On the 8th March International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide. In countries like Nepal and China women even celebrate the day with a public holiday.

Team Dziwe wanted to celebrate the day by producing a training session on the history of women and how they fought and are still fighting today for issues surrounding gender equality. Team Dziwe have been working closely with an all female, Muslim boarding school, Mai Halima, which is where they decided to conduct the session which was most effective and had a very encouraging outcome.

The team was greeted by the Sheikh of Mai Halima and he encouraged the team to stress the importance of hard work with the young girls so that they can excel in their education and have the choice to do whatever they want to after school. 

Team members Fiona Bushfield and Erin Gregory were the main speakers in the presentation and gave a motivational speech on the importance of being a woman and why it is important to remember the history of IWD from where it all began in the early 19th century. Fiona and Erin were joined by national volunteers Jessica Lameck and Memory Matumula who added to the session by mentioning the relevance that IWD has to women in Malawi. 

They mentioned some of the most successful and pioneering women in Malawi including: Chimwemwe Banda - Principal Secretary of information and tourism, Joyce Banda - President of the country from 2012-2014 and Jean Kalilani - Minister of health. They also mentioned Patricia Kaliyati, Catherine Kunje and Anastasia Msosa who are also Malawian women with inspirational stories.

The girls at Mai Halima were really inspired by the session and Team Dziwe had great feedback from the group. At present, IWD is celebrated by some people in Malawi but it is not officially a public holiday. In response to this the chair lady of the schools wildlife club said “we want to make sure that IWD is celebrated as a public holiday in Malawi. We will campaign to make it a public holiday so that we can all celebrate it.” This statement was really encouraging and the team felt their workshop had made a difference to the girls.

“Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.”

Written by Erin Gregory and Jessica Lameck