobi, writing her thesis on creating effective support communication strategies for socially marginalized groups, such as HIV and AIDS orphan caregivers, in Nairobi.

Fluent in English, French, Swahili, and Dholuo, Aseno-Nyamwange and her husband, Joseph, reside in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

ADRA is present in 125 countries, providing community development and emergency management without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, or ethnicity.

Additional information about ADRA can be found at www.adra.org.

Link to Reuters AlertNet - ADRA Names New Country Director for Sierra Leone and The Gambia