October 17, 2011
As originally seen at Global Post.
Joyce Banda has served as vice president of Malawi since May 2009. The country's first female vice president, she previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Gender, Children's Affairs and Community Services. Before entering politics, Vice President Banda was a grassroots gender rights activist. She is currently a member of the Aspen Global Health and Development’s Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health. Banda spoke to writer John Donnelly about how a relationship with a friend during her childhood propelled her to work for women’s rights.
What is your motivation in getting involved in reproductive health rights for women?
There are many things. It started when I was young, and it is related to poverty, education, and women’s rights overall. I was privileged because my father was a policeman and we lived in town. Many people in Malawi are from typical villages. My grandmother insisted I should be in both worlds, and so I needed to be acquainted with village life. Every Friday, she would send me home to our ancestral village, and my very good friend Chrissy would meet me by the road. She wanted to hear about town life, and I wanted to hear about village live. She would show me how to pick wild foods. Anything rural, she would teach me.READ MORE »