Examining Family Planning In Malawi Under President Banda

Author and strategist Courtney Martin writes in a post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog about her experience during a trip to Malawi with the Aspen Institute’s Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, led by former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, to visit “President Joyce Banda and her cabinet for an official consultation on their work around family planning and safe motherhood.” “In order to overcome traditional taboos about discussing contraception and shift attitudes about the pride historically associated with having large families, President Banda is sensitizing tribal chiefs — essentially, the key influencers in Malawian society — to embrace family planning,” she writes, adding, “Now that the political will is solidly present in the grassroots, feminist leadership of President Banda, there’s no telling what the next 15 months of her tenure might bring for the women of Malawi” (Martin, 1/17).