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UN Family Day in Malawi was organised under the umbrella them of ‘Lead, empower, deliver.’ The focus of this year’s family day was health promotion and prevention. Under the guise of the ‘One UN’ where UNICEF, UNDP, WFP, WHO, etc… staff and their families gathered, the well being of UN staff and their families was on the agenda, of course followed by fun and games.

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The morning of UN Family Day culminated in Malawi Standard Bank donating    $10, 000 to UN Cares, the staff association that looks after the health and well being of UN staff. The UN Cares team and UN Resident Co-ordinator accepted the cheque to great applause.

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Health and social issues were discussed with innovative communication techniques like ‘Theatre for Development.’ The local actors illustrated the issue of alcohol and promiscuity through the art of theatre.

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UN staff are at the forefront of programmes in international development. Retaining a good ‘work life balance’ can be difficult, which is recognized by all UN agencies. UN Family Day is a good fun place for families to spend quality time together.

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UN agencies work with NGOs in a lot of their programmes, the WEB Foundation was invited to facilitate a games session on health issues. Through their ‘Family Matters’ game, the WEB Foundation created an open discussion about health issues like HIV and AIDS, sexual health, nutrition, and education.

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Good nutrition and exercise are important in order to lead a healthy life, and to avoid health problems with stress, heart disease, and breathing difficulties. In particular, children need to be active through exercise to ensure healthy growth, and it also offers an opportunity to make new friends.

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Nowadays many jobs are office based so the opportunity to do some exercise or to cook a healthy meal is not an option. One of the biggest killers amongst people in office roles is heart disease and hyper tension. Regular visits to your doctor for a check up for blood pressure and weight can help to identify problems so they can be treated quickly.

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International development focuses on the beneficiaries of aid programmes and sometimes the people planning and organising programmes are forgotten. UN Family Day was a chance for all of the UN agencies to say ‘thanks’ to UN staff who go above and beyond to ensure that programmes are successful.

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