After three weeks of mentoring girls at the Women in Science (WiSci) Girls in Steam Camp held at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) last year, Monica Madulira, 26, was recently invited to the Girl Up Leadership Summit.
“I was offered a part-time voluntary post of being an African regional leader for Girl Up, an arm under the United Nations Foundations Programme, after the 2017 WiSci conference, and I was honoured to be invited to this year’s summit as a mentor,” said Madulira.
The seventh annual Girl Up Leadership Summit was held in Washington DC between July 8-11.
Over 350 passionate youth advocates from around the world participated in leadership trainings—learnt from influential speakers and, among other activities, engaged in skills-based workshops.
The summit also hosted two young Malawian girls— Chimwemwe Chiweza and Tapiwa Maoni—who were chosen as 2017 Wisci alumni.
“I was extremely excited; firstly, that I got to go to America, and secondly, that I got to go to the summit.
“During the WiSci Camp held in Malawi in 2017, they had explained what the summits were all about and how many girls from all over the world, who share the same passion, would come togeher and meet in one place.
“I remember saying to myself ‘next year I have to find myself there’. Being there and having the experience has surpassed all my expectations,” said Chiweza, a 16-year-old going for her first year of studies at Chancellor College.
She said she has learnt a lot from other girls, and from the many speakers that came.
She also liked the inspiring sessions where other girls shared on how they run Girl Up clubs in their countries.
She hoped that she will continue effecting change in the country through the Girl Up platform.
Maoni said the summit was life changing.
“Getting to meet all these amazing girls from across the globe was incredible. We shared ideas about how we can run Girl Up clubs and now I am thinking of how we can implement some of these ideas back home,” she said.
Madulira’s passion for girls also extends to her job at mHub, Malawi’s first technology hub where she is project manager, through one of the company’s initiatives, Girls for Code.
“Through Girls for Code, we have trained over 3 000 girls with digital skills— ranging from basic Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills to advanced skills, such as developing mobile application, websites and building robots. As an example, for a continuous six months in 2016, we trained over 40 out of school girls in basic ICT and entrepreneurial skills,” she said.
After the training, she said the girls went through a voluntary programme in government institutions (primary schools and hospitals).
“The impact of this was not only for the young girls, but also the knowledge they gave out to primary school girls during their voluntary service,” said Madulira, the last-born, and only girl in her family.
The 2017 WiSci Girls Steam [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design, and Mathematics] had over 100 students from Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the United States, and Malawi was the first African country to host the international camp.