Dr. Jill Biden

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, promoted women’s rights, immigration and education during her recent trip to Africa. She visited Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger, where she focused on matters associated with economic empowerment and educational opportunities.

In each country, Dr. Biden met with local citizens in many different places in order to engage in government and civil society and focus on issues relative to each country. Here are some of the highlights of her three-country trip.

Ethiopia:

  • Dr. Jill Biden’s first stop in Africa was Ethiopia. She first visited a transit center for refugees at the International Organization for Migration. There she learned about the refugee screening process for those hoping to resettle in the US.
  • With a focus on women’s empowerment and women’s rights, she attended an event in the high-tech center in Addis Ababa funded by the U.S. Embassy. There, she handed out certificates to girls who completed computer training.
  • Finally, she met with female members of Ethiopia’s parliament and cabinet, as well as entrepreneurs and other members of the community.

Malawi:

  • First, Dr. Biden attended a reception for humanitarian aid workers from the U.S. Embassy. She addressed the El Niño drought by gaining information from the USAID Food for Peace Program about food security.
  • She traveled to primary schools, the first of which was assisted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. Biden learned about the USAID Girls Empowerment Through Education and Health Activity (ASPIRE) at a second primary school.
  • Finally, Dr. Biden met with local farmers learning about how the maize trade influences economic empowerment and with Malawi’s First Lady Madame Gertrude Mutharika to discuss their collective pledges on women’s empowerment.
  • It was Dr. Biden who announced that 20 million dollars have been donated through the World Food Program to assist food insecurity in Malawi.

Niger:

  • Dr. Biden visited the Marie Stopes International Clinic to discuss family planning and reproductive health with Nigerien women.
  • She discussed with local residents the issues surrounding the Boko Haram conflict and the humanitarian crisis in the state. After meeting with President Mahamadou Issoufou, she talked to young Nigeriens about youth participation in local elections.
  • Dr. Biden discussed empowerment through job creation and its positive effects on the national economy, and she participated in a roundtable at the U.N. Development Program to discuss gender inequality, education and protection.

Dr. Jill Biden’s focuses on women’s empowerment and education are based on the notion that education is a tool that can be used to lift communities out of poverty. By developing self-confidence through education, girls and women in Africa can become active participants in their local communities.

Kimber Kraus

Photo: Voice Of America