In January 2017, Rihanna visited Malawi on behalf of her foundation, the Clara Lionel Foundation. She also journeyed as a global ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education.
During her stay, Rihanna, accompanied by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, hoped to learn more about the challenges regarding health and education in Malawi. Global Citizen uploaded a short film documenting Rihanna’s charity work. The film depicts the poverty, hunger, poor education and the lack of many basic human rights that many children face in Malawi. In addition to interacting with children, Rihanna also discussed future improvement strategies with key political leaders.
The situation regarding education in Malawi requires immediate action. This documentary and Rihanna’s charity work helped bring attention to the severity of conditions in Malawi. According to a World Bank survey, one in two Malawians live in poverty, making it the country’s most pressing issue.
Currently, the fight against poverty in Malawi has experienced little progress in the past decade. Like many impoverished countries, the rural regions of Malawi are the most heavily impacted. The issue is primarily due to volatile economic conditions, natural disasters and poor performance in the agricultural sector. The World Bank has suggested that one possible solution could be investing in secondary education for women.
These issues regarding poverty and education have a particularly profound impact on young Malawian women. Rihanna’s charity work, as shown in the documentary, addresses how issues such as poor public infrastructure put young women in danger while walking to school. In addition, cultural practices such as arranged marriages deter women from pursuing education.
Rihanna’s charity work in Malawi attempts to increase global awareness of these issues while creating connections with key leaders. The Global Partnership for Education has raised funds for global education, and in past years has focused specifically on “inclusive, equitable quality education for all by 2030.” In fact, the organization hopes to raise $3.1 billion for over 870 million children in 89 countries between 2018 and 2020. Partnering with Rihanna allowed them to combine these goals with the singer’s interest in education for girls and arts education.
In years past, Rihanna has used her fame to further her charity work. As a champion for women’s rights and access to arts and education, Rihanna established the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012. The nonprofit fights to “improve the quality of life for communities globally in the areas of health, education, arts and culture.” The foundation creates scholarships, partners with various corporations, holds fundraising events and does much more in an effort to provide these areas with the resources they need.
– Julia Morrison