Bience Gawanas now Special Adviser on Social Issues

15 Jun 2013 05:10
WINDHOEK, 15 JUN (NAMPA)- Former African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, Advocate Bience Gawanas from Namibia has been appointed as Special Adviser on Social Issues in the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
Gawanas' appointment was made public by officials of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare during a dinner hosted in honour of the Day of the African Child here on Friday evening.
As a former AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Gawanas' work involved advocacy and the harmonisation and coordination of regional and continental policies and programmes relating to social development.
Her portfolio includes dealing with issues such as health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and other related infectious diseases, migration, population, culture and sport, drug control, social welfare of vulnerable groups, labour, and employment.
During her tenure at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia she developed policy instruments, projects and programmes on social development, including the Social Policy Framework, and the Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
Nationally, Gawanas, 57, had worked as a lawyer at the Legal Assistance Centre from 1990 to 1991.
She was also a full-time member of the Public Service Commission (1991-1996), part-time lecturer on gender law at the University of Namibia, a member and chair of the Law Reform and Development Commission, as well as member of the Board of the Namibian Central Bank (1991-1996).
Gawanas was appointed Namibia's Ombudswoman (1996-2003), and from 2003 she was the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, a position she held until her return back home recently.
Internationally, she was a member of the International Advisory Council on Law and Justice of the World Bank, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Global Task Team on Donor Coordination and Harmonisation and the UNAIDS Global Steering Committee on Universal Access, co-chair of the Global Health Workforce Alliance Task Force for Scaling-Up Education and Training of Health Workers.
Currently, she is a co-chair of the Global Leadership Group on Maternal Mortality, member of the Global Commission on Law and HIV, a member of the Commission on Accountability and Information on Women's and Children's Health as well as board member of Synergos Southern Africa.
Synergos is a non-profit organisation with a mission to reduce global poverty through ?inclusive partnerships? that bring together government, business, civil society and local communities.
Gawanas had spent 12 years in exile as a Swapo-Party member, taught in various Swapo-run refugee centres and returned to Namibia during 1989.
She is married with four children.
Gawanas holds a LLB Honours from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom (UK), and an Utter Barrister Degree from the Council of Legal Education School of Law/Lincolns Inn, UK.
She also holds an Executive MBA from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Gawanas worked as Barrister of the English and Irish Bar and was an Advocate to the Namibian High Court.