Tawonga Tiwonerepo Nyirongo
- Age: 29
- | She/her/hers
Country of Origin:
Country of Residence:
What kind of legacy will our generation leave behind if we continue to give a blind eye to the inequalities that exist within our laws, systems, and communities? Today is the best day for us, as young people, to forge a more equal world. Lets join our forces and fight all inequalities!
- Tawonga Tiwonerepo Nyirongo
Tawonga Tiwonerepo Nyirongo was born and raised in Malawi. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Gender Studies from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Cultural Studies from the University of Malawi. Tawonga has worked extensively with Girl Effect Malawi as a Brand Ambassador and later as a Networks and Public Relations Assistant. Whilst at Girl Effect Malawi, Tawonga was responsible for developing press releases, supporting the integration of Zathu public relations campaigns across multiple media outlets, supporting a team of 39 field officer volunteers across 18 districts in Malawi, and maintaining an active and regular working relationship with journalists. Additionally, Tawonga is a YALI alumni and a Global Schools Advocate under the UN Sustainable Solutions Youth Network Initiative.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
I grew up in a highly patriarchal community where girls are raised to be good and obedient wives to their husbands. While I was able to break the shackles of being confined to being a wife only, many of my friends and thousands of other girls in my community never had the choice to become anything other than wives. This is why since graduating from college I have dedicated my time and resources to championing initiatives that encourage girls to be proactive and fight against harmful cultural practices.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
In 2018, I was selected as a role model for the ASPIRE! project by Save the Children. Through the project, I was able to mentor more than 10,000 young people in primary and secondary schools in Machinga District. During the activities, we also met with more than 50 traditional leaders whom we engaged to sensitize them to end cultural practices that affect girls' rights. This was just the beginning, as after my role in the ASPIRE! project, I was motivated to start the girls' leadership initiative in order to encourage girls to continue their education to the tertiary level and also encourage teen mothers to go back to school. Currently, I am working on lobbying with primary schools to set laws that will ensure that teen mothers are not bullied by either teachers or fellow students when they go back to school.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
Reading novels, baking, hiking, and traveling.
- Chichewa (Advanced/Native)
- English (Advanced/Native)
- Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights
- Youth Leadership and Participation
- Women in Leadership
Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:
- Civic Leadership, YALI RLC-SA (2019)
- Certificate of Attendance in Project Cycle Management (2019)
- HP+ Integenerational Mentoring Activity on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Advocacy by HP+ and PLAN USA (2019)
- Certificate of Completion on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age in Africa (2021)