The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) extends our congratulations to Her Excellency Joyce Banda, who has recently been sworn into office as President of Malawi.Joyce Banda has been a longtime advocate for women’s rights and through her leadership of the ‘Joyce Banda Foundation’ (an AWDF grantee partner) she has supported civic education and empowerment activities for community based women. A member of the African Womens Leadership Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning, in November 2010, AWDF awarded Joyce Banda a ‘Woman of Substance’ award in the ‘Special Recognition Category’.

Theo Sowa, Interim CEO of AWDF states, “Our condolences go to the family of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika. Despite the tragic circumstances of her appointment, I am certain that President Joyce Banda will guide the people of Malawi with the same vision, principled leadership and diligence that she has shown in her life and work to date. Her track record as a women’s rights activist, and her history of working with community-based organisations is commendable. In November 2010, AWDF was privileged to have Joyce Banda participate in our 10th anniversary celebrations, where she spoke on the topic, “Quality versus quantity: How far have we come in promoting African women’s participation in politics?” This panel discussion now seems prescient, and we look forward to Joyce Banda distinguishing herself as an inspiring African woman president.

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