Graça Machel, founder of the Graça Machel Trust, and an international advocate for women and children, is in the country on a three-day visit to assess progress of the developmental programmes that the Trust runs in Malawi aimed at improving the lives of women and children.
Among others, Machel is expected to hold meetings with cabinet ministers, members of the Parliament, the United Nations family of organisations, civil society organisations (CSOs), private businesspersons as well as youth and women organisations.
In a press Statement released on Monday by the Graça Machel Trust Communications Unit, the visit which ends on Friday will also involve visiting farmers in Nsundwe village to see the fruits of their labour and a number of agro-dealer shops established through the Trust to increase women’s access to markets.
“A meeting with the Minister of Agriculture is planned to discuss several issues including increasing women’s participation in the seed value chain, one of the projects the Trust has initiated in Malawi through the African Food Basket.The initiative has the overall objective of strengthening seed production and distribution systems of affordable and drought tolerant soya, pigeon peas, cow peas and sugar bean breeder, basic and certified legume seeds in Malawi,” reads the statement in part.
The former South African First Lady is also expected to have a meeting with the Minister of Health, CSOs working in health sector and youth representatives to discuss Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child and Adolescent Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) issues, within the context of how Malawi has incorporated the health-related sustainable development goals (SDGs) into its national development plans.
“In her role as an SDG Advocate, Machel will also meet with Lilongwe District Health Management Team and tour Bwaila Hospital as well as hold meetings with a number of United Nations representatives in Malawi and the private sector to assess Malawi’s progress in implementing the sustainable development goals, more broadly,” the statement further reads.
Through various networks which include the Network of the African Business Women (Nabw), African Women in Agribusiness (Awab), the Women in Media Network (Wimn), and the Graça Machel Scholars, the Trust runs a number of projects across the continent to deepen women’s participation in key sectors of the economy and accelerate women’s economic advancement.
Through the Child Rights, Nutrition and Women’s Rights programmes, the Graça Machel Trust seeks to work with partners and networks in its focus countries and pioneer ways of engaging with people, institutions and organisations, in order to drive the transformation needed to achieve the country’s development.
Machel’s visit to Malawi is not the first as in August 2015 she also visited the country where among others she worked on initiatives aimed at accelerating efforts to end child marriages and improve education for the girl child and nutrition outcomes.