International Educator - July/August 2018 - 16

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QUICK QUESTIONS
By Elizabeth Hendley

Empowering Girls Through Education
to Create Africa's Next Generation of
Women Leaders
At the recent NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo, attendees heard from plenary speaker Dr. Joyce Banda, who
served as president of the Republic of Malawi from 2012 to 2014. Banda was the first female president of her country
and the second female head of state in Africa. She served as vice president and a member of parliament and held various
government minister positions before assuming the presidency in 2012.
Prior to her career in politics, she established several nonprofit organizations, notably the Joyce Banda Foundation, which
works to empower girls, women, and marginalized populations in Malawi through programs in education, economic
empowerment, health, sports, and agriculture. The foundation runs two schools, including a free secondary school for
orphaned children, and 35 orphan care centers across Malawi.
Banda spoke with International Educator about the importance of improving access to education for girls-especially those
living in rural areas.

16  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR J U L + AU G . 2018

time, face-to-face with the injustice of this world. And
now, [fast] forward to the present day, 130 million girls
around the world are not in school through no fault of
their own.
What needs to change in order for more girls in rural
Africa to have access to education?
Being an African woman, I made up my mind at 14
that I was going to educate as many girls as possible.
Now, my position, after being head of state, is to say that
Africa...should have a critical mass of women leaders,
because it is when women get into leadership of any
sector that they pay a lot of attention to issues that affect
women and girls.
Looking at the situation in Africa, and indeed the
developing world, 80 percent of the population is rural.
And most of them are living in poverty....My argument
is that 130 million girls are not in school, and in the
developing world-in particular, the area where I come
from in Africa-we are saying we want a critical mass
of women leaders to focus more on issues that affect
women and girls. But these girls are being born in this
environment where they have a lot of challenges.
The American government, the western governments, with good intentions, are trying to assist the
developing world in the area of education and in the
protection of the girl child. And they earmark a lot of
resources [for girls] from the age of 11 to 14. But in my
opinion, [that's] too late.

PHOTO COURTESY DR. JOYCE BANDA

You are passionate about increasing access to
education for girls in Malawi's rural villages.
Can you tell us about your own educational
experience as a girl?
I grew up in a time when I didn't have role models. So
it was only my father wishing so hard to send me to
school and [wanting me] to go as far as I can. It was a
requirement in our tradition, especially in that time,
that the first grandchild...be brought up by the grandmother. They compromised that he was going to send
me to the village every Friday so that on the weekend
I could stay with my grandmother. But the rest of the
time, I was in town with my dad and went to school.
So I was fortunate in that respect, that straightaway I
had the opportunity to go to school because 1) I had a
father who believed that he wanted his girl child to go to
school, and 2) I had access to education.
Every Friday, I was dropped off from the bus and a
friend of mine would stand by the roadside and wait
for me, and we walked into the village and she would
tell me what had happened [that week]. She went to the
village school. She was brighter than me-I know so,
because she was first position in every class, all the way
through the end of primary education.
We were both selected to the best girls' schools
[at age 14]. She went one term and she didn't go back
because her family couldn't raise the $6 [tuition fee].
So, she didn't go on [in her education], though she
was brighter than me. At age 14, I came, for the first



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - July/August 2018

From the Desk of
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Brazil
Quick Questions
Feature: A Shock to the System
Feature: Something Old, Something New
Feature: Building on Strengths
Feature: Weathering the Storm
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment
International Education Leadership
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Cover1
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Cover2
International Educator - July/August 2018 - GF1
International Educator - July/August 2018 - GF2
International Educator - July/August 2018 - GF3
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 2
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 3
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 4
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 5
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 6
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 7
International Educator - July/August 2018 - From the Desk of
International Educator - July/August 2018 - In Brief
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 10
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 11
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 12
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 13
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 14
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Global Spotlight: Brazil
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Quick Questions
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 17
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Feature: A Shock to the System
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 19
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 20
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 21
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 22
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 23
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Feature: Something Old, Something New
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 25
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 26
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 27
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 28
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 29
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 30
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 31
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Feature: Building on Strengths
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 33
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 34
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 35
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 36
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 37
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Feature: Weathering the Storm
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 39
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 40
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 41
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 42
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 43
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Education Abroad
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 45
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 46
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 47
International Educator - July/August 2018 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 49
International Educator - July/August 2018 - International Enrollment
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 51
International Educator - July/August 2018 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 53
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Forum
International Educator - July/August 2018 - 55
International Educator - July/August 2018 - In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Cover3
International Educator - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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