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Redeeming the record of a former Head of State

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The challenge


When Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi, stepped down after losing her reelection bid to Peter Mutharika in 2014, she became the target of a systematic campaign of slander and intimidation stemming from her fight against corruption. For her own safety, Mme. Banda left Malawi and sought an international platform to continue advocating for the rights of women and girls. KRL supported Mme. Banda once she arrived in the United States, with the ultimate goal of paving the way for her safe return to Malawi.

The KRL approach


Upon Mme. Banda’s arrival in Washington, KRL helped to identify an international platform to enable her to continued advocacy for women and girls in Africa. She was granted a distinguished fellowship at the Center for Global Development and the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. In this position, Mme. Banda authored several research papers, delivered speeches in Washington and around the world, and published a book on the importance of educating girls in rural Africa.


KRL simultaneously launched a communications campaign to bring global attention to the attacks and intimidation suffered by Mme. Banda and her family and to reclaim ownership of her narrative. This campaign included a series of op-eds published in The Hill and a piece authored by Cherie Blair in The Guardian which powerfully recast Mme. Banda’s story for an international audience.


Under internal and external pressure, Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau announced in January 2018 that they had no evidence against Mme. Banda. On April 29, she was able to safely return home for the first time in four years. 

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