JB says Malawi poor people not waiting for handouts

President Joyce Banda has said the impoverished people in Malawi want to be engaged in finding solutions to their problems and not expect to get handouts.

The Malawi leader pointed this when she shared her personal life story during a lecture she delivered at Texas State University in United States on how transformative partnerships are driving Malawi’s development.

“I remember when I founded the National Association of Business Women in 1990 we were only a handful of women pioneers in Malawi. However,  we were determined to overcome the structural barriers that marginalized women in business, and so we combined  our unique skills and worked together to make inroads into the male dominated business world. Our determination and collective efforts paid off beyond our imagination, and the Association grew from ten women to fifty thousand women,  producing some of Malawi first women millionaires,” she said.

Banda said the  developing partners  should  seek more effective ways of engaging with the poor nations .

President Banda in lecture at Texas State University
President Banda in lecture at Texas State University

She indicated that poor people are not sitting back, waiting for hand outs, saying “poor as they are, they want to be engaged in finding solutions to their problems.”

In  a speech which she received standing ovations, Banda said: “I recall going out in the most remote districts of Malawi and finding women who literally had no money but were rich in hope, determination and ideas. I worked with these women to grow their ideas and hope, helped them access micro credit, and in no time these women were growing their own businesses, controlling their own income, and had moved from not knowing where the next meal will come from to being providers of their homes.”

Banda told the gathering that “ local communities and institutions know their situation better than external players.”

She said: “ I have therefore always encouraged foreign organizations to draw on the knowledge of local institutions when they design and implement their projects and programs. Too often the result of not doing this is that resources are spent on the wrong priorities, aand sometimes the tragedy is that these resulting arrangements weaken the local systems and do not aid sustenance of action.

“When foreign organizations leave the country, local institutions still do not have the capacity to continue with work started.”

Banda said since she ascended to power  lasy year,  she applied these lessons and that “since  then I have seen that my Government’s and my own most successful work has been done by working in partnership.”

In  her lecture on the theme ‘Transformational Partnerships in Malawi’ Banda told the gusest that she inherited a nation that was fractured along many lines.

“There was rampant nepotism, corruption, distrust among the people, and a glaring distance between the leaders and the citizens,” she said.

The Grosvenor Centre’s 15th Annual Distinguished Lecture comes ahead of the 68th United Nations General Assembly scheduled to take place from September 24 to 28 in New York where the Malawian leader will make an address.

Banda said during her UN General Assembly speech, she will  be making a case for the need to “shift” and create a new way of looking at partnerships globally.

President Banda at Texas State University
President Banda at Texas State University

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