Landon Lecture | Dr. Joyce Banda

Landon Lecture | Dr. Joyce Banda


well good morning everybody and welcome
to the one hundred and seventy-seventh Landon lecture on public affairs this
series was instituted in 1966 by former k-state president James a McCain and of
course our golden land on lectures is to bring the most prominent thought leaders
to Kansas State University to discuss the pressing issues of the day we are
very pleased to welcome her excellency dr. Joyce Banda to the land and podium
to join 176 predecessors in bringing their thoughts and opinions on important
public issues this time I’d like to make a few introductions I’d like to
introduce April Mason our Provost here at Kansas State University dr. Jackie
Hartman chairperson of the Landon lecture series and chief of staff in the
office of president dr. Barry Flint’s vol chair of the Landon patrons Carrie Fink president University support
Senate they are Carrie Jack errors Kansas State student body president and
a senior and chemical engineering and and just admitted to the Kansas
University Medical School where he says he’s gonna wear purple all the time no
matter what the grades are and and an Olivia Ballman k-state student body vice
president and senior and computer science and we have one very special
guest I’d like to introduce and that’s senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker and I know
you’re back up that way she’s right behind dr. Joyce Banda served as president of
Malawi in 2012 and through 2014 she was credited with turning around the
nation’s alien economy under economic reforms that she instituted Malawi’s
rate of economic growth rose from 1.8% to 6.2 percent in 2014 she also repealed
a number of laws which had weakened democratic institutions infringed on
civil liberties and restricted freedom of the press the health of women and
children was a major priority during her presidency and she established a
presidential initiative on Malawi health and safe motherhood which helped drop
the maternal majority mentality rate in Malawi before becoming president of
Malawi dr. Banda served as the nation’s vice-president foreign minister minister
of gender gender and child welfare and as a member of parliament as a minister
of gender in child welfare she championed the enactment of the
Prevention of domestic violence bill in 2006 which provided the legal framework
to support the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence
against women and girls since leaving office dr. Banda serves on the board of
nutrition international Canada in the Tana high-level form of peace and
security in Africa she’s a member of the Council of women world leaders and
distinguished distinguished fellow with the Woodrow Wilson international center
for scholars in the center for global development as a founder of the Joyce
Banda Foundation she continues to work with the internet with the joint joint
met bono Foundation International she continues to work with the foundation to
transform villages in Malawi by supporting women’s economic empowerment
education maternal health hiv/aids programs leadership training and Human
Rights she also serves as a panelist and motivational speaker at international
conferences and forums dr. Banda this work has drawn many
honours she was named one of the most powerful black women in Africa in Forbes
magazine in both 13 and 14 one of the most influential
people in the world by time and Forbes and one of the most inspirational women
in politics by CNN her degrees include the bachelors in gender studies from
Atlantic University and a master’s in leadership from the Royal Roads
University of Canada just a little personal aside we first met I think it
was in 2012 in South Africa and there are two terms I would use to describe
Joyce Banda and the two terms are both the same their courage the courage to be
in politics when your life is threatened and she’s had attempts on her life
that’s what when we our first discussions that first got my attention
that as a grandmother as she said the country is more important than my
personal safety that’s real courage and then once in
office as president she had a courage to do the right things even though she knew
it would be unpopular among some and I think she made a real difference so
please help me welcome to this stage Her Excellency President Banda to Kansas
State University thank you very much president eno – for
those kind remarks it is an honor for me to be here today to deliver the first
London lecture of nineteen of 2018 and I think the first London lecture ever to
be delivered by an African woman I’d like to thank President General Richard
Myers dr. Jackie Hartman and dr. Barry Fink fringe ball for inviting me I was
speaking to my nephew yesterday who came here and I said why should you
this place be called Manhattan Kansas I got confused I thought I was going to
New York he says no but we are proud as illumina to call it man happiness and
alito Apple I have titled my lecture America’s role in promoting gender
equality and development worldwide lessons from Africa my goal is to ensure
that when all of you listening to their lives this auditorium you will see that
it is our collective task to promote gender equality and development around
the world I’ve been fortunate that all the things I have championed in my life
have come from personal experience things happened to me and I took action
in every capacity that I heard today of the distinct honor to share some of
these experiences with you an audience of scholars and future world leaders
from this great country I will also highlight the raw America
has played in my development as a woman leader and the development of my country
and my continent each one of us has our own story that shapes us and it is our
individual responsibility to contribute to the common good and positively impact
the world worldwide distinguished ladies and gentlemen you might be asking but
who is she I know that Jeremias has tried to
introduce me but let me give you a little bit about my background and what
am I talking about what is it that shaped me what is it that drew my
attention to the global status of human beings I was born in a little village in
Malawi and the tradition that I was born in is what they call the Matt linear
system of marriage where the husband who come and live in the wives village and
so your father has very little control on how you are raised you and
grandmother is supposed to give you her name at birth if you are the eldest
granddaughter and she is supposed to bring you up and prepare you for
motherhood as a wife but also as a matriarch because when she dies you
become the matriarch of the family the example is that my daughter who is
sitting here is called Edith and Edith was my mother’s name so when my mother
died she’s the head of the family even I call her mama that is the tradition in
my particular case I was born in this little village a Britishness had become
to establish a clinic so I was one of those first children born in this little
clinic my grandmother was holding me when the
doctor came around the following day asked my grandmother what my name was
going to be instead of saying well my tradition demands that I shall name my
name she asked whoever was translating to say ask her what her name was and
this woman said I’m Joyce she says well then that’s going to be the name of this
charity she said she told me later that she did that because she straightaway
saw that woman as my role model she saw that I was going to grow up one day and
established clinics and build hospitals and and the care for the poor
well I wounded up building 15 clinics but she denied me my right to inherit
the matriarchy of the family the second was that she
was supposed to bring me up my father insisted that he wanted to bring me up
and send me to school he had just just joined the malapa wrist
band so we he lived 15 kilometres away they argued and argued in the end they
compromised they agreed that five days of the week I would stay in town and go
to school and then weekend’s I’ll go home and spend time with my grandmother
every Friday after school I jumped on the bus to go to Damacy where my
grandmother lived and without fail when I got down from the bus by the roadside
a friend of mine by the name of Chris a would be waiting for me and would walk
together into the village and she taught me all about village life and I taught
her all that I was experiencing in town I went to the urban school she went to
the village school she was brighter than me I know she was brighter than me
because she was first position every class we went to the end of primary
school we were both selected to the best girls secondary schools in Malawi I went
to sent me she went to st. Mary’s I went to Providence under school I came back
the next holiday Christa was not by the roadside I asked my grandmother what had
happened to Christa wasn’t there waiting for me my grandmother said I don’t think
she wants to see you Chris had dropped out of school her family could not
afford the six dollars she required to go back to school
I was 14 years old when I was awakened to this kind of injustice distinguished
ladies and gentlemen as I’m talking to you now 130 million girls are not in
school through no fault of their own sometimes they tell us 40 million
sometimes sometimes sometimes they tell us sir 100 million but but isn’t it
tragic that we are sitting here you and I and a hundreds of girls out of school
through no fault of their own I made up my mind at that age that I was going to
grow up and send as many girls as possible to school because when I asked
my father to send Christa to school to find six dollars my father said my
salary is six $18 so when the three of you go I have no change so Chris had
dropped out and as I’m talking to you now Chris I swear I left her and I went
on and I wa and on and ended up in state house as head of state is that fair it
was too late for me to send Christa to school but I was sure that all her
children go to college and as I’m talking to you now Chris is
in the village but she’s a fellow champion as me because in 2013 I brought
Christa to New York to attend the UN General Assembly side meetings and she
met Gordon Brown the UNM fight for education and I told her that you lost
out but you can become a champion just like me so the schools that I have built
in Malawi in the village Chrissa is the champion that goes about looking for
girls NIDA girls to go to school at age 34 I went to give birth to my firstborn
child and suffered what they call postpartum hemorrhage I was bleeding to
death that is the main cause of death for pregnant women in my country
especially those that don’t end up in hospital especially those that just end
up giving birth at the traditional birth attendant my husband knew one of the
only three then ecologist went and brought him and
saved my life and I woke up and I started to look around at that point
1200 women were dying giving birth distinguished ladies and gentlemen it is
not acceptable that a woman should die giving life why is it that here in
Kansas when a woman is pregnant such a way war and register start by staff and
paint a raw pink or blue you even know the sex of the child why is it that in
this same world where I come from it’s a time of anxiety because you don’t know
whether when you go you’re going to come back so maternal health I decided that
as long as I live I shall fight this unnecessary death I’m just so proud that
when I became president the first thing I did was to meet Chiefs and form a
national network of traditional leaders because they are the custodians of
tradition and culture and ensured that they cestus their communities they make
their own bylaws and encourage our women to deliver at the hospital in the time I
was president were able to build 20 hoarding shelters so that they can walk
to the clinic and stay there and wait for labor and in the time I was head of
state I encourage the private sector to build hoarding shelters and we were able
to reduce maternal death from six hundred and seventy five two to four
hundred and sixty per hundred thousand live births in 24 months distinguished ladies and gentlemen by
age 21 I was married by age 25 I had three children and I stayed ten years in
an abusive marriage I cannot even begin discussing the fights the physical
fights they abuse ten years later I packed my box at a time what we put
into divorce it didn’t talk away from abusive relationships but I said I was
doing it for my my children my mother even affected a heart attack my friends
are laughing at me what kind of a daughter do you have walks away from my
marriage what is it that she can’t stand and tolerate I made up my mind at that
point that I would never stand by and watch a fellow woman be abused if I can
help it why must women be abused one out of every five women is abuse t I can
write a book and I’m just so proud that when I became minister of women and
children in 2004 the first was for me to look for a bill that had already been
drafted by the civil society and take it to Parliament and they were lobbying and
the fights and their views in making sure that championing that bill to pass
is another book and another lecture suffice to say I’m so proud that in 2006
we passed the domestic virus bill in Malawi the fourth area that have championed
these are the four pillars of the joyful foundation so I believe that women can
avoid Jennifer’s violence can avoid abuse if the economical empowered I
believe that women at grass which when they begin to contribute income into the
poor household they aim respect at household level they begin to
participate in the decision-making of the household but also to make decisions
about their own lives an aunt an African woman who didn’t go to school but has
income will ensure that her child goes to school so that the vicious cycle of
poverty ends with her this extraordinary journey of mine would not have been
possible without the support of the American government I’m sure some of you
were saying is she not lost she’s telling us about herself where’s the
American role by the end of this lecture you will see what America can do
overseas it is important for me to give this lecture at this time and I’ll tell
you why but first let me talk about the fact that America has always played a
very important role in Africa the former Assistant Secretary of State Wendy
Sherman just this past week on msnb MSNBC said that the majority of
Africans love America and look up to America for leadership only many global
issues such as human rights governance and indeed climate change and so on and
so on this is why I must cite what we as Africans must remember about past
governments of this gray mission one of the most celebrated
president American presidents in Africa is president george w bush his
presidents images a plan for AIDS relief acronym PEPFAR has provided ARV
treatment to over seven point seven million pH IV infected people in
resource-limited settings and supported HIV testing and counseling for more than
56 point seven million people furthermore he finalized and signed the
African growth and opportunity Act a ball in May of 2000 to increase
opportunities for trade between the United States and Africa
he started the United States Africa Command to strengthen American security
cooperation helped develop African military and democratic capacities and
proved to promote peace and security globally President Bush visited Africa
ten times more than any other president in history I spent many years waiting
for an opportunity to meet him and to thank him and I was privileged to meet
him in 2014 at an event that was organized in New York to honor us and I
thanked him distinguished ladies and gentlemen President Obama built on some
of the work done by President Bush including extending their Goa
registration showing that both Democrats and Republicans value building trade
with Africa and facilitating good relationships
President Obama built on this by focusing on African leaders and always
made sure we were concerted on his initiatives during my presidency I was
invited to the White House along three other African presidents to
discuss presidential achievements and proposed ways to accelerate
implementation of us supported projects in our countries such as the Millennium
Challenge account ago PEPFAR and others furthermore President Obama hosted the
us-africa summit in August of 2014 bringing together over 50 African
dignitaries to discuss trade and cooperation he also started the young
African leaders initiative finding the top talent from the continent and giving
them training and internship here in the United States of America to support
their development as leaders and also like to mention distinguished ladies and
gentlemen that many of your former presidents have made major impact on the
continent of Africa for example President Jimmy Carter continued to
observe elections trained local leaders mediate global conflicts and promote
human rights and isn’t it wonderful that at the age of 94 after beating Casas
he continues to build houses for disadvantaged communities distinguished
ladies and gentlemen President Bill Clinton through his foundation has done
commendable work throughout the developing world to improve lives in my
country he has done a lot of work in the health sector such as providing
equipment to hospitals for AIDS patients promoting maternal health and even
building a full-fledged hospital in the Nano district of Malawi when President
Clinton came to Malawi to start work we had to sign an agreement and I was then
foreign minister and my president said well this is not he is no longer
president you are going to host him so I remember meeting him at the airport and
then we traveled into state house after the event of the signing event I had to
him off he left assembly and I shall never forget this I go to the airport
and anybody who knows me all my other life I’ve dressed up like this I’m an
African woman first so I get to the airport and find he’s very popular in
Malawi so thousands and thousands of people had gotten to the airport to see
him off so women dressed like me we’re dancing there so what I do when I find
rural women dancing I does such work so I joined in the dancing and this before
the Secret Service people where they are waiting for President Bill Clinton to
arrive and then I’m dancing and they saw me and they didn’t know who I am so when
I heard the siren President Bill Clinton arriving I stepped forward to receive
him and he grabbed my throat he must have thought on some suicide bomber or
something and I said to him don’t touch me
leave me he says who are you I said so in that moment I needed to tell him
something he could understand I said I’m Condoleezza Rice my husband told me later that to say
that was a stupid job you don’t look anything like Condoleezza Rice and he
could have shot you distinguished ladies and gentlemen American private citizens
who have never been presidents have also made significant impact in Africa people
like the late dr. Martin Luther King jr. and ambassador Andrew Young in the 60s
were civil rights activists here in the United States but lobbied for African
freedom by denouncing colonialism and encouraging our independence dr. Martin
Luther King was even present with the dr. kwame nkrumah in 1957 in Ghana when
they received their independence the first of its kind in Africa it was a
personal milestone for me to receive the dr. Martin Luther King drum major award
for freedom in 2012 for quality leadership and as a fighter for freedom there’s a little girl aged 15 in New
York State when she was seven years old she was involved in an accident coming
back from school she was being driven by her nun and when they took her to the
hospital there was no room in the Children’s Ward so she ended up in the
corridor when she left that hospital she went and told her father help me to
respond to extend that clinic she was eight there’s a picture at nine years
old her cutting the ribbon opening that we as I’m talking to you now she’s the
president of the young the Children’s Committee on security at the United
Nations the fallen years up three four years after that clinic opening of that
clinic she started going to companies and mobilizing non-perishable
and distributing to homeless women this he three years ago I met her father her
father handed her over to me to mentor her and this American child now is
distributing school uniforms to needy children in Africa hundreds in Malawi
because when a child has no uniform and in tatters they don’t go to school so
even why a primary school is free the child would not go to school when they
have no clothes at fifteen years old an American girl child decided she was
going to make a difference I’m talking about the raw America can play both that
government under the individual level there’s a child by the name of manga who
lives in South Carolina she her parents originally came from Africa the mother
took her to see Africa for the first time when she was seven she saw children
carrying books in plastic papers going to school she didn’t understand why they
had no backpacks her mother said they can’t afford they’re poor
she came back to this great nation and told her teacher and her class and
immediately they helped her raise fifty bucks and she went back and gave those
50 bucks to her fellow children as I’m talking to you now this year she has
distributed ten thousand bucks to 35 countries and she’s 13 years old
distinguished ladies and gentlemen we can do it as African countries began to
gain independence from their colonial rules the United States government saw
the opportunity to contribute to developing countries and thus the United
States Agency for International Development was established in nine 1960
in the fiscal year 2015 the United States provided more than eight billion
in dollars in assistance for the seven countries throughout the 33 regional and
bilateral missions u.s. ID provides partnerships on the continent and why it
works to event conflict that creates political
instability and not only adversely effects Africa but also US national
security president Reyes ID focuses on boosting
agricultural productivity improving health systems supporting democracy and
human rights increasing resilience to climate shocks and leading quick
responses to human human terian crises the many victims of crisis on the
continent of Africa women and kills in my country Malawi among other projects
USAID has done a lot of work to mainstream equality for example u.s. ID
launched a project called the girls attainment in a basic literacy and
education the Gabel project in 1992 many women in leadership positions today in
Malawi benefited from this initiative because girls were allowed to go to
school free it was during this same period that u.s. ID first recognized
that we can only achieve gender equality if we change mindsets at the community
level this started their social mobilization
work under such the creative center for community mobilization cracker was born
u.s. ID continues to impact its impact today through the Feed the Future
project and maternal health and safe motherhood initiatives distinguished
ladies and gentlemen let me share with you what happens when the United States
of America decides to invest in an African allow me to tell you a little
bit about the pivotal row u.s. ID played on my leadership journey when I sit down
to write my memoir the chapter on leadership shall start with the United
States government in 1980 seven I attended a meeting in Malawi by
the United Nations Development Programme the country director wanted us to
discuss the private sector and why it was not growing as it should and why it
was not being looked upon as the engine for growth in Malawi this was during
that the dictatorship in Malawi I was on one of only two women that were invited
at this meeting there was a gentleman by the name of Don Henry an American who
was the heading and a project by us I decoded the red project the rural
enterprise development project and I stood up to speak and I told the UNDP
and all attending that they were wasting time discussing the private private
sector as an engine for growth when women were being isolated when women
were not being empowered when women were not sitting at the table and when women
were not participating in business at breaktime he contacted me and told me he
had never had a malaria Norman speak like that before
handed me a card and said if you ever need me in the future just contact me in
1989 I applied to come to the u.s. to attend to to attend the six-week
exchange program and during that study tour I interacted with a lot of women
organizations one of them that I remember vividly was the National
Association of Women business owners at the end of that tour I was very clear in
my mind that I was going to go back home and organize an unstirred an
organization to fight for equal opportunities in business I was at that
point just thinking about 100 women so I went back home and roped Ford on him and
made Don Henley and Don Henry told me go and meet my boss the country director we
Sadie then was Caro peasley I went and met Carol here prepared and I was so
green I didn’t even know how to approach donors I didn’t know approach donors at
the special language that you had to use in order to convince them and I saw that
in five minutes Caro put her pad down and I knew that I wasn’t making sense
was all I knew was that women in Malawi needed help and that I was ready so I
went back to Don Henry I said I didn’t have much success with you Caro and she
asked me what did I say I told you mrs. yeah you were in prepared we donors we
want statistics we want you to tell us the exact situation of women in Malawi
and why they need support and why it must be you leading them so I went back
to Carl and asked for a needs assessment survey to be conducted and could they
fund it from that needs assessment survey fast forward us ideal supported
us and the u.s. ID established in Malaya what they called the shared project and
the shared project was helping strengthen the civil society
distinguished ladies and gentlemen II is not easy to build to strengthen civil
society in the developing world because most of the countries where we operate
in the civil society we are looked upon as the opposition and we’re harassed and
were abused but when they know that us ID is at the center of that is
protection as well in that period alone when the shared project was taking place
in Malawi 200 or so organizations were formed including the National
Association of business women that I established and we affirmed what we
called the national agenda coordinating Network and I became the first chair and
it had 69 NGOs just looking at issues of gender and inequality us Ida sent me to
Grameen Bank to spend time with Muhammad Yunus
and us ID sent me to India to work with Ella Bache self-employed Women’s
Association when I came back I established the national association of
business women and the designed our own model for microfinance
by 1997 we had reached 50,000 women and provided microfinance to 20,000 women
all with the support of your sight II distinguished ladies and gentlemen their
organization that I founded by 1997 was the strongest rural network run by women
across the country I received the Africa price in 1997 and
shared that with president Hassan of Mozambique the prize money was $50,000
but what I had found during my work at grassroot with women empowering them
economically was that in most villages where you went
brothers were not there the way in town they were teachers they were doctors
their sisters had not been sent to school because when resources were low
girls didn’t go and I decided that if I was ever going to continue to support
women I needed it to focus on education for the girl child so with the $50,000
that I received from the Hunger Project as prize money
I studied the Joyce Banda Foundation and I’m proud to report that working with
champions like Krissi and others and Edith we have sent to school 6,500 girls I went on and in that organization of
the National secession of visas women fall of us ended up going to Parliament
and ended up being ministers of women and children and on my on my part all
the way to Statehouse as head of state I want to underline that to show the
stubborn link between economic empowerment and leadership and political
leadership because for us to compete where we come from
just like here you need to have economic resources in order to do it
distinguished ladies and gentlemen where I come from there are thousands of Joyce
pandas working with Joyce Banda Foundation National Association of
businesswomen they thought of all the men and women that we have supported
until children going to school it’s 1.3 million so if there are
thousands of Joyce Banda’s just imagine if they were all got the kind of support
that USAID provided to me what our continent would be like distinguished
ladies and gentlemen so recently we have heard and read about your new policy of
America first Africans respect and accept this national nationalistic
policy we need to respect that because that’s the position of us you us but
also UK it’s America first its UK first in my opinion I look at this as an
opportunity for us as Africans to get our priorities right as you know Africa
is not poor it is endowed with the huge natural
resources and human resources and in most of our countries these resources
mean with unexploited African lead leaders now realize that
and make Polish realize this potential and make policies to ensure that these
resources benefit the people they lead so while in some cases in the past these
resources have been mismanaged countries like Botswana Ghana Tanzania and Rwanda
are setting the pace in demonstrating that these natural resources can benefit
their people we have the largest youth population in the world 200 million
people to be precise and it is high time that we make sure that those youth
particularly girls have the opportunity to shine with or without the support of
the United Nations the United States of America our mineral wealth can fund
educate education health and food production on the continent and develop
and our growing workforce the progress we are making is encouraging some in
this distinguished audience might not know that there are areas where Africa
is doing better than the United States according to the World Economic Forum
Ethiopia is the fastest growing economy in the world this was announced this
week the boat makes to the top ten list and as does Tanzania which is growing at
double the pace of the United States of America distinguished ladies and
gentlemen believe it or not the richest man that
ever lived was an Africa his name was most Mansa Musa he was for
money you can google him he had a net worth of the equivalent of one hundred
four hundred billion four times the wealth of Bill Gates this worth many
came from mineral wealth I’m mentioning this because we all know how Bill Gates
has impacted humanity and has done so much to touch lives so if he business
Amasa had done the same Africa wouldn’t be where we are that’s what I mean by
saying we just need to put our priorities right distinguished ladies
and gentlemen it is unfortunate that while the u.s. is taking this
nationalistic position and even exiting Paris agreement divesting from
international markets and development other countries such as the Canada and
China are seizing the warning with the opportunity rushing in to fill the
leadership vacuum investing in infrastructure
hiring their people to work and promoting trade and culture the good
news is that Africa is still a place in the world that respects democracy and
looks up to the United States of America for leadership but if America decades
that position of leadership your country’s geopolitical power will be
weakened it is therefore imperative that America and Africa leaders American and
African leaders forge partnerships smart partnerships that are based on
mutual respect and dignity for each other distinguished ladies and gentlemen
the tragedy is that this rationalistic approach of the developed world if it
continues I fear that we will diverge from the path that we were on to us
achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular
achieving gender equality all members of the United Nations agreed to unsigned
this agenda in 2015 it was my hope that in partnership with the developed world
Africa would achieve the gender equality by gender equality by 2030
why is common sense not very common that if we ignore women who are more than
half of the human race our world’s development will be stunted
isn’t it true that we are more than many number
and isn’t it true that we brought you the other half into this world there’s
an obvious moral case in investing in women as we are members of a society of
rededicated upon the values of equality and justice for all
but we live in the real world and we want to see returns in our investments
according to research done at Columbia University there’s a strong correlation
between countries with female leaders and a rise in GDP 6.9 percent to be
precise the probability of virus ending in a country increases by 25 percent
when women were represented in legislatures and when women participate
in peace processes the resulting an agreement is that a 5 percent more
likely to last furthermore women are more likely to pass legislation that
promotes education healthcare and social welfare improving overall health and
productivity in the society to build women leaders it is critical to start by
investing in the girl child my research as the Goodwill Ambassador a minister a
as the as as a fellow has revealed that leaders are born with the percent trace
but 70 percent are left to be developed throughout the person’s life in many
parts of Africa girls ages 0 to 10 are discriminated against when it comes to
accessing education especially when they live in poverty in many cases they fall
victim of harmful cultural practices facing these challenges girls are less
likely to develop the other 70% trace leaving the 30 percent to West decision
makers must implement policies and build programs that protect and
more to the girl-child it is my sincere hope that the US government will
continue supporting in the immediate need for girls education if we are here
in the United States while there have been significant successes in terms of
girls equality and access to education research shows that over the past 10
years more and more girls particularly from minority and immigrant backgrounds
living in poverty this leads more girls to experience
emotional and physical health problems they have as American girls grow into
women they face a whole new set of challenges according to the World
Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report the United States ranks 74th in
wage equality among 145 countries at a rate of 64% meaning that women in your
country only make 2/3 of what men do the United States alongside Papua New Guinea
is one of the two countries that does not ensure a paid maternity leave child
care costs are extremely high and women are much more likely to experience
related career interruptions whether more sexual harassment complaints are
now during news terrorizing women both at school and in the workplace to be
quite honest distinguished ladies and gentlemen these statistics shocked me
how can a country like the United States one of the oddest democracies in the
world not offer maternity leave while the United Kingdom women can go as long
as nine months how can the United States of such wage inequalities when countries
like Iceland have passed laws to enforce equal pay how come only 19% of American
legislators our women after two centuries of democracy and the biggest
question I have is how can the United States of America
being a democracy for over 200 years and not have elected a single female
president I don’t understand I don’t get it I don’t get it because Africa has
done well we have had four female presidents Liberia Malawi central
freaking Republic and now Mauritius has a female president
so they’re former I believe that there’s one or two things we can also teach
America the world has seen more than 50 heads of state however even though we
are making progress in putting women in leadership roles particularly as heads
of state we have trouble keeping them there distinguished ladies and gentlemen
let me tell you what you already know women’s leadership is under attack
globally in fact some of the experiences and acts of abuse they face a horrific
Australia’s former Prime Minister Julia Gillard first consistent verbal abuse in
parliament and was driven out of office by her male counterparts
after she left us pursued on business corruption charges only to be cleared
later in Thailand the former prime minister
Sheena Sheena what Shinawatra decided is up to subsidized rice for the poor they
are made took over government because that was to them was a crime and blamed
her for the major loss of revenue to the government and then a trials opened she
was arrested and she thought it was a joke how can I ever be arrested how can
I be tried for trying to feed the poor but she was shocked that just two months
ago her Minister of Trade and his deputy who had implemented that program were
sentenced to 40 years in jail for that program the subsidy of
and he’s deputed to 37 years and she was going to be sentenced two weeks later
and she ran away and fled the country but shows still scientists in how in our
obsession she can’t go back distinguished ladies and gentlemen and
why challenges in Africa even more serious even to stand for elected office
you are abused you’re beaten up you’re stripped naked you don’t have financial
resources we have had the opportunity to be trained by NDI an American
institution that came to Africa to give us training when we were seeking elected
office my humble request has been we want more of this but we want it to be
appropriate training we must work together forged my partnerships to
design proper training for women for African women because here you would
train me to go and campaign and be assertive and look people in the face
and give them my points and what I’m going to do in Africa is the opposite if
I go to achieve and look him in the face I won’t be erected so we need to have
appropriate training according to where we come from in my case I was elected as
vice president in 2009 what we are worried about is the physical abuse and
I’m so grateful to the American government because secretary Madeleine
Albright as chair Wendy I has just launched at the UN what she calls not
the cost campaign to fight abuses to women seeking political office or women
in public office I was elected vice president 2009 the Constitution is very
clear that if you are elected with your president if anything happens to him
Midway you shall take over you shall take off immediately in nineteen in 2012
April 5 the president died it took 72 hours for them to just
imagine Joyce Banda becoming president of any country the drama that took place
those three days is another book and another lecture but the general or Nero
who was head of the Malawi Defense Force in Malawi who was very well known to
General Richard Myers got international support and intervened and I was able to
take off 72 hours later as I’m speaking to you now when I left office he was
arrested distinguished ladies and gentlemen five weeks before I became
president on April 5 on my faith we were in South Africa attending a know an
event at the brain house foundation where I first met general Myers and his
dear wife and there were military leaders at this event I was invited to
chair the post-conflict effects on women and girls in Africa and general Dara
told me later that it was that network that he formed at 12 that supported him
and gave him the courage to intervene in my case so that I could become president
because they encouraged him to do the right thing to respect the Constitution
and to allow me to take off my motto has always been as a leader that leadership
distinguished ladies and gentleman is a love affair you must fall in love with
the people yourself and the people must fall in love with you in 2012 when I
became president the country had grown by only one point eight percent as as as
general Maya said to me two million people were food insecure the greatest
lesson that I learned as president and maybe that’s what is different
between women and male leaders is that you engage the people you must talk to
the people you must let them know no matter how bad the situation is because
that’s the way they were stunned and aside with you I had to devalue the
currency by 47% which would have meant hardships of the people I got into
office and they told me I had a whole plane to me to travel in I went in the
plane it was like as a lounge when two million people don’t have food I said
sell the plane sell it I went into State House and was told that he everything
was free including food I said then why am I being paid so I asked that that a
percent of my salary should be deducted and donated to an institution training
people with disabilities distinguished ladies and gentlemen but it’s hardly
where we come from to fight corruption but that’s one thing that I thought I
should do if you fall in love with the people and the people fall in love with
you you are not going to allow anybody to exploit them but what I didn’t know
is how difficult it is because sometimes you think African leaders don’t want to
fight corruption it backfires a new big time
because the people that you are fighting a very strong people and with a lot of
loose money and resources so they’ll fight you back and I was
warned you have elections around the corner you want to fight corruption you
want to arrest people you will never win the next election for me that was not a
big deal I told my husband if I have to vacate state house because I’m fighting
corruption let it be there’s life beyond Statehouse
look at me today and when Kansas amaya president but life goes on
I will forever be grateful to the European Union ambassador by the name of
Alexander Baum he’s the one who alerted me that check they integrated financial
management system it’s being abused and I checked and I made an announcement to
the nation and set up and put together team one week later the first group was
arrested 72 people finally were arrested I asked the British government to give
me resources to conduct a forensic audit some people have said that was the first
president in Africa to conduct a forensic audit in my government during
my time but I found god I did and it’s not because I’m too bright but I was
advised by a friend who was working at the World Bank he told me how I
documented that were exonerate you you might need it in the future and
distinguished ladies and gentlemen if I had if I didn’t have that report I’d be
in jail right now because they’ll keep fighting you and then you don’t have
anything to protect you and I came here to do my research after that I was going
home I reached South Africa phoned Malawi to tell them I was returning and
they made an announcement that they would be an arrest warrant for you if
you return because this is an election year again and everybody is saying come
back and stand again you can’t be living in the dark like this thank God
those of you are following the news is just last week when the anti-corruption
Bureau of Malawi issued a statement to say us mana is not connected to the
corruption that took place I should be out of my mind to retake the lead to
arrest people when I know I’m involved I must be a fool but I’m I’m thankful but
what I’ve done I’ve started taking defamation cases to court and I’m also
pleased to inform you that I’ve just won the first case
I said this because that is what women are facing on daily basis I have had two
assassination attempts as general Meyer said one of them I was a whole head of
state I went in this area to switch on the electricity at a clinic where we are
this oldest electricity and people are coming this man is charging towards me
with a machete to come and hug me and my policeman came in front and was hacked
to death before me I’m not the only one people are going through this all over I
remember when benazir bhutto decided to go home we all said he shouldn’t go but
she went and the day she arrived 200 people were slaughtered and then a few
weeks later she was killed herself so we operate in those kind of hostile
environments sometimes that’s where the United States government can step in
because I’m telling you I know what I’m talking about
there were many times when I could have been arrested but sometimes I even just
walked to the usit office and sat there and that was it it’s like he can’t get
me because well they can’t come near any USAID office so this is an area that I’m
grateful that secretary Madeleine Albright is championing distinguished
ladies and gentlemen against all odds by the time I left office the economy had
grown by 6.2 percent as jeremiah said earlier when we left office we had
harvested 3.9 million metric tons of maize with 1 million of a production in
a country where when I K went in 1 million people 2 million people had no
food by the time I left office press freedom had we had we had I had opened
up and allowed Malawians to be free to speak to associate to write
we moved from position 145 on the global index index for press freedom to 79 when
I came in by the time I left I had taken a bill to Parliament on assessed
declaration I believe that when we get into office we must declare what we have
and when we leave office we must also declare what we have and if you have too
much then you must explain how you got order just forces we must also ask the global community to
fight with us because now from the Panama papers
we know that corruption is global it’s a global problem so we must all work
together so if I’m a former president and I come into America and I buy five
six houses you must ask me where I got the money for that way you are not in a
place because we sometimes we worry I spent all my time in Statehouse trying
to get our money back that had been stucked in banks overseas you find that
sometimes it’s reluctance for these countries to bring back the money for
developing our nations well that’s where the money belongs but sometimes it’s not
easy distinguished ladies and gentlemen I want to recommend I have listened to
President Trump he is a businessman and he wants to promote trade and I’m
excited because what Africa needs is not a D but it’s tricky I said this not
saying don’t don’t support don’t give aid but if we want to make an inter
impact we must create sustainable employment opportunities for the 50% of
unemployed college graduates across Africa so that will not be so that they
will not be compared to swim the Mediterranean to go looking for
opportunities in Europe number two Africa needs targeted aid
money considering the American fest administration we must make sure those
dollars are going to the most impactful programs we must be gender sensitive to
address the long-standing discrimination that has hindered girls and women IDI
must help women to catch up to catch up because we are far behind and should
focus on governance and institutional capacity building and sharing best
practices local national and international decision-makers should
focus on promoting women leadership globally by putting these issues on the
agenda and drafting legislation to protect them taking advice from
countries like Iceland who just made wage inequality illegal decision-makers
need to make sure that our environments even compasses like castles State
University are conducive to the growth of women number three Africa needs smart
partnership not helicopter projects led by those who do not even understand us
we welcome your input and collaboration but Africa must own the initiatives I
never went to school Arkansas I never faced the struggles the average Kansas
woman has faced so while I might have important insights into promote
promoting women’s leadership globally I would have a hard time building a
solution to tackle all the intricate issues you might face if I don’t work
with you here I am just advocating for smart partnership we get heartbroken
sometimes when we see international NGOs come to Africa and hope they can solve
our problems without involving us remember that Africa has 54 countries
each with different legal in we stick and the cultural landscapes and the only
ones who will make projects sustainable are those who have grown up being
educated and have their live roots there fortunately these partnerships will be
mutually beneficial as the United States and the African Union share many of the
same values of democracy human rights liberty and justice for all
and remember Africa and America we viewed more if women at the center of
these initiatives distinguished ladies and gentlemen I’d like to conclude as I
conclude I must draw your attention to the
that Africa is taking the lead in women’s participation in leadership
Ronda is the number one country ranked in terms of women’s representation in
Parliament while America is 18 or 19 percent women’s represented there Africa
Ronda in Africa is 64 percent Africa has seen four female presidents I know many
countries who have failed to elect a single woman receiving an award at the
Golden Globe Opera reminded us that it is a new age for women we are no longer
keeping quiet when injustice has happened to us and we are finally
banding together and solidarity to support and promote one another American
women are leading this charge in Hollywood and across the nation
and the choices you make domestically have a much play effect on the rest of
the world I’ve seen American women’s rise of American women rise up and shout
loudly about the opinions making sure that they are congressmen and Senators
hear their voice and represent them appropriately in Africa as feminists we
would take a different approach notably UN women and African Union with the
support of the German government have just facilitated this a few months ago
the formation of the African women leaders Network a perfect partner for
future American support of African women led initiatives this is your country and
your world if you see injustice or policies that you don’t agree with find
your voice use your struggles and successes to organize take action and
create impact and then at the end of the day what matters to me is the freedoms
and change we bring about in our own context and worldwide I would like to end by paying special
tribute to President General Richard Myers I was I was invited to twirl to
chair the post-conflict girls post-conflict effect on women and girls
and while I was there I met many generals including General Richard Myers
General David Richards of UK and a lot of generals from Africa in fact I was
refusing to go and attend this meeting there were too many military people
invited on the list but my husband persuaded me to go and I went and I met
General Richard Myers for the first time and we interacted for the those that who
we came and I left South Africa on the face of March 2012 exactly four weeks
later to the day president Bingham tarika dieting I am told I didn’t know
then that for eight hours they were pressurizing the I’m a commander to take
over government kill me or do whatever and and over government to them to the
people that were in government to the people that couldn’t even imagine a
woman taking over as head of state I was also taught later that it was that
network that he had built at Jeremiah’s included that gave him the support and
the encouragement to do what was right at the moment follow the Constitution
don’t allow anybody to confuse you we shall stand by you on the third day
while they had already withdrawn all the security from my house and the her
already appointed another president I phoned the army commander in my country
because I had met him much with him and I said you must come here
he says I’m on my way I said no yesterday I called you you didn’t come
he said today you don’t need to persuade me I’m on my way I didn’t know he had
been convinced by his network that it was okay to do the right thing and he
came and on the 7th of April after 72 hours I was allowed to take oath and
become the president of Malawi just like president george w booth job w bush I’ve
waited a long time to have an opportunity to thank general Myers and
this is a perfect opportunity and I want him to know and I want you to know you
and your wife that I shall forever be grateful to you for those who don’t know
General Richard Myers has been very active on the continent through the
brain Hearst foundation that invites thinkers once a year to discuss issues
affecting Africa and he has been somebody who has been invited there
again in the game and participated in bringing about peace and the settling
conflicts on the continent of Africa and good governance and human rights but in
addition to that when I became president I went back to Brenda’s foundation to
seek for support to bring together Malawi ins
to discuss our situation that I had found there wasn’t even fewer for a day
if you take me to the president’s funerals donated by the president of
Zambia the present brain has foundation provided the resources for me to bring
the nation of Malawi together to discuss our economic recovery plan Jeremiah’s
from there onwards to throughout the period hours head of state he was on the
Advisory Council for your spot distinguished ladies and gentlemen it’s
difficult for me to do this without being emotional but allow me to end with
the a two-minute African story that my
grandmother taught me when I was 9 years old there was an animal kingdom and a
lot of animals flourished and lived there in harmony but there was a severe
famine one Ian and thousands of animals were dying and a few that remained were
flocking together looking for whatever food they could find and the giraffe
with it’s not wrong neck said to king elephant I see smoke ahead of us
somebody is cooking food and King elephant said but that’s not possible
there is no food in there for in the jungle and they flocked together and
increase their pace and go to the place and indeed found little hair with a big
porch on the fire and what her might is he was cooking was boiling furiously and
he was there were a few animals sitting around passing one firewood to little
hair so the fire could keep burning and then they kept passing the firewood and
King elephant said truly to him so while all of us are starving you are here busy
cooking food he said your majesty I’m not cooking food I’m boiling stones
I’m boiling stones because I believe that if I keep boiling them they will
turn into pumpkins and all the animals that came with King elephants started
walking away as this one’s sitting around we’re still busy must modify I
would saw a little hay I could keep the fire burning and they were working away
and calling him all kinds of names and little hey I shouted behind them and
said Your Majesty at least I’m doing something about the situation
I want to thank you know Myers for the firewood you keep passing on so that I
can keep this fire penny because you know what one day this
stones will turn into pumpkins may God bless you – trying she’s moving I was told by some that we don’t have
any time for questions we’re gonna take two questions we have two microphones if
there are questions so if there are questions would you please go to the
microphone and ask your question and we’ll ask our excellency to to answer
looks like we have a question coming down here thank you for your inspiring
presentation today appreciate it very much
I’ve been reading an animal where I’m sure you are that the use of Internet
have made us very interdependent around the world and so how is the use of the
internet helped you in your country to educate your women and young girls thank
you that’s a very difficult question for me because where I come from in my
country it’s only twenty seven twenty twenty seven percent access for both men
and women and I have been advocating and I’ve been
saying everywhere if you are advancing at this fast pace in access to Internet
and the technology you are living a whole generation behind and a city it’s
a time bubble so another way of supporting us in Africa is to increase
access in other countries they are doing better than others
but in my particular in my country it is 27% unfortunately what I didn’t say one
of the main challenges women leaders are facing is media coverage negative media
coverage aimed at punishing women who were we have seen that when they become
members of parliament they are better leaders when they get into statehouse
they address social issues but the same Internet can go all the way to tarnish
the image of these innocent women who have no capacity to
fight back or to build a team I’m told that you must have a quick response team
to counter but we don’t know how to do it so we just suffer in silence but to
get straight to that question there’s need for us to increase access on the
continent we want you president many thanks so much for coming I really liked
what you had to say about the fact that anybody who’s committed to improving the
disparities you talked about like health and education in other parts of the
world anybody who’s committed to that has a
role to play and and seeing that reality not just powerful people and I wanted to
ask you about them highlight an opportunity that everybody in this room
can take action on this week and on February 2nd the global partnership for
education conference is is meeting all the countries in the world are getting
together to decide how much money to give to this funding pool that will go
directly towards projects in the ground toward the Ministry of Education in
countries like Malawi not contractors that we focused explicitly on getting
girls in school and other marginalized populations now I’m part of a civil
society group okay state which has some African student volunteers and we’ve
been working to get members of Congress to sign a resolution to the president
urging him to adequately fund this the United States when even though it has
the far the biggest economy and the world is not the biggest funder in the
global partnership for education and it reflects our priorities and nation when
it comes to getting girls in school countries like Malawi and we’ve been
trying to get members of Congress to sign this resolution to President Trump
but if you can imagine none of the members this last time I checked in
Kansas of Congress have signed this resolution so clearly our work hasn’t
been enough but maybe if everybody in this room of a case state could urge our
government and our elected officials to encourage President Trump to adequately
fund the global partnership for education maybe we can make that happen
and so Mike my question is what would you say to people right now who are
inspired by your speech and wondering what can I do what opportunities do I
have to join civil society’s efforts to help countries like Malawi improve the
indicators in health education and and so on like you talked about things I
think at this moment in time at individual level there’s so much that
you can do I just want to give an example I cannot talk much about
government position now I can only talk what you as individuals can do there’s a
gentleman who is a medical doctor based in Lancaster Edie
doctor knee my knee Meyer is a medical doctor
we met in Malawi and he asked me just like you are what is it that we can do
and I said your I am running schools but my foundation targets girls that are
coming from child headed households where there are no parents so the
challenge is this girl child is torn between coming to school or sitting and
looking for whatever she can find for her siblings usually those girls are 13
14 looking up after four siblings so he said to me I will mobilize precooked
packs of hoop in this package rice bits of meat and the vegetables so when you
put it in water four minutes later there’s a meal he mobilized 1 million
packs and sent them to the Joyce Panda Foundation and our attendance increased
because this girl child now didn’t need to stay away from school because we are
the only one of three schools that are free in the country so we struggle to
make that run but we have to do it because a secondary education is not
free but I decided I was going to make it happen
so we’re together with Chris and my friend so when she leaves school in the
afternoon this girl child who is in a single child headed household she gets a
parking when she gets home is in what water and she has a mere four four four
children that is that sounds small here because that I’ve never seen a country
with so much abundance of food that is wasted I get into any restaurant and all
I see is food being thrown away and I’m saying wow I would feed ten children
with that every time they bring me to me even today the question is I
usually want you brought this to me so I can eat and finish it am I not bad
enough already but this is a country where even that
going to feed thousands of children and a neighbor descale child go to school
the program that Alicia this girl from New York State has started
she asked me I need to start work now I said you at your age this you’re going
to school school uniforms is the best so she raised five thousand dollars and
it’s ten dollars that can buy uniform to take a child to school but I know that
there are thousands and thousands of children in math that don’t go to school
because they can’t go to school in rags but you can imagine what difference that
would make so my answer to that question would be
to identify NGOs to partner with that is what I said area international NGOs
sometimes come and sideline indigenous and doers and think they can solve our
problems and we watch them then 20 years later they say we are living you people
can’t change yes you we can’t change because you didn’t target properly you
make a lot of difference if you work with the people on the ground so my
advice would be right now we have formed what we’re calling the women leaders
Network African women leaders network headquartered at the UN Women New York
if you just ask them my interest is full security they’ll give you an
organization on the ground in any country in Africa that you can work with
I believe that the answer is private sector target the private sector when
government is not doing it I was able to build 20 hoarding shelters for women to
get to the hospital and the reason why I was angry I went to a hospital found the
only baby born that night had died what happened over delivering this baby in
the dark and I had walked 15 kilometers but I needed to get it to bring a condom
so I didn’t have the 50 sensed by the condom so we’re delivering this baby in
the dark the cord had gone around the neck and we
strangled the baby simple stuff I just went to a private company and said put
electricity there in one month goes back to shoot on electricity so we can do it
but you can use the private sector thank you so much your excellency for
gracing us with your presence here I think you can all tell if we just had a
few international leaders with this kind of courage and insight and
thoughtfulness that we’d be a much better place for it so we we’re so
pleased you’re here Thank You Joyce thank you

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