The US embassy in Malawi on Friday honoured 11 Malawian women for their achievements in their respective fields and Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) senior reporter Suzgo Khunga made the list.

The eleven women got the recognition during the 237th Anniversary of the United States Independence Day whose theme was ‘The role of women in national development’.

The embassy honoured the women for their services in the fields of journalism, education, politics, entrepreneurship, community service, national security and others.

About Khunga, US ambassador to Malawi Jeanine Jackson said through Media Institute of Southern Africa Malawi Chapter where she has been an executive member, Khunga has been instrumental in pressing the government on insult laws and access to information legislation.

She also noted that Khunga, who also edits the Femail supplement in one of BNL’s titles, Malawi News, has gained the respect of Malawians for her reporting on politics, health, nutrition, agriculture and gender.

The United States envoy generally hailed Malawi for its women empowerment strides. She said American women have played great roles in various fields to build America and said Malawian women have similar potential.

“There are ways in which Malawi is ahead of the United States. We have not had a woman President. Women only comprise 18 percent of the 435 seats in Congress while in Malawi 22 percent of MPs are women,” said Jackson.

She further saluted President Joyce Banda for signing the Gender Equality Act and also promotion of women to top leadership positions. During the ceremony, the embassy bid farewell to several departing staff including its Deputy Head of Mission Lisa Vickers whom Jackson hailed as a great advisor, manager of crises and proponent of taking care of people.

Minister of Health Catherine Gotani Hara said Malawi and US have a special relationship based on mutual trust and said she was optimistic the ties were going to get stronger.

“Since the birth of democracy in 1994, the US has taken a keen interest in the positive developments taking place in Malawi. The interest has been manifested through Malawi’s inclusion in several initiatives that the US administration has created in recent years,” said Hara.

She said the US assistance attests to profound friendliness of the two governments and said Malawi was committed to ensure the relations are not only sustained but also strengthened.

Among those honored include educator Dr Martha Magreta, health expert Dr Andrina Mwamsambo, MP Eunice Napolo, Deputy Inspector General of Police Doreen Kapanga, Justice Fiona Mwale, youth activist Thembi Thadzi and Grace Mijiga Mhango.

Nevelisi Maliseni, a legume and dairy farmer from Tidi Village in Lilongwe, was also honoured for her fight for early childhood development and gender equality in her village. – By Golden Matonga

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