Former Malawi President, Joyce Banda has been awarded with the 2015 ‘Women of Distinction Global Leadership Award in Politics’ by Celebrating Women International (CWI) at a ceremony that took place last Saturday in the Bahamas.
CWI is a group of prestigious women’s advocates in The Bahamas, Canada and the USA founded in 2013 and it seeks to support women’s rights and to honour and unite women so they can positively thrive and change their world.
According to organisers, CWI recognized Banda and her fellow awardees for demonstrating an untiring zeal for service to the community and selfless commitment to improving the lives of others.
After receiving the award, Banda who is also founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBFI) said through her own experience, she had observed that African women face many obstacles to acquire education, access modern antenatal and medical services and gender imbalances in their quest for leadership.
She said for some time now, she has worked tirelessly to ensure that girls attain basic and tertiary education. She also said that is why she runs primary and secondary schools for underprivileged children and said the current enrolment in these schools is at 3,500.
“I also resolved that as long as I live, I will not tolerate incidences of women dying while giving birth because they cannot access modern antenatal services.”
“During my time as president, I made sure that we construct holding shelters at many health facilities so that pregnant women can stay before giving birth. We discouraged pregnant women from seeking traditional birth attendants’ services because it is simply unsafe,” said Banda.
She said women ought to support each so that they have a “fair representation at policy formulating tables”. Banda however cautioned women against sidelining men in any of their endeavours and aspirations, saying men and women should “work together to emancipate and empower women and the girl child.”
Banda dedicated her award to the women of Africa whom she described as “persevering and hardworking”.
Other awardees included Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, former wife of the late Nelson Mandela who received the ‘Global Leadership Award in Social Justice and Development alongside Deolatchmee Ramotar, former First Lady of Guyana and Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The ‘Women of Distinction Global Leadership Award in Politics’ award is an addition to a host of awards that have been conferred on Banda throughout her impressive career.