Role Modelling: Malawian Fellows share their knowledge and experience

19 06 2009

By Chikondi Pasani

Participants in a group photo

Participants in a group photo

Malawian AWARD Fellows conducted a joint role modeling event at the Natural Resources College of Malawi on 8 May 2008. Natural Resources College is a tertiary institution which offers certificate and diploma courses in different fields related to agriculture and natural resources management.   The event provided an opportunity for the Fellows to share information with 149 female students on career progression.  It was also an opportunity for the girls to interact with their female lecturers and the AWARD Fellows and share different experiences.

Mrs. Erica Maganga –the Principal Secretary II in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security was the guest of honor.  She was accompanied by two senior officials from the Ministry, Dr Grace Malindi – the Director of the Extension Department and Mrs. Clodina Chowa- the Deputy Director, Extension Methodologies in the Department of Extension who is also an AWARD mentor.  

Key note address

In her key note address, Mrs. Erica Maganga hinted the event came at the right time when there is political will on the importance of to educating girls to fast track gender representation at all levels in addition to promoting women’s participation in decision making.  She noted that Malawi has achieved tremendous progress in agricultural production in the last five years, and emphasized that this is mainly attributable to rural women who provide 80% of labor and yet receive only 5% of extension services.

Mrs. Maganga shared four secrets to success:

  • Hard work – she urged the girls to work hard in their course work.
  • Respect for people – she highlighted the need for commitment to work with the rural farmers in an amicable manner.
  • Good company – she indicated that most young girls tend to drop out of school as a result of bad company and peer pressure.  She urged the girls to choose friends who would positively impact on their lives. 
  • Fear of God – Making reference to Psalm 111:10 “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” she urged the girls to fear the Lord as He will direct them in the right path of success.

Fellows share their stories

Fellows shared their profiles indicating their education and professional backgrounds.  In sharing their profiles, fellows were able to illuminate their successes in spite of challenges encountered and different experiences in their lives.   This was meant to motivate the students not to give up on their goals and visions in the face of challenges. The guests also shared their profiles, highlighting their education and career achievements, inspiring the students and Fellows to follow their footsteps.

To encourage the students to boost their writing skills, confidence and visibility, fellows shared information on the essay contest for young people under the theme “The role of science in building a better world.

At the end of the function, groups of eager girls surrounded the Fellows, seeking clarification and guidance.  The girls wanted to know more about AWARD and how they can make it to university and earn degrees like the Fellows. Some sought more information on the essay competition.  It was amazing!

For pictures from this event, click here.

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