Executive training rejuvenates First Lady First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa is welcomed by Wafaa El-Sadr, the executive vice president of Columbia Global, while Dr Cora Neumann, founder of Global First Ladies Alliance, looks on

Tendai Rupapa in New York, USA

FIRST LADY Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa says she feels rejuvenated by the executive training she is receiving alongside her counterparts at the Global First Ladies Academy to deliver impactful interventions and tangible solutions to challenges affecting mainly women and the girl child.

Alongside the First Ladies of Botswana, Burundi, Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia, Dr Mnangagwa is participating in an executive leadership programme to advance critical health and development issues in their countries and regions, including non-communicable and chronic disease management, community health, maternal and child health, climate change, health systems, and gender gaps in access to healthcare.

The invitation to the critical summit, she said, came at an appropriate time to sharpen her skills and equip her with more knowledge to deal with delicate situations.

“As African First Ladies, we are learning together and we have seen there is a lot that we were missing or that we thought we knew, but we were not actually at it. The training is an eye-opener and is giving us more ideas on how to differentiate my First Lady’s office and my charity foundation. The training programme has developed me personally and will help me in executing my duties. I have gained some knowledge through the training that we are going through,” she said. 

A hands-on person with a passion to transform the lives of other people, Dr Mnangagwa said she has learnt a lot at the training programme.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa and her counterparts follows proceedings during the training programme

“We have also learnt that the First Lady’s office is very impactful, the way it communicates, the way it advocates awareness programmes and also the way it interacts with Government departments, the business community, private sector and the generality of the nation. 

“It has given me knowledge on how to approach those departments and that the First Lady’s office must be apolitical as what I have been doing through and through ever since I came into office. While initiating income generating projects or any other programmes, I never ask who you are, where you came from and this was the major aspect that was dealt with that as a First Lady you cater for all. A First Lady is a mother to everyone,” she said.

True to her assertions, Dr Mnangagwa’s programmes include everyone, including the previously marginalised San community in Plumtree and the Doma community in the Zambezi Valley whom she is working hard to integrate with the rest of the country.

The First Lady said she was charmed by the fact that her promotion of traditional dishes which have high nutritional value and medicinal properties had captured the imagination of the world where it was now being replicated for the health of the people.

“I am glad that the traditional meal cookout which uses the ingredients that are naturally available has come to help in the health field. It helps children grow, brings growth in the whole family and if we take that as a continent it will help a lot because we are using what we have which is not even expensive. 

“All that is needed is how to preserve it, how to put it on the table, how to cook and how to consume. Many countries have taken that idea,” she said.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa gives her contribution while sharing her experiences with other First Ladies during the ongoing Global First Ladies Academy

This training programme seeks to support First Ladies’ and first partners’ work to catalyse positive impact and social transformation in their communities at regional and global levels, and to support programmatic and policy initiatives related to health, education, gender equality, economic development and climate change.

Global First Ladies Alliance president and founder, Dr Cora Neumann said First Ladies had the potential to be visible and influential.

“Their position as role models also provides them an important platform to reach communities, address harmful norms, and impact behavioural change. 

“Despite the role First Ladies can play in enabling change, few receive the training, network, and resources they need to do so successfully. 

“GFLA was founded in 2009 to meet this need, and we are thrilled to be hosting this academic and leadership training course with Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, a global leader in health and development,” she said.

The Global First Ladies Academy is an important opportunity for First Ladies to dialogue with peers to deepen their understanding of significant global developments in a constantly changing environment.

The academy is a partnership involving Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the Global First Ladies Alliance and the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD).

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