Founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBFI) and former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda was awarded the 2015 ‘Women of Distinction Global Leadership Award in Politics’ by Celebrating Women International (CWI), at a ceremony that took place on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at the Atlantis Theatre, Paradise Island, The Bahamas.
CWI is a group of prestigious women’s advocates in The Bahamas, Canada and the USA. Together, they form a team that has one common goal—to support women’s rights.
It was founded in 2013 as a subsidiary of The King Global Humanitarian Foundation (TKHGFI),a non-profit organization that aims at to “mobilize and inspire women across the globe; to honour, recognize and celebrate their achievements and leveraging their untapped leadership capabilities in order for them to thrive and lead productive lives”.
According to Lynn Whitfield (actress) and Clint Watson (journalist), who were directors of ceremonies at the event, 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.
Other awardees in the ‘Global Leadership in Politics’ category included Catherine Samba-Panza, President of the Central African Republican, Janet Kataaha Museveni, First Lady of the Republic of Uganda, Sheikha Bint Khalid Al Qasini, Minister of International Cooperation and Dvelopment, United Arab Emirates, Sandra Granger, First Lady of Guyana and C. V. Hope Strachan, MP and Minister of Financial Services.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, former wife of the late Nelson Mandela was honoured under 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.
Gospel singer Cissy Houston, mother of the late Whitney Houston, was also recognized during the event.
In her acceptance speech, Banda dedicated her award “to the women of Africa”, whom she described as “persevering and hardworking”.
She 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.
JB said for some time now, she has worked tirelessly to ensure that girls attain basic and tertiary education. In this regard, she said she runs primary and secondary schools for the underprivileged children and said the current enrolment in these schools is at 3,500.
“Distinguished ladies, 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 seeking traditional birth attendants’ services because it is simply unsafe,” said Joyce Banda.
She said women ought to support each so that they have a “fair representation at policy formulating tables”. She, however, cautioned women against sidelining men in any of their endeavours and aspirations, saying men and women ought to be “partners and work together to emancipate and empower women and the girl child”.
The event was spiced up by a powerful, five-star live performance by American four-time Grammy and Academy Award winning artist, Regina Bella. Apart from receiving the award, Dr. Joyce Banda also received a gift from the Founder and President of CWI Rudy King, who described the former Head of State as “highly inspirational”.
An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Joyce Banda is a recipient of more than 15 international accolades including “Hunger Project Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger” that she shared with President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 1997.
She founded the Joyce Banda Foundation International in 1997, which has guided projects from empowering women, rural communities to providing orphans education.
Currently JBFI has benefitted over 1.3 million people in Malawi through various programs and interventions ranging from economic empowerment, agriculture and food security, education, water and sanitation, youth development.
Other organization that Banda established are the National Association of Business Women, which lends start-up cash to business women, and the Young Women’s Leadership Network, which mentors female students in schools.
On the international scene, Banda was instrumental in the formation of such organizations as the African Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (AFWE) currently running in 41 countries in Africa, Council for the Economic Empowerment of Women in Africa (CEEWA) and Americans & Africans Business Women’s Alliance (AABWA) of which she served as First President.
The ‘Women of Distinction Global Leadership Award in Politics’ award is an addition to a litany of awards that have been conferred on Banda over her glittering career. Between 2014 and 2015, Joyce Banda has received nine (9) International Awards, including being named as the ‘Most Inspirational Woman in Politics’ by CNN; the ‘Legacy Award’ by the International Women’s Forum; and the African Union (AU) “Living Legends’ Award in South Africa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :