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Monday, May 11, 2015

Pemex Global Consultancy: Malawi’s former President Dr Joyce Banda on life in politics

Dr Joyce Banda is the first woman to become President of Malawi and the second female leader in Africa . In October 2014, she joined the Above the Parapetprogram in LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs as a Fellow. Africa at LSE spoke to her during her visit to LSE.

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics?
After 20 years of working in development and as a women’s and human rights activist, I was thinking of retiring at the age of 54. Then people in the community suggested that, rather than retiring, I should go to parliament where I could better represent them. For me, the motivation in taking up that opportunity was to be involved in influencing laws that have a big impact on women and children.

Joyce_Banda_Department_for_International_Development_photo_crop

What was your first breakthrough and how did you achieve it?
Spending years working at the grassroots level in microfinance, orphan care and other things meant that by the time I decided to run for office, I had a big enough following to win easily. The main breakthrough was being appointed Minister of Women and Children. In essence, I knew then that I could achieve what had motivated me to go to parliament in the first place. Immediately, I started to prepare myself to take that role and one of the results was the Domestic Violence bill which we passed in 2006.

What has been the biggest obstacle in your path to the highest level of politics?
In Malawi, our founding fathers gave politics the Chichewa name “ndale”. It means tripping someone up so that they can fall. It is a negative term that has psychologically affected us negatively. The understanding of politics for any Malawian is that when you enter politics standing in each other’s way, pushing and letting rivals trip and fall. That is a wrong starting point. When you enter politics, you realise you are on a different playing field altogether.
I had been a human rights activist, I had run NGOs in Malawi as do many other people, and we formed networks and supported one another. I went from this supportive atmosphere to politics where insults were bandied about. And it is worse when you are a woman. You hear it so often that you actually get used to it. It is as if you accept that this is ok when in reality it is not. For me, this was the biggest obstacle particularly as it can slow you down.
I have since learned that this is not unique to Malawi, but that it happens all over the world. It is having a real impact because the numbers of women involved in politics is declining in many countries. In countries where there was 30% women’s representation in leaderships, it is now 25% or 20%. In Malawi, it is now 15%, in other countries now 10%. The only exception is in countries where there is affirmative action. It would be interesting to find out why women cannot get elected especially given that the majority of voters (52%) are women. My theory is that it is because women are not voting for other women. Another reason is that women are being put off politics because of the abuse that comes with it.
 What are your views on affirmative action policies ?
I don’t like affirmative action because it is like eating raw meat. Even though the numbers are good, it is a shortcut, you haven’t been cooked or grilled.
 Has being a woman has helped or hindered your path to the top?
Being a woman has made it tougher, but it has not stopped me. I still got there. You still make inroads and you make a lot of friends. Although it is tougher being a woman in politics, you need to be determined to stay the course.
 What is the biggest lesson you learned during your presidency?
It works better when you are a servant leader, when you fall in love with your people and them with you. If you truly believe that you need to change the situation of your people, regardless of how rocky the road is, you’ll walk it for the people that you serve.
My advice to anyone wanting to get into politics is to first analyse themselves to see if they are a leader or not. If you are a leader and you want to serve your people and you can be a servant leader, then go for it.
 How can women get around patriarchy, which is common in African countries, to make it in politics?
You have to learn it how to navigate your environment. Men feel nervous, so you have to find a way of massaging that ego. The best way is by engaging and involving men. Many people view me as having very successful working relationships with men. It is because throughout my career I have always been sober about my feminism. I have always said to women that gender equality will not be achieved through antagonising men. Rather you do so by empowering yourself. This is a lesson that I learned the hard way. I used to teach women that it was our time to fight and men reacted badly. They broke into my factory and stole everything.

Friday, February 13, 2015

President Joyce Banda was invited to and attended the United States of America by "Pemex Global Consultancy"

President Joyce Banda: Gave a speech



During the week-long event, which ended on Thursday, February 5, 2015, former President Banda delivered a speech at a side event of high-profile women and offered a closing prayer.

The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held in Washington DC, whose climax is on the first Thursday of February each year. The founder of this event was Abraham Vereide.

The event—which is actually a series of meetings, prayers, readings, greetings luncheons, and dinners—has taken place since 1953 and has been held at least since the 1980s at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue NW.

“She spoke about the importance of love, peace and unity among the people of the world. She bemoaned the prevailing human and natural tragedies including wars that have caused untold human suffering over the years,” said one of Banda’s aides who accompanied her to the historic event.

In his keynote address at the event on Thursday, US President Barack Obama said the US would never stop fighting for freedom of religion around the world. He talked about the inspiration given by faith world-wide driving people to do right, but faith also used as a weapon.

President Obama also referred to hate crimes and terrorism, such as “ISIL, a brutal, vicious, death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism.”

The breakfast was attended by some 3,500 guests, including international invitees from over 100 countries. The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a Christ-centered organization. Initially called the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the name was changed in 1970 to the National Prayer Breakfast.

It is designed to be a forum for the political, social, and business elite to assemble and build relationships. Since the inception of the National Prayer Breakfast, several U.S. states and cities and other countries have established their own annual prayer breakfast events.

Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has participated in the annual event.

The Dalai Lama was the ‘Special Guest’ during this year’s event. President Obama offered “a special welcome to a good friend, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion, who inspires us to speak up for the freedom and dignity of all human beings”.

“I’ve been pleased to welcome him to the White House on many occasions, and we’re grateful that he’s able to join us here today,” said the US President.

Dalai Lamas are the head monks of the Gelug School, the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.The current Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and is also well known for his lifelong advocacy for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet.

President Joyce Banda : The 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa


Joyce Banda
Age
64
Residence
Lilongwe, Malawi
Citizenship
Malawi
Marital Status
Married
Children
5
Education
Bachelor of Arts / Science, Columbus University
Joyce Banda on Forbes Lists
Malawi's first female president (and second on the African continent) narrowly won a second term this May after originally assuming office in 2012. However, she ordered that the results of the May elections be nullified and the elections be held in 90 days due to electoral irregularities; spectators say it is a desperate attempt to stay in power. Her time so far has been marred by financial scandals, arrests and prosecutions in her own government. But Banda's most brazen decisions have been for austerity's sake. She sold off a $15 million presidential jet, cut her own salary by 30 percent and dismissed her cabinet in the midst of corruption allegations. Her bookkeeping measures have helped lift monetary suspensions from Western donors to Malawi and restore cash injections from the IMF.

President Joyce Banda offered olive branch in Malawi

On Saturday March 7th, 2015, the Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W), the international non-profit organization dedicated to connecting, educating and empowering women and young girls around the globe, plans its annual festivities for the 2015 GC4W International Women’s Day Awards & Benefit Gala celebration on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.


The proceeds from this event will be used to fund the GC4W Community Development & Empowerment Programs that supports initiatives such as the Karamajiji New School Development Project for disable girls and GC4W Women Empowerment Workshops.



Building on the wildly successful inaugural celebration at the Harvard Club of New York in 2014, GC4W continues its rich tradition and important work of recognizing and celebrating women leaders from around the globe who are making a difference in the fight for women empowerment. The theme for the 2015 GC4W International Women’s Day Awards & Benefit Gala celebration will be “Connecting for Women Empowerment” as GC4W focuses attention towards progress on the 3rd Goal of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations.

GC4W was founded in response to this UN mandate and the foundation’s aim to enrich the lives of 100 thousand women and youth by the end of 2015 is strategically aligned to support its achievement.

The 2015 International Women’s Day celebration will be highlighted by a keynote address from the Former President of Malawi Dr. Joyce Banda, one of the very first Female Presidents in Africa.

Honorable Dr. Banda will focus her remarks on the importance of investing in young girls and women. As with past award recipients such as Jenna Fernandes, Denise Ajayi-Williams, Amy Hixon, Teresa Clarke, Chief Temitope Ajayi, and the Honorable U. Joy Ogwu, Dr. Banda represents a 2015 class of honorees that hail from both the public and private sectors, including prominent global women leaders, CEOs, NGO leaders, Government officials, Magazine Editors, Grammy Award Winner, GC4W Champions, and Several others.

Honorees will descend on Washington DC from diverse geographical origins with dignitaries and social innovators traveling from the United Kingdom, Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria, United States, Canada, and more to join the celebration.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

President Joyce Banda : Her Excellency

An entrepreneur, activist, politician, and philanthropist, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda was also the President of the Republic of Malawi (2012-2014). She was Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second. Voted as Africa's most powerful woman by Forbes Magazine for two years running and voted as one of the most powerful women in the world, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda is a champion for the rights of women, children, the disabled, and other marginalized groups.


Before becoming President of Malawi, Dr. Banda served as a Member of Parliament; Minister of Gender and Child Welfare; and Foreign Minister and Vice President of the Republic of Malawi. While serving as Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Dr. Banda championed the enactment of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill in 2006, which provides a legal framework for the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

A recipient of more than 15 international accolades including the “Hunger Project Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger” shared with President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 1997, President Banda is a strong advocate for women and girls’ emancipation and empowerment and a prominent civil rights campaigner. She founded the Joyce Banda Foundation International, which guides projects that range from empowering women to providing for orphans’ education.
On the international scene, President Dr. Banda was instrumental in the formation of such organizations as the

African Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (AFWE), currently running in 41 countries in Africa; the Council for the Economic Empowerment of Women in Africa (CEEWA); and the American & African Business Women’s Alliance (AABWA), of which she served as First President.
President Banda sits on a number international organization bodies. These include the Executive Advisory Committee of UNIFEM, the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, and the Scientific Advisory Board for the program in Global Health and Social Change at Harvard Medical School.

President Joyce Banda slated to give Keynote Speech at “International Women’s Day”

On Saturday March 7th, 2015, the Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W), the international non-profit organization dedicated to connecting, educating and empowering women and young girls around the globe, plans its annual festivities for the 2015 GC4W International Women’s Day Awards & Benefit Gala celebration on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

The proceeds from this event will be used to fund the GC4W Community Development & Empowerment Programs that supports initiatives such as the Karamajiji New School Development Project for disable girls and GC4W Women Empowerment Workshops.

Building on the wildly successful inaugural celebration at the Harvard Club of New York in 2014, GC4W continues its rich tradition and important work of recognizing and celebrating women leaders from around the globe who are making a difference in the fight for women empowerment. The theme for the 2015 GC4W International Women’s Day Awards & Benefit Gala celebration will be “Connecting for Women Empowerment” as GC4W focuses attention towards progress on the 3rd Goal of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations.

GC4W was founded in response to this UN mandate and the foundation’s aim to enrich the lives of 100 thousand women and youth by the end of 2015 is strategically aligned to support its achievement.

The 2015 International Women’s Day celebration will be highlighted by a keynote address from the Former President of Malawi Dr. Joyce Banda, one of the very first Female Presidents in Africa.

Honorable Dr. Banda will focus her remarks on the importance of investing in young girls and women. As with past award recipients such as Jenna Fernandes, Denise Ajayi-Williams, Amy Hixon, Teresa Clarke, Chief Temitope Ajayi, and the Honorable U. Joy Ogwu, Dr. Banda represents a 2015 class of honorees that hail from both the public and private sectors, including prominent global women leaders, CEOs, NGO leaders, Government officials, Magazine Editors, Grammy Award Winner, GC4W Champions, and Several others.

Honorees will descend on Washington DC from diverse geographical origins with dignitaries and social innovators traveling from the United Kingdom, Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria, United States, Canada, and more to join the celebration.