Blair hails JB: Malawi leader invited to ‘lecture’ at UK’s Durham University

Malawi President Joyce Banda has won praise for her styled of progressive leadership from Cherie Blair, the wife to the former British Prime Minister.

Speaking to journalists after having an audience with President Banda in London, Cherie Blair said she was impressed with Banda’s administration which has priotised women empowerment programmes as a step towards poverty reduction.

“The President, Dr. Joyce Banda confided in me that she would like to see more schools and hospitals built in Malawi, as education and good health are a recipe to poverty reduction,” said Blair.

Blair said it is along such Malawi’s vision and initiatives that she intends to extend her foundation’s services to Malawi with the goal of complementing Government’s efforts in empowering women economically.

Mrs Blair with Pres. Banda

Mrs Blair with Pres. Banda

“I have a foundation which assists women to conduct mobile money businesses in Rwanda, Gambia and Tanzania and this initiative will soon be extended to Malawi as an approach which can improve economic status of women thereby contributing to the reduction of malnutrition,” she said.

Meanwhile, President Banda has been invited to address the administration and students at Durham University in London in a bid to provide her a podium to mobilize the world to affirmatively fight against gender-based violence and promote social protection in the world.

The invitation was offered to the President by the Director of Post Graduate Research School of Applied Social Sciences – Durham University, Helen Charnley during an audience which she had with the Malawi leader on Monday  in London.

“The university in recognition of Dr. Joyce Banda’s initiatives in promoting social protection and fighting against gender- based violence; the university has decided to invite her to address the university so that she can as well inspire other countries’ leaderships and institutions to follow suit,” said Charnley as she spoke to journalists.

Charnley said the university would also use the president’s availability to lobby for support from interested towards the university, so that it can increase the number of scholarships to officers to African countries including Malawi.

“Currently we have only two students from Malawi at the university but we have the intention to increase scholarship offers to Malawi. With the partnership which we intend to establish with Malawi Government, it is hoped that we will be offering increased scholarships to Malawian students,” she said.

Amongst other leaders of world organisations which promote social justice for women and children who had an audience with Malawi’s president on the same day, was Jamie Cooper-Hohn who is the president and chief executive officer for Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

Speaking to journalists after meeting the President Banda, Jamie-Cooper-Hohn said her organisation was committed towards the enhancement of social and health related Malawi’s initiatives to promote well being of women and children.

“We intend to support initiatives which tackle issues of nutrition, water and sanitation including self motherhood with the goal of reducing child and maternal related deaths. These efforts if promoted would contribute to the social economic development of Malawi,” she said.

President Banda was in London for a G8 nutrition and food security summit. She left London for Geneva on official business on Tuesday.–Malawi News Agency

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