Malawi former president Joyce Banda, who is also founder of Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBFI) was on Thursday, October 15, 2015, ‘Special Guest of Honour’, during the 2015 ‘World Food Prize Laureate Award’ ceremony at the magnificent House Chamber, Iowa State Capitol, Des Moines, United States of America.
The former President flew to Iowa on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at the invitation of the World Food Prize Foundation to present the US$250,000 prize to the 2015 Laureate, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and Chairman of BRAC.
BRAC is an international development organization based in Bangladesh. It is the largest non-governmental development organization in the world in terms of number of employees .BRAC is present in all 64 districts of Bangladesh as well as other countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
According to the President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, the World Food Prize is “the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.”
“It was a great privilege for the foundation to have Her Excellency celebrating this momentous event with us and be part of the formal procession of dignitaries,” he told reporters after the event.
Banda was also invited to as a ‘Featured Speaker and Special Guest of Honour’ for 2015 Borlaug Dialogue Symposium (October 14 – 16) as part of the ‘World Food Prize’ annual series of events.
At this year’s Dialogue, special focus on the importance of empowering women and girls, and promoting girls’ education, specifically in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to confronting global hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
“Given Her Excellency’s exemplary, global leadership on issues concerning women and girls, we have been immensely privileged for Her Excellency to join us and speak on these issues as part of a conversation about ‘Voices from the Farm’.
“There could not be a more fitting, powerful speaker on the subject of uplifting African women and girls than Her Excellency Dr. Banda,” said AmbassadorQuinn.
Before the presentation ceremony of the World Food Prize, JB participated in two panel discussions ‘Voices from the Farm’, moderated by 2009 World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Gebisa Ejeta and ‘the Zero Hunger Sustainable Development (SDG) Goal: The Role of Communities in Driving Action, Accountability and Impact’, moderated by Nabeeha Kazi, Chair of the Community for Zero Hunger.
Among others, former Malawi president Banda discussed the challenges that smallholder farmers usually encounter in Africa and how women could be empowered to ensure that their households are food secure and that they have enough income to send children, especially the girl child, to school.
She said her Joyce Banda Foundation International focuses on five crucial development aspects, among them supporting women with income generating activities with main focus on agri-business and supporting and promoting access to both basic and tertiary education for the girl child and endeavour to keep girls in school until they finish their education.
During the two panel discussions, Dr. Joyce Banda was joined by Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Director, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), Eric Pohlman, Rwanda Country Director, One Acre Fund, Dr. Jimmy Smith, Director General, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Natalie DiNicola, President, DiNicola, LLC, Ruben Echeverria, Program Advisory Committee, HarvestPlus, Director General, CIAT, Gregory Kearns, Vice President, Institutional Business Development, Heifer International, Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank, Ruth Oniang’o, Editor-in-Chief, African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, World Food Prize Laureate and Founder of the MS Swaminathan Foundation.
Kazi hailed Joyce Banda for accepting to attend this year’s events.
“Her Excellency [Joyca Banda] has inspired so many of us with her message of empowerment and the critical role of communities in realizing a world without hunger and malnutrition,” Nabeeha Kazi said.
Kazi observed that Dr. Banda’s work all along has been about building up families, women and children through a holistic approach, and that these lessons are important for efforts to ensure a food and nutrition secure future for all.
The World Food Prize, which has been called “The Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture,” was created in 1986 by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and “Father of the Green Revolution” Dr. Norman E. Borlaug.
Although a scientist with outstanding contributions, perhaps Dr. Borlaug’s greatest achievement was his unending struggle to integrate the various streams of agricultural research into viable technologies and to convince political leaders to bring these advances to fruition.
The event is the world’s most prestigious gathering for improving food security, enhancing agriculture and nutrition, and reducing hunger and poverty globally. Held each year on or around United Nations’ World Food Day on October 16, it attracts more than 1,000 dignitaries from more than 60 countries, gathering international leaders and thinkers for high-level “conversations” on critical issues in fighting hunger.
Speakers at previous symposia include Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General; Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland; Joachim Chissano, former President of Mozambique; Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former President of Brazil; John A. Kufuor, former President of Ghana; and Bill Gates, who chose the World Food Prize as the forum at which to announce his commitment to transform global food security and uplift Africa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :