With both sadness and excitement we bid farewell to Shona Jennings, who today leaves ChildFund New Zealand and steps into a new role with our Swedish colleagues.
As Programmes Director, Shona has led ChildFund New Zealand’s programmes team for nine and a half years. Her passion, dedication, diligence and hard work has served second-to-none not only the children and the dedicated communities overseas we work for, but also the team here in New Zealand and internationally.
"Shona has created a legacy with her dedication and her passion and focus on our programmes, our partners and the children we serve. In doing so, Shona has achieved a strong reputation both overseas with the International Non-Governmental Organisation community and the ChildFund Alliance, and in New Zealand too with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade," ChildFund New Zealand CEO Paul Brown says.
Shona has worked across all our dedicated communities - Luangwa in Zambia, Emali in Kenya, Cao Bang in Vietnam, Batticaloa in Sri Lanka, Cova-Lima and Bobonaro in Timor-Leste and across the Pacific in Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Alongside local partners, she has led the programmes team in working with each community to develop, implement and evaluate a set of community goals (a Road Map) leading to better outcomes for children through better community access to water/sanitation, health, education, family livelihoods and child protection.
Projects that Shona has been key in delivering include an agriculture and family food security project in Emali in Kenya where orange-fleshed sweet potato plots, improved dairy farming and the development of moringa crops have improved the health and educational outcomes for children; in Cao Bang in Vietnam families have been able to increase their livelihoods through community resilience projects including livestock rearing and by developing high-value cash-crops like passionfruit; in Timor-Leste youth projects have helped young people upskill and gain employment as well as build their confidence and life skills; in Batticaloa in Sri Lanka, a micro-finance scheme was successfully established and women in the community have been empowered to lead their communities in order to improve the nutrition and education of their children; and in Luangwa in Zambia, education and health has been significantly improved for children due to the development of much-needed schools and health centres.
Children have always been at the centre of work for Shona. Under her guidance, children’s safety has been paramount throughout all aspects of ChildFund’s work, which has meant that in these communities, children’s health, education, sanitation, and sense of wellbeing have all been improved - in safe and protected environments.
Perhaps though the jewel in Shona's crown is ChildFund Kiribati. Over the past near five years Shona has led ChildFund in setting up an in-country team in Betio, establishing local partnerships and working with the ChildFund Kiribati country director and team in implementing projects in youth engagement, health, sanitation and parenting. Recently too, with partnerships in place and community trust built, the Kiribati team has been able to kick into action with COVID-19 distributing information and handwashing kits to thousands of households.
Shona is leaving New Zealand but, thankfully, not ChildFund. She has been appointed as programme director with Barnfonden, the ChildFund Alliance member in Sweden.
We thank you Shona for all you have done for children and ChildFund over the years, we wish you all the very best in your adventure and we so look forward to keeping in touch. You will always have a place here and in our hearts at ChildFund New Zealand.
Your ChildFund New Zealand whanau