Former Malawi president Joyce Banda and Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati are among 10 women who have received awards from three women organisations in recognition of their outstanding achievements.
The awards were given out in Lilongwe on Thursday at the end of a business forum called Pitch Night where, among other things, up-and-coming businesswomen pitched up their business ideas for the gathering to appreciate and probably support where need may be.
Banda received the award mostly in recognition of the fact that she was the country’s first woman president against all odds that top political positions in the country have always been a preserve of men.
All the awardees but one have ever received higher international recognition for achieving notable heights in their respective areas which have also earned them respect locally while Siku Nkhoma was chosen because for starting organizations which have proved successful in addressing issues of urban development among others.
The awards were given by African Business Women Network (Abwnet), Professional Women Network (Prownet) and Lilongwe Pitch.
According to executive director of Pronet, Rudo Chakwera, this was an initiative to honour women who have tremendous achievements and encourage them and others to work hard because it is only then that they can make a difference.
The other awardees are 22-year-old youth leader Rose Sakala whose passion for youth empowerment and education has created opportunities for thousands of Malawian youth. In 2015 she emerged overall winner of Future African Leaders Awards (Fala).
There was also netballer Mwawi Kumwenda, the Queens’ prolific shooter who has received numerous awards in her netball career including 2015 International World Games Asociation (IWGA) athlete of the year.
The others are film maker Joyce Chavula, who recently won the Africa Magic Viewer Best Southern Africa Movie Award; Tamanda Chabvuta who is communications officer for National Small Scale Farmers Association of Malawi (Nasfam), Rachel Sibande who is founder and CEO for Malawi’s technology hub and incubator space, Mhub; Malawi’s first ever female captain Yolanda Kaunda and a posthumous award was given to a prominent independence struggle politician, Rose Chibambo who died in January this year.
Presenting the awards to the outstanding women was Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Malawi who is also the dean of diplomats in the country, Thandi Dumbutshena. In her remarks, she said that Malawian women ought take the recognition they are getting in the country seriously and make positive use of it because it is not a common thing to have institutions that are dedicated to promoting women into higher status.