UNU-GEST hosts Malawi alumni event in Lilongwe

UNU-GEST Malawi alumni fellows, UNU-GEST project manager and ICEIDA programme director at the occasi…
UNU-GEST Malawi alumni fellows, UNU-GEST project manager and ICEIDA programme director at the occasion of the alumni meeting in Lilongwe, 21 November 2017. From the left, top row: Leonard Chimbali (2017 alumni), Kristjana Sigurbjörnsdóttir (UNU-GEST), Madalitso Makondi (2016 alumni), Nthamyo Thandie Mbeye (2016 alumni), Roselyn Makhamberah (2016 alumni), Mercy Chaluma (2018 fellow), Grace Takomana (2017 alumni), Thandiwe Bwanamdoko (2013 alumni), Lilja Dóra Kolbeinsdóttir (Embassy of Icelamd), Martha Mtenje (2015 alumni), Chikondi Pasani (2013 alumni), and Victor Maulidi (2015 alumni).

UNU-GEST hosted an alumni event in Lilongwe last week that brought together nine of the seventeen former UNU-GEST fellows from Malawi. The alumni event sparked the formalisation of the UNU-GEST Malawi Alumni Association, which will be taken forward by former fellows in Malawi. The event, the first one ever organized in Malawi, was held at the premises of the Embassy of Iceland in Lilongwe and served as a timely reunion and a platform for former UNU-GEST fellows in the country to meet each other and air their views on such a network to be operating in Malawi in the near future. Kristjana Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Project Manager at UNU-GEST, chaired the alumni meeting, which can be seen as the first attempt for a formal UNU-GEST Malawi Alumni activity in the country.


Following the alumni meeting, Ágústa Gísladottir Chargé d'Affaires at the Embassy of Iceland, hosted a lunch for UNU-GEST alumni where Clara Anyangwe, representative of UN Women in Malawi was a special guest. Also present were Lilja Dóra Kolbeinsdóttir, Programme Director at the Embassy of Iceland and Kristjana Sigurbjörnsdóttir.  Interesting discussions arose at the meeting, which aired candid ideas about the ways forward in Malawi towards women‘s empowerment and gender equality. The seventeen former fellows of the UNU-GEST programme distributed in diverse fields and sectors within Malawi, now count and act as an important part of the gender machinery in Malawi and serve as gender champions and advocates in their areas of expertise.

Malawi alumni lunch November 2017

The alumni lunch hosted by Ágústa Gísladóttir, Chargé d'Affaires at the Embassy of Iceland, took place at Wendels Guesthouse in Lilongwe.

During the visit to Malawi, Kristjana Sigurbjörnsdóttir met with partners and strengthened collaboration with several institutions in the country. UNU-GEST was given a very warm welcome to UN Women in Malawi, facilitated by Clara Anyangwe, representative of UN Women in the country, where UNU-GEST was given the opportunity to introduce the programme and its alumni in Malawi to the donor group on gender and human rights. UN Women and UNU-GEST discussed synergies and how the common agenda of the two institutions could be strengthened in Malawi. At Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources, an institutional home of two former fellows, a fruitful meeting took place with faculty staff, Dr. David Mkwambisi, Josephine Zimba-Chirwa and Mrs. Orpah Kabambe, with the aim of re-defining collaboration and continue the partnership on gender related education at LUANAR. UNU-GEST also visited Mangochi district to visit ICEIDA supported projects and have meetings with Mphatso Sokosa, programme officer at ICEIDA in Mangochi district as well as Henry Chibowa, district health officer and Metro Chingani, district gender officer to learn about the status of gender and health issues in the district.

Women and children in Mangochi district










 Women in Mangochi district, TA Chimwala, who serve on the Water Point Committee, take advantage of a newly built hand dug well that has improved their quality of life and freed time used to collect water from a nearby lake in addition to dramatically improving hygiene practices and reducing diarrhoeal disease in the village.