23 Feb 2015
For the last four years, I have worked as a Special Advisor for International Affairs at the Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS). I am tasked with liaising with NCS’s partners, and coordinating the organisation’s international partnership projects and activities.
Full and effective implementation of the WHO FCTC and its provisions to prevent cancer and other tobacco-related diseases is one of our main focus areas.
NCS has been a regular funder of the FCA since 2004, when tobacco control was not a high priority on global health and development agendas.
My educational background includes the humanities, modern languages, literature and foreign civilizations (in which I earned a BA), pedagogy and education (MSc) and development studies (MSc). I have long experience as a senior high school teacher, both in Burkina Faso and in Norway.
Though I come from a very large family, no one close to me smoked when I was growing up (though smokeless tobacco was traditionally used). However, working as a teacher in Burkina Faso allowed me to witness how children and adolescents were coaxed into embracing an addictive product that would later impact their development.
Cigarette sticks and paraphernalia were given for free during tobacco industry campaigns. Students had easy access to the deadly product near schools, and even smoked in the schoolyards during breaks. This was the catalyst for my interest in tobacco control. I started taking small steps, which did not require extra resources, to raise students’ awareness of the socio-economic and environmental consequences of tobacco use, and integrated the issue into my teaching curriculum.
Priorities for 2015
The Norwegian Cancer Society will continue to work in partnership with the FCA to implement a capacity building project in the AFRO Region and I’ll work with relevant FCA staff to reach our common objectives. As a board member, I’ll raise the voice of the FCA to the best of my abilities and to the limit of available resources, to achieve the Alliance’s objectives.
The adoption of legislation on standardised packaging for all tobacco products in Norway is a national priority for the NCS, but one that will have global impact. When adopted, the Norwegian legislation will contribute toward making a compelling case that the tobacco industry’s manipulation, deception and threats of legal action to deter countries from protecting the health of their citizens cannot succeed.
Become an FCA member and think about joining FCA’s board of directors