Winifred ‘Winnie’ KaragwaByanyima, the wife of Dr. Kizza Besigye has been named as the new Executive Director of the United Nations AIDS agency (UNAIDS).
A statement from the office of the UN Secretary General noted that: “United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed of Uganda as the next Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).”
Byanyima beat all four men that were competing with her for the important job. The selection process was led by the Co-sponsoring Organizations and chaired by Dr. Natalia Kanem, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the process included interviews and consultations with Governments and other concerned parties through the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board.
Byanyima succeeds Michel Sidibé who was appointed as Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Mali. The Secretary-General is grateful for Dr. Sidibé’s leadership of UNAIDS from 2009 to 2019 at the forefront of the global response to HIV and AIDS.
Following the appointment, Byanyima pledged to dedicate her energy to achieving the global target of ending the epidemic by 2030.
She posted on her Twitter count saying: “An honour 2 be asked 2 lead the UN & global HIV response! I embrace the role with humility, passion & faith that we can end this pandemic by 2030. I look fwd to joining @UNAIDS team & working closely with co-sponsors & partners 2 remove barriers to prevention, treatment & care.”
Guterreshailed Byanyima’s experience noting that: “ Byanyimabrings a wealth of experience and commitment in harnessing the power of government, multilateral agencies, the private sector and civil society to end the HIV and AIDS crisis for communities around the world.
Byanyima has been the Executive Director of Oxfam International since 2013. Prior to Oxfam, she served for seven years as the Director of Gender and Development at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Byanyima began her career as a champion of marginalized communities and women some 30 years ago as a Member of Parliament of Uganda. In 2004, she was named Director of Women and Development at the African Union Commission, working on the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, an international human rights instrument which became an important tool towards reducing the disproportionate effect of the HIV pandemic on the lives of women in Africa.
She holds an advanced degree in Mechanical Engineering (Energy Conservation and Environment) from the Cranfield Institute of Technology, and an undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Manchester.