Getting Ahead

Poverty is one of the greatest problems in Malawi. But for 24-year old Takondwa Kaliwo, poverty has not been a setback but a motivation and an inspiration to work extra hard. Read story of Takondwa Kaliwo at mywage.org

By Sam Banda Jnr

 

Poverty is one of the greatest problems in Malawi. But for 24-year old Takondwa Kaliwo, poverty has not been a setback but a motivation and an inspiration to work extra hard.

“My mother and father divorced in 2003 a year before I was selected by the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College to pursue my Bachelors degree in Humanities, majoring in Theatre for Development,” she says.

She says she could have dropped out of college on the way owing to several problems she experienced, including a shortage of money. “But I battled on. I knew what I wanted and focused on that,” says Takondwa.

Today she works at Storyworkshop as a Community Mobilisation Officer and is currently helping her sister who is also pursuing a degree at Chancellor College in Zomba.

Takondwa also works part-time as a lecturer at Skyway College, where she teaches Community Development and also works as a volunteer Projects Officer for the Girls Empowerment Network.

“Poverty is bad but it should not be something which should put you down,” she says. “There are people out there who have gone through thick and thin but they are now singing! All that is needed is a lot of sweat!”

In the next coming years, Takondwa wants to pursue a Masters degree in Gender and Development and would like to work for an organisation such as the United Nations.

“I would want to be a country co-ordinator, to help in the development of the country as well as help in uplifting the lives of women in the country,” she says.

The Blantyre-based young woman recently won a Moremi Initiative: Women’s Leadership in Africa award. Part of the award includes a Milead Fellowship special programme in Ghana, which she will be attending.

The Moremi Initiative selects 25 extra-ordinary young African women leaders from the private sector, government, academia, media and non-profit sectors.

According to Kaliwo, the selection committee received over 500 applications out of which 25 young fellows were selected from 21 African countries and the diaspora.

The Milead Fellowship programme is a uniquely designed initiative committed to the long term leadership development and promotion of Africa’s promising young women leaders.

The Moremi Initiative was founded in 2003 and it strives to engage, inspire and equip young women and girls to become the next generation of leading politicians, activists, social entrepreneurs and change agents.

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