Growing up in Africa helped to build a strong moral and social compass for Muza Gondwe.
Muza, who works for the Minerals and Energy for Development Alliance (MEfDA) based at UWA, discovered early in her career that she was “more of a people person” and changed direction from her first degree completed in Biochemistry at Imperial College London.
Just as well – her remarkable and selfless work helps to improve health and livelihoods in emerging countries.
When asked what is most important to her, she reflects and replies, “…helping people to make a difference.”
Muza began work as an Associate Editor of the ‘Malawi Medical Journal’ sharing research results. It was this role that prompted her to complete a PhD in Science Communication at UWA after recognising many exceptional research outcomes weren’t being communicated back into the community.
Now, Muza travels overseas helping to facilitate change in emerging economies such as Kenya, Ghana, Mongolia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
“I facilitate forums and training that enable important conversations between government, civil society, industry, and community groups. We assist them to solve local problems on mining and sustainable development.
“We’re rewarded by seeing results of their work, knowing that we have empowered people through participatory methods, facilitated dialogue and co-learning in our workshops and training,” Muza says.
MEfDA, a collaborative partnership between The University of Queensland and UWA, provides education programs that support emerging economies transform their minerals resources for inclusive socio-economic benefit.
“An example is leadership and entrepreneurship training delivered to rural women in Zimbabwe by a program alumnus.
“This led local village women to set up farming businesses following the training and successfully applying for microgrants,” Muza says.
Despite her professional commitments Muza has given time through volunteer activities to fundraising and managing HIV AIDS programs in both Malawi and the Caribbean.
She still writes a weekly column for ‘The Nation’ newspaper that provides much-needed advice for people living with HIV.
“I was born in Kenya and was lucky to grow up in a privileged family – my Dad was an economist with the UN and my mum a maths teacher.
“Going to the village on annual vacations to visit family - humbled us, it gave us roots and a sense of humility. I really think this helped me to reassess what is important for me,” Muza says.