Graça Machel — one of the true African heroines of our lifetime — aptly put the role of social mobilization and social change, and the key role of girls and women in that change, at the forefront of her TEDxChange speech.
In her direct, no-nonsense style, she observed that “everyone seems to have a plan for our continent” and went on to argue that while planning is surely needed, particularly to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for it to work for Africa it must be developed by Africa and for Africa. Citing examples from Malawi and Rwanda, she outlined how good planning, prioritization, evidence-based decision-making, and putting women at the center of the stage can foment the kind of social change that ultimately transforms crisis situations into leadership success stories.
Ever pragmatic and optimistic, she noted that change is possible and called for a future of prosperity, equity, inclusiveness, and well-being for every single human being. Everyone, most importantly women, has a contribution to make. Knowing the leadership role she has played in Africa for over four decades, who could doubt it?