From February 4-10, Canada celebrates International Development Week.  It’s our chance to recognize Canadians who are helping to make the world a better place. UNICEF has hundreds of Canadians working to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable children. Meet just a few of them!

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Pernille Ironside

Pernille Ironside serves as the Deputy Representative for UNICEF Nigeria, leading UNICEF’s work to improve the lives of children and their families across the country. She has extensive experience having worked in various managerial and programmatic roles in UNICEF Country Offices in Iraq, Gaza, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Yemen, as well as UNICEF headquarters in New York. Before joining UNICEF, Pernille held positions with the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the DRC, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in New York, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She is a lawyer and was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada.

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Zaid Jurji

Zaid Jurji heads the Water, Hygiene and Sanitation section at UNICEF Nigeria, spearheading UNICEF’s efforts to improve water and sanitation services, as well as basic hygiene practices in the country. Zaid has 24 years of experience in humanitarian and development programming, focused on water and sanitation sectors in humanitarian and development contexts. He has worked for UNICEF in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Haiti and Turkey. Zaid was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. He immigrated to Canada in 2005 and currently lives in Aurora, Ontario.

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Carina Prakke

Carina Prakke is the Reports Specialist for Polio at UNICEF Nigeria, where she documents and reports on efforts to eradicate polio in Nigeria. She has previously held positions at the UNICEF Country Offices in Haiti and Lebanon as well as UNICEF headquarters in New York. Prior to joining the United Nations in 2010, Carina worked in project management and coordination roles in the private sector in the US, Canada and Greece. Carina was born in Ormstown, Quebec and raised in Smiths Falls, Ontario.

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Alex Waxman

Alexander ‘Alex’ Waxman serves as a Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF Nigeria in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria. He has several years of experience in the humanitarian sector, specializing in child protection. Prior to joining the team in Nigeria, he worked for UNICEF in South Sudan and Tanzania and UN Refugee Agency, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in South Asia, North and East Africa. He was born and raised in Toronto.

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Sophie Chavanel

Since October 2016, Sophie has been Chief of Communications for UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire, working to improve the health, education and opportunity for children across the country. Prior to this, she worked as Director of Communications at Canada’s House of Commons, Consultant to the Head of Mission at the Canadian Embassy in Indonesia, Communications Delegate for the IFRC, Senior Communications Coordinator for the Canadian Red Cross and as a journalist/editor for Radio-Canada. Sophie is originally from Quebec.

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Tim Irwin

Tim Irwin is UNICEF’s Chief of Communication in South Sudan and began his second assignment to the country in January 2016. The native of Montreal works closely with international media covering the humanitarian response to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan, frequently travelling to remote field locations. Tim first arrived in Juba in 2013 while the country was at peace and has witnessed South Sudan’s tragic decline into conflict and insecurity, which has uprooted millions of people, creating one of the most pressing humanitarian emergencies in the world.   


Genevieve Boutin

Genevieve Boutin is the Special Representative for UNICEF in the State of Palestine. Prior to this, she served as UNICEF’s Chief of Humanitarian Affairs in the Middle East and North Africa, UNICEF’s Syria Crisis Coordinator and Chief of UNICEF’s Humanitarian Policy Section in New York. Before joining UNICEF, Genevieve worked as Senior Policy Advisor for the UN Peacebuilding Support Office and as Head of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Somalia. She is originally from Quebec.