WOW: Women Of Worth!
One of the new things I decided to take action on this August is to build our WOW section. We would celebrate one Woman of Worth each week either in a feature story, interview or video.
Today we will be celebrating Dr Joyce Banda. The first female president of Malawi and the second female president in Africa.
She visited Nigeria last week for The Women Power Lunch 2016.
And I was there.
The Women Power Lunch 2016 was both exhilarating and humbling for me.an eye-opener for me.
The meeting was convened by Mrs. Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, the daughter of Nigeria’s 4th Head of State, Late Gen. Murtala R. Muhammed. It is an initiative of the Murtala Muhammed Foundation and was set up to be a forum where women of different generations, sectors, spheres of influence including government and civil society and gather annually to engage, network and strategise to address key issues affecting women in Africa.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Joyce Banda, President of Malawi (2012-2014).
She spoke of her deep commitment to resolving women issues across the continent. The topic “Women in Solidarity” was apt seeing the political atmosphere in the world today.
Britain has just appointed its first Prime minister, Theresa May and for the first time, the United States of America has a woman, Hilary Clinton as a strong contender for the White House.presidential candidate.
How do we tap into this in the African continent?
In her speech, she emphasized that there was a need to collaborate with men.We need to work with men in pursuing Women Empowerment 'cos they are part of the problem & part of the solution. Click To Tweet
As women in Africa, there was the need to recognise the male ego and relate with them with understanding as our fathers, brothers, and husbands.
On implementation of affirmative action, Dr. Mrs. Banda stated there was a need to create deliberate policies to promote participation by women in government and as well improve education participation by the Girl child.
She also said that in building solidarity, women needed to stand with themselves.
She recalled her experience as a President, how the women were often cold in supporting a fellow woman.
She also called on women to put their best foot forward and discard the sheepish garment of downplaying our talents and skills.
Never be modest, say exactly what we are and what we have achieved.
When given a task, say yes!
She solicited for support for women in leadership or who aspire to be leaders.
She said, “Women in politics are being victimised. Women leadership is under attack. They endure name calling and public ridicule”.
She applauded some men who are strong advocates for women in leadership, like our former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.
During the interactive session, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo thrilled the room full of women with his usual candor and wit.
Lessons to Learn
- It’s your passion that will bring you to the limelight. People who are influential today aren’t there because they sought the fame. They were diligent in solving small problems and then bigger opportunities to serve was presented to them.
- Leadership is about service. You are not a great leader until you reach out and empower others. Leaders build leaders.
- Mental preparation is needed for leadership especially in politics.
- All leaders are scandalized. So if you don’t want to be called names, don’t put yourself out there. At the end of the day, what matters most is whether your conscience is clear before God. Because the tabloids are out for anything sensational.
Dr. Mrs. Joyce Banda is a woman who has been given to public service. She had a passion and started an NGO. When her work was recognized, she was called to serve as a member of Parliament. From there, she became the Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Foreign Minister and VicePresident of the Republic of Malawi.
President Banda is credited for turning around an ailing economy which was on the verge of collapse in April 2012. During her two years of reign, Malawi also experienced remarkable success in the area of maternal and child health, reducing the maternal mortality ratio from 675 deaths per 100,000 live births to 460. (culled from the Women Power Lunch 2016 Programme)
Her Foundation, the Joyce Banda Foundation identified 5 impact areas in Africa for African Women.
- Wealth Creation: It offers support to African women especially in the area of Agriculture
- Education For the girl child. It advocates strongly for the education of the girl child through its programs and strategic meetings with the traditional leaders and people of the communities.
- Maternal Health & HIV/AIDS
- Leadership. Create platforms to support women who have the vision to go into politics.
- Rights. To enlighten women of their rights and help them protect those rights.
She’s a selfless, hard-working woman who put the needs of others before herself. And is a firm believer of the use of public office as a tool for common good. Leaving a legacy for the next generation.
Let’s celebrate this great daughter of Africa!
God bless Dr. Mrs. Joyce Banda!