East Meets West/Thrive Networks is thrilled to welcome Belinda Abraham as the new Vietnam Country Director and Regional Program Director. With over 15 years’ experience in the area of international development, Belinda Abraham joins Thrive Networks, as the new Country Director and Regional Program Director in Vietnam. As a self-defined “Citizen of the World”, Belinda was born in DeKalb, Illinois, USA and grew up in Nova Scotia, eastern Canada. Her family originally comes from Ghana, West Africa. It was her early impressions of visiting Ghana as a child, which influenced Belinda’s career decision, as she saw and learned the value of education, access to basic social services and opportunities. Studying in Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Belinda earned a BSc in Biology and BA in International Development. She combined her two interests and earned an MSc in International Development Planning from the University of Guelph, Canada in 2000.
Fortunately, her academic interests translated into many professional opportunities as she has studied or worked in Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Malawi, South Africa, Burundi, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Germany, and now Vietnam. She has had a longstanding career with UNICEF in the sectors of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and Education in six countries. Her most recent position was as Chief of WASH with UNICEF Cambodia. She has also worked with GIZ as a consultant under the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), and as a project officer for the NGO, Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR).
As a staunch believer in volunteerism, Belinda has dedicated her time as a jury member with Swedish International Water Institute (SIWI) for the Junior Water Prize 2015 and 2016. She is also co-lead for the working group 7 on Gender Equality and WASH in Institutions with SuSanA. In 2017, she was a member of the executive committee for the School Community Organization (SCO) as part of United Nation International School Hanoi, and participated in further developing the SCO Grant framework. This grant funds school and community development initiatives in support of the Sustainable Development Goals
Belinda reflects that throughout her career, she finds each country to be special, with a unique set of circumstances. However, the common thread that runs throughout is that there are always good and solid people and opportunities for development and growth.
As Belinda notes: “ Looking forward, with the solid foundation of Thrive Networks, and through nurturing old partnerships and seeking new ones, together more sustainable solutions for people underserved can be found. The future is exciting !!”
At the heart of our programs are strong partnerships with government, private sector, civil society groups, and local communities. We also implement learning and feedback strategies to strengthen our approaches to promoting gender and socially inclusive WASH practices in our partner communities.